'Mad Men' Season Finale A Genuine Kodak Moment

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Ok, so it's an over the top dramatization but you have to admit that presentation Mad Men's Don Draper gave to Kodak for the Carousel slide projector was brilliant. You wish you gave presentations like that more often. Come on. Admit it. You know you do. That Kodak moment was the defining moment of the season finale of AMC's Mad Men which, despite critical debate, has turned out to be a great show - good enough for AMC to renew it for another season.

During the episode we also find out up and coming creative Peggy Olsen was promoted from secretary to Junior copywriter (no small feat for a women in the early sixties one must admit) and that she's pregnant and didn't know it! Or just denied it. The father? Pete Campbell? Did enough time elapse between their office dalliance earlier in the season or is the father someone else? Intriguingly, Peggy was promoted by Don to work on the Clearasil account which Pete, through his wife's rich family connections, just snagged. Needless to say, he's being painting as the whipping boy, emasculated by his family, stomped on by his boss and forced to suffer - oh the horror - the indignity of working with a woman!

Now about Peggy's baby...did she really know she wasn't pregnant? Was the call for a psych consult an indication she'd been refusing to admit she was pregnant all along? Is she angry because she will now be forced to endure the extremely difficult task of being a working mother while single and with no one to help her raise her child? Will she become the resident psycho? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Throughout the season, Don Draper - all while slowly revealing to us his true identity - has been sleeping around behind his wife's back who, not the dimwit she's painted to be, knows her husband is cheating on her and cunningly reveals it to her psychologist knowing full well (because she sneaked a peek at the phone bill) the doctor will tell her husband saving her from the confrontation.

In the end, and due in big part to his preparation for the Kodak pitch, Don realizes he's got a great family and that he'd be wise not to rick losing it as he did his first family. In the final scene, we see him come home from work and tell his family he would, after all, go with them on on the family trip he'd earlier said he wouldn't. This being a television drama that needs tension to maintain viewership, we quickly see that scene was all in his head and when he opened the door to his house the second time, it was empty and his family and left without him.

Mad Men is a really good show and that fact it centers around advertising is mostly irrelevant. It could be set in a chemical plant or an architectural office and it would still be good. So what if it's ludicrous the creative director would be overseeing the account management department. So what if it's ludicrous - even in the sixties - people would be having cocktails all day long. So what if it's ludicrous an agency parter would sleep with the hot, young secretary. Oh wait, that happens all the time. Sorry. The point...it's a good drama. And last night, it had its Kodak moment.

by Steve Hall    Oct-19-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Cable, Good, Opinion   

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Comments



Comments

I love Mad Men and I covet their furniture but the Peggy bit was unrealistic. NOT because she didn't know she was pregnant but because in those days it's pretty unlikely that the nurse would have tried to get her to hold the baby. That was the height of the "baby scoop" era (see Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away) and as a young, single woman who didn't even seem to be aware of her pregnancy, it's way, Way, WAY more likely that they would have handed the baby straight over for adoption perhaps telling her the child died in the process. Unless she can manufacture a secret marriage that left her a widow, there's no way she's bringing that baby home. Not if the writers want to keep being authentic.

Posted by: dawn on October 19, 2007 2:03 PM

It was a good episode. And despite nit-picks like a later model VW in the parking lot (the rear window seemed too big for 1960)and the fact DDB had Polaroid and couldn't go near Kodak, it proved that when the creator of a series also writes and directs the episode, they are saving money or aiming for quality.
Smallville didn't get really going until the 3rd season; on the other hand Deadwood and The Wire were great from the first frame.

Posted by: Tom Messner on October 19, 2007 6:07 PM

my goal in life is to give a presentation as poignant and emotional and draper's "kodak moment."

i have to admit, i almost choked up when i watched it.

Posted by: dj mirateck on October 20, 2007 9:47 AM

I thought the Kodak Carousel pitch was so good because of the intertwining with the plot and the fact that creating that unreal picture of his own family made him long for it. I also thought it tied neatly into the meaning for him of the photo of him and his brother and knowing just then that his brother killed himself. And in general it showed the power of ads to evoke longing, even in the person who in his own life has created a false picture. And that was done by showing him going home and imagining them all there waiting for him and happy that he's decided to do Thanksgiving with them.

Posted by: Sharon Lamb on October 20, 2007 9:50 AM

I thought the Kodak Carousel pitch was so good because of the intertwining with the plot and the fact that creating that unreal picture of his own family made him long for it. I also thought it tied neatly into the meaning for him of the photo of him and his brother and knowing just then that his brother killed himself. And in general it showed the power of ads to evoke longing, even in the person who in his own life has created a false picture. And that was done by showing him going home and imagining them all there waiting for him and happy that he's decided to do Thanksgiving with them.
Oh, and Pete? He tried to blackmail don with photos before -- so not so much a whipping boy in my eyes.

Posted by: Sharon Lamb on October 20, 2007 9:51 AM

I thought the Kodak Carousel pitch was so good because of the intertwining with the plot and the fact that creating that unreal picture of his own family made him long for it. I also thought it tied neatly into the meaning for him of the photo of him and his brother and knowing just then that his brother killed himself. And in general it showed the power of ads to evoke longing, even in the person who in his own life has created a false picture. And that was done by showing him going home and imagining them all there waiting for him and happy that he's decided to do Thanksgiving with them.
Oh, and Pete? He tried to blackmail don with photos before -- so not so much a whipping boy in my eyes.

Posted by: Sharon Lamb on October 20, 2007 9:52 AM

a) Sharon Lamb could cartainly, with her gift for repitition, get a job at Ted Bates in 1960.
b) Congratulations to Steve Hall for establishing a valuation for this site, if reports are accurate
c) There are more than a couple of very successful ad people who believed, like Draper in the Kodak scene, that their lives were everyones's lives or at least enough lives to make a marketable niche out of their autobiographical musings.

Posted by: Tom Messner on October 20, 2007 11:06 AM

Brilliant series, beautifully shot and well acted - can't wait for season 2.

Posted by: tomdog on October 20, 2007 2:03 PM

man, i love this show... its so brilliant. but whos the father of peggy's baby?

Posted by: MINIX00 on October 24, 2007 2:05 AM





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