Great Moments in Mad Men: Season 3
Season 6 of Mad Men is fast approaching and over the course of the season I’ll be documenting all the great moments in each episode. I’m sure they’ll be plenty to choose from.
Before that I’ve compiled a list from each season because let’s face it, there are some doozies. Take a peek and refresh your memory on what we’re in for come Sunday April 7th.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t caught up through season 5 I wouldn’t recommend reading the lists.
DON EDUCATES US ON CHANCES
Roger offered up some pretty useless advice on marriage last season and it’s only fair that Don return the favor to viewers. He and Sal fly to Baltimore to meet with their London Fog clients. Upon arrival they play the roles of “Bill” and “Sam” in the attempt to pick up some fine ladies.
Don succeeds as always with a flirtatious flight attendant who plays dumb and makes her way to his room. But before that Don has some very sage wisdom to offer up about martial life. When she confesses before they get down and dirty that she is engaged and Don could be her last chance he simply says, “I’ve been married a long time, you get plenty of chances.” Look out ladies we have another Romeo on our hands. If that doesn’t sweep you off your feet nothing will.
DON LOOKS COOL IN SUNGLASSES
Don Draper + aviators = cool. That’s all you need to know. Here is the birth of the classic image they play with dramatic music on AMC when the screen flashes, “Up next, an all new episode of Mad Men.” For as scummy as Don Draper is when you get down to it he still can look amazing and smoke a cigarette like none another.
Plus on top of looking cool he is seeking out his next prey behind those dark pair of glasses. He sets his sights on Sally’s elementary teacher Miss. Farrell. As you may recall she puts up a valiant fight but who could resist that handsome devil?
DON MAKES A KILLER DRINK
It should really be no surprise that Sally Draper is a regular Brian Flanagan given that her father can make a drink on the fly with ease. While at a country club party thrown by Roger and Jane he wanders off and finds a random old guy in an abandoned bar. This old fella is none other than Conrad Hilton but Don only finds that out much later.
Don doesn’t have time to waste and without skipping a beat he improvises an old fashioned with the sub-par selection in the bar. This small encounter leads to a major storyline for the rest of the season. Without his alcoholic tendencies things could have gone very different in season 3 and maybe Sally wouldn’t be so talented.
SALLY AND GENE BOND
It’s hard to find touching moments in a show like Mad Men when everybody is constantly smoking, drinking and leaving their morals behind. However, once and a while there are times when the sweetness of characters comes out. Here we have Sally and her Grandpa Gene eating ice cream. Being that he has health issues Betty tries to steer him away from the likes of ice cream and salt. He takes this opportunity to indulge in both…at the same time.
He tells Sally she can do what she wants regardless of what her mother tells her. It’s clear as time goes on that Sally may have some issues but with a mother like Betty who can blame her. It’s no wonder she loved Grandpa Gene so much and had a difficult time with his death. Even as he is giving Sally kudos he can’t help but be a classic old man and refer to his daughter as previously being fat in a way that almost crushes how sweet he just was. The fun just never ends. The scene ends on an eerie note as he says he can smell oranges, something people often smell before they die. At least he got some ice cream.
DON WAITS FOR HIS NEW BABY
Here we have the never ending education in history that Mad Men provides us. We live in a time when men are expected to be involved and present for every aspect of childbirth. So seeing a scene of Don and a father to be waiting in a room for the arrival of their newborn feels unfamiliar to say the least.
Don pops a squat and watches the boob tube while the other dude just takes a nap. Before this they wrestle with a vending machine that provides all nervous fathers to be cigarettes! Thinking of a time when you could smoke in a hospital is as anerving as learning that doctors used to perform surgery in their suits. And of course he and Don take the time to admire a cute young nurse. You know, since their wives are away.
JOAN SAVES THE DAY
I don’t think anybody will ever forget when Guy’s foot gets run over by a lawn mower and while that was disgustingly shocking it’s really Joan that shines. Sad part is that it’s her last day and after she spent years making the office function this takes over as her final memory. With a doctor husband she wastes no times trying to fix Guy’s blood gushing foot, however it is that you do that.
We see her at the hospital with a blood covered dress (still making it work I might add) in need of Dr. Pepper. Mad Men’s strength in dialogue lies in the conversations between just two people. When Joan and Don get together it’s always captivating. He arrives a the hospital and seems genuinely grateful for her help and sad to see her go. Then she delivers one of my favorite lines from the show, “But that’s life, one minute you’re on top of the world next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower.”
