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Mad Men S04E08: Don Draper Writes Down The Bones

Last week, Mad Men opted to air an episode during the National Holiday. Fair enough. I, on the other hand, opted to air myself. Out. On the beach. And so: there was no recap of what was easily one of the best episodes of this show ever. LIFE IS HARD. (Although I will say this: if there were Emmy Awards given out for Outstanding Achievement for Hanging Out on a Beach Instead of Writing Recaps, Matthew Weiner would owe me a Coke. [Huh?]) Anyway: holy cow, right? Happy Birthday, Peggy! Sad Don Draper! I’m sure those two sentences are enough to convey the dramatic and emotional magnitude of what occurred between two beloved characters on a subtle and complex show, right? Good. This week, we open with Don Draper hastily putting the finishing touches on his “Autobiography” assignment for Creative Writing 102, Wednesday evenings at the Learning Annex. Seriously, what is going on here? Don Draper! Stop scribbling poetry about “the hearts of birds” with a Sharpie on the legs of your suit and get back to the office. Without you, we might never find a way to mix Mountain Dew with vodka!

SIDENOTE: How nice is Don Draper’s “shitty” bachelor pad? We should all be so lucky as to get divorced from Drunk Old Sourface and move into the nicest apartment I have ever seen in this life. Speaking of Drunk Old Sourface: WHOOPS, THAT’S YOUR DINNER OBLIGATION!

Ouch, Betty. Choke on it. You used to be a sympathetic character, but now you are a sympathetic asshole. Speaking of choking on it: welcome back, Don Draper the Baller. Dude has been kind of falling apart this year, yes, but you know what they say: it’s only by tearing something down that you can build it back up again and then blow it in the back of a taxicab. BAM! He’s not drinking hard liquor even. Got to keep your head clear when you are a high-powered poet recipient of cab ride BJs.

POW! BOOM! Don Draper tells the cab driver “take me home, I have got to blog about this.” And he does. Look at your man. Now he’s in a pool.

Meanwhile, Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price have hired a freelance art director who appears to be confused. He thinks that he is hot stuff and that he can say whatever he wants to Joan.

UH, FIRST OF ALL, DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO JOAN IS? Second of all: go back to the Big Bang Theory, nerd. Why don’t you draw a picture of Darth Vader fucking you from behind and hang that in your window. DON’T YOU WORRY, JOANIE, WE ARE ALL HERE TO SUPPORT YOU. Not that you need our help. The speech that Joan gives the guys? About how when they all go to Vietnam and are dying in the jungle to know that they’re not dying for her because she didn’t like them? HOLY SHIT. This guy knows what Joan is talking about:

Peggy also knows what Joan is talking about. She asks Don to deal with the situation and Don is like, “No time! I’ve got critique in half an hour and this short story about a lumberjack who wakes up to discover he’s a tree is only half finished!” He tells Peggy to fire that kid, and Peggy is like, Oh, OK. So she fires him. All the dudes are like “Oh snap! Vagina dentata, bro!”

Peggy sees Joan in the elevator and explains that she was helping her out. Joan turns it right around. “All you’ve done is prove that I’m a meaningless secretary and you’re another humorless bitch.” Ouch. Joan kind of has a point about modern (1965) gender relations, but I would argue that when you snap at someone in an elevator who is trying to commiserate with you about the unacceptable sexual harassment that occurred in your shared office space that they are a humorless bitch, perhaps there are MORE THAN ONE humorless bitches in that elevator. Joan takes off to go smash her husband in the head with a lamp say goodbye to her husband before he leaves for Vietnam. (See above.)

Henry makes Don get his stuff out of the garage for his boat. Shut up, Henry. Don picks it up alright. He picks it up and throws it in a dumpster. No looking back. Baller Don is baller back. He goes home and puts on his finest coat, because he’s got a date with the doctor. (ABOUT TIME ALREADY.) They drink Chianti and speak in vague riddles until Don gives her his coat to keep her from catching a chill. To be honest, that’s very romantic and thoughtful, but if it was me, between a chill and that coat, I MIGHT TAKE THE CHILL.

But then, when the doctor tries to go home with him, Don demurs. WHOA. At first it seems like maybe this is not in line with the return of Don Draper: Baller at Law, but actually this might be the most baller move yet. Guys, don’t even worry about it. Now that the doctor is DTF it is only a matter of Don getting it in. (P.S. I have secretly still been watching Jersey Shore even though I don’t write about it, because I hate myself and have poor decision making skills.)

Don walks into Gene’s birthday party, because that’s his son. Don is not just a baller, he is also a father. Henry is like “what is he doing here?” Seriously, shut up, Henry, before I make you shut up. PUT THEM UP, GRANDFATHER. Betty reassures him that they have everything. Do you? Do you, Betty? Because the look on your face tells me that you do not have everything. You know who has everything? DONALD FUCKING DRAPER HAS EVERYTHING. Welcome back, buddy. Can’t wait for you to treat someone really horribly!