Great Moments in Mad Men: Season 4
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 were in for come Sunday April 7th.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t caught up through season 5 I wouldn’t recommend reading the lists.
THIS FACE, THAT SONG
His face. That song. It’s a rare instance where Don smiles, but he isn’t just doing an impression of somebody who is happy. His face reads more along the lines of knowing he is entering some dangerous territory but he loves every minute of it. He is actually participating in something refreshing for Don by being honest with somebody for a change. We only get the very first lines of his discussion with the reporter about the beginnings of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
We’re well aware their birth wasn’t quite done in a proper so it’s jarring to hear him dive into all the gritty details. As the music kicks in it becomes clear that season 4 is going to be quite the little ride.
ALLISON GETS OWNED
With his wife and kids out of the picture Don slides into a battle with too many drinks and a dick he can’t keep in his pants. Stumbling home after a Christmas party back at the office he realizes his keys are no where to be found. But we all know the men of the agency have their handy hot secretaries to do their dirty work. He enlists Allison to bring them over…and then some.
It’s hard to read if she understands that he’s wasted and this is just a passing thing. His “sadness” that she has to meet somebody and leave is not true to heart. The next day it’s clear she thought more of it and is quite chipper to see him at the office. Don has a look on his face that reads he knows this girl is in deep. So what does he do? Well give her the bonus they discussed! Because that doesn’t read like paying her for for the night before at all. Why didn’t he just leave it on the damn nightstand? Nice going Casanova.
LANE’S ROSES GET MIXED UP
This has to be one of my favorite scenes in Mad Men history mostly due to the fact that it just keeps getting worse. Basically Lane was a total ass to Joan when she requested some time off because he is stressed about the funds of the agency and took it out on her. To apologize he sent her flowers that had a very professional and acceptable message. Unfortunately that message got to his wife with her flowers instead.
Joan receives flowers that carry a message reading, “Darling, I’ve been an ass. Kisses, Lane.” She becomes enraged thinking he actually did mean that message for her and feels it’s inapproiate. He is stunned as she throws the flowers in his face exclaiming she is not his darling and does not need his kisses.
After hollering for his secretary it’s revealed the messages were mixed up somehow, something the secretary takes zero responsibility for. This only escalates the situation as Joan fires her on the spot saying, “Everybody makes mistakes, but the fact that you’re the kind of person that can’t accept blame is egregious.” Then Sandra the secretary doesn’t even know what that means. Boy oh boy. The funny thing is at this point Lane is the last of the fellas that would send flirty flowers. Just isn’t his speed…until later.
THE CHARM OF JOYCE RAMSAY
Yes, I know what your thinking but that young girl with a ponytail is familiar for a reason. That’s Zosia Mamet and she plays Shoshanna on Girls. At this point is there an actress with more range? Here she plays a smooth talking lesbian that is just what the doctor ordered for Peggy. Not because they hook up or anything but she introduces her to a young vibrant artistic group that is just living life.
There are actually countless moments with her that are wonderful but I love when we find her flirting with Megan who is none the wiser. Joyce is the kind of girl that flirts with all the ladies regardless of if they’re interested or not. They aren’t even aware they’re loving it before the time it hits them. She comes in and confuses all the men in the office, breaks Peggy out of her shell and shows us another time of the 60s. She’s much like a refreshing glass of ice-cold water on a hot summer day.
Don has quite a shaky past with his previous secretaries and by season 4 has reached his breaking point. Even Joan knows it’s time for something different. Enter Ida Blakenship (or as I know her the mom from The Karate Kid) she is exactly what he needs at the moment no matter how useless she is. But while she may not be doing Don any favors she provides countless laughs for the audience.
There is a classic scene where she literally buzzes every phone in his office in a row causing more confusion than anything. You know what I’ll just let this video do the talking.
THE LIFE CEREAL PITCH
This is a cringe worthy scene that feels like it’s never going to end. When Don shows up to the office to do a pitch for the Life Cereal clients he is beyond trashed after winning a Clio. His presentation is much like the drunk person at a party that slowly but surely causes the room to go silent as they rant about some hot-button issue. They just can’t stop.
Such is the case with Don as he completely rips off some hack copywriters idea with “Life, the cure for the common breakfast.” This leads to Peggy having to break the news and the agency having to hire the copywriter Danny. Just another example of how Don lets everything he does in season 4 spiral out of control.
DON PUTS HIMSELF ON THE LEVEL OF JESUS
It’s tough to be the newbie in any line of work but for Peggy it’s even worse being a female copywriter. Not being on the level of Don makes her and all the other copywriters ideas not exclusively theirs. Naturally, she becomes frustrated at a certain point particularely when Don wins a Clio for an idea she feels was all hers. Their discussion starts off calm