DON SIGNS HIS CONTRACT
From the moment viewers meet Don it’s clear that he has an air of mystery and a hard time committing in various areas of his life, mainly work. While he may work at the agency Sterling Cooper he refuses to be tied down with a contract. It’s the way of people like Don because it gives them control and they never have to feel like they couldn’t pick up and run any time.
With his newfound fan Conrad Hilton there comes a catch for his business with Sterling Cooper. Don must be under contract to guarantee stability. In a previous episode Bert Cooper became aware that Don might not actually be who he says he is but ultimately doesn’t care one bit. When asking Don to sign the contract, which he eventually does he says, “Afterall when it comes down to it, who’s really signing this contact anyway?” Preach.
BETTY AND DON PRETEND TO BE A HAPPY COUPLE
Let’s be honest all of your in a relationship, there’s nothing like forgetting all your problems for a night and pretending everything is splendid. More often than not it will bleed into the next couple days but then lead to a large blow up. Such is life. This is exactly what Don and Betty do when he is sent to Rome on business. She gets all done up and sexytime ensues. Upon returning home they are lovebirds lighting cigarettes here and kissing over there.
However, Betty ultimately realizes she hate their friends, life and town. Well why do you tell us how you really feel? In reality she has started a taboo relationship with Henry Francis who works for the governor and she’s grown sick of Don and his shenanigans. All of their pretending to be a happy couple through season 3 couldn’t salvage their doomed relationship.
SAL GETS FIRED
It would be hard to believe if Mad Men ever put Don in danger of dying that he really was under any sort of threat. They would never just kill off their lead character, but with side characters it’s much different. Yet, the group of men working in the office are so diverse and intriguing in their own ways it’s hard when one leaves.
That brings us to Sal Romano and his quick departure from Sterling Cooper, and I mean cutthroat quick. After Lee Garner Jr. comes on to Sal and is denied he becomes catty and demands Sal be taken off the account. Without skipping a beat Roger fires Sal with the news of what happened. After that we never see Sal again and while he wasn’t a major hitter in the show it was hard to see him go because he was there from the beginning.
PAUL KINSEY FORGETS HIS BRILLANT IDEA
Paul Kinsey is a character I could see getting on the nerves of many with his holier than thou attitude and hipster beard. However, that’s what I love about him. The things he says are ridiculous oftentimes as he tries to make things deeper than they are. Paul and Peggy stay at the office late working on a pitch for Western Union that begs the question when is a telegram more important than a phone call?
Stuck with no ideas Paul goes to the office kitchen and has an encounter with the custodian. He has a moment we’ve all had where an idea suddenly pops into your head and your brainfart seems long gone. But, he makes the classic mistake of not writing it down and when his secretary wakes him in the morning without his notes he has lost the idea forever. Lois, the secretary that is still around after taking off Guy’s foot wakes him in the morning. What’ great is when he’s looking for the notes he asks her if she was touching anything because she does that sometimes. He says it with such disdain which points to the fact that she might not be great at her job.
ROGER AND HIS OLD FLAME
I wouldn’t want to think of how many women Roger has slept with over the course of his life but we rarely see him going after any woman in his age bracket. When a woman from his past comes back that completely broke his heart, Annabelle Mathis it’s jarring to see him tore up about someone his own age. Given that her husband is now dead she tries to win back Roger but whatever she did must have been bad since he won’t concede.
All I can think of when I see this episode is that the mom from Johnny Tsunami sure has gotten old. It must be a curse for anybody that worked on a Disney Channel original movie that their work there will always haunt them.
DUCK TRIES HARD TO GET SOME
In what Peggy later calls “a confusing time” she had a strange relationship with the drunkard Duck. On the day President Kennedy is assassinated he invites her to his hotel room for a quickie. He is waiting for her to arrive when he watches the news on the TV. Peggy arrives just as the announcement is being made and Duck immediately unplugs the TV knowing he won’t get any if she finds out.
Really Duck? Here we are again seeing just how ridiculous men can be in order to get a little action. To be fair he is wasted but I’m not sure that would have changed anything. Poor Peggy eventually got the news after he plugs in the TV but it was on a minor delay.
THE NEW AGENCY
The final episode of season 3 is a real winner as the key components from Sterling Cooper form a new agency out of a hotel room. Joan is back running the show as she breaks down where everybody will sit and the whole group abides. Not only do they acquire all the needed people to run a functional agency but they get all the paper work in a sneaky way having secret meetings.
The best moment is when there first call comes in and everyone is expecting business but it’s just Harry clearing up the room number. While this was a bold and very dangerous move I don’t think audience members had any question that this group could become successful in a short amount of time.