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Mad Men: What We Talk About When We Talk About Pampers

[Alex Blagg, formerly of Best Week Ever blog and Blagg Blogg Dot Com will be bringing his wit, wisdom, and love of skinny ties to this season of Mad Men.]

You know what they say: Behind every Mad Man is an angry woman who probably also just got sexually harassed.

The Sterling Cooper crew is just hanging around a smoky room, watching some musicals, when Peggy is plunged into some kind of Ann Margaret-induced existential meltdown about not being a pretty girl in a man’s world or something like that (recapping subtle multi-layered character nuances is HARD, y’all!) because their client, Patio cola, would like their new ad spot to mimic the chesty, off-key fun found in a few bars from the opening “Bye Bye Birdie” as opposed to something that respects women’s intelligence (like sipping organic kambucha tea while reading “The Feminine Mystique”). The men all sexually harass her about this.

Patio is apparently some kind of terribly-named precursor to Diet Pepsi, which – with the exception of the inspired “Crystal Pepsi” experiment – has pretty much always had boring and terrible advertising, so I don’t know why everyone couldn’t be like “Let’s have Don explain to them why ‘Enjoy a cold Patio on the patio’ is fraught with genius meaning and just call it a day.” The client is probably happy, Peggy doesn’t have to worry about whether she’s pretty, and we can all get back to Don Draper choking women while he has sex with them in the back of large automobiles without all the unpleasant lessons in 1960’s gender politics.

Speaking of which, did you guys catch the line when The Rodge looked at a preggers Betty Draper then asks if Princess Grace swallowed a basketball? Man, The Rodge sure puts the “ha” in “sexual harassment”! I just don’t know why the editors chose to cut the shot right after this comment when he double-high-fives Draper then swings his arms down for two hands full of secretary bottom while going “wakka wakka wakka!” Timing, I guess.

Meanwhile, Pete nearly loses a new client who wants to demolish the old Penn Station and replace it with Madison Square Garden because Kinsey can’t stop yammering on about architecture and raping 34th street long enough to envision the futuristic potential of a giant shopping mall where Three Doors Down could play alongside Patrick Ewing. Luckily, Don Draper and The Rodge are able to swoop in and save the day by taking the client out to dinner and getting him to change his mind by sexually harassing him with martinis and iceberg wedge salads with blue cheese and bacon. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because the Brits who now own Sterling Cooper don’t want the new business after all, but still, those were probably delicious iceberg wedge salads.

Later, Don sexually harasses Betty’s brother into letting their sick father live with the Drapers from now on. Don soon realizes what a terrible idea this was when he discovers the old man pouring out all of his booze while having some kind of paranoid hallucination about bootlegging. Also, Don doesn’t care about the antique globe in his office.

Peggy’s crisis seems to be getting worse as we see her pause from brushing her hair before bed to do an impromptu impression of Buffalo Bill’s penis-tuck tango almost 30 years before “Silence of the Lambs” was even filmed. “Creepy dances performed alone” seems to be an important recurring theme this season. Symbolism is important.

Don finally tells Peggy to man up about the Patio cola ad and stop acting like a whiny artist girl with a scraped elbow who is having her period. She seems to know him well enough to understand that failing to do so will likely lead to some deeply uncomfortable sexual harassment. She deals with the sting of this realization by going to a nearby Brooklyn bar and having some Stingers with a college guy she will later let have anal sex with her on his futon (right now there are untold numbers of modern day ad dudes trying to order Stingers in downtown Manhattan bars).

Finally Don watches his kids dance around a Maypole while ogling their teacher and sexually harassing the grass with his fingers.

Back at work, Peggy wants to talk about Pampers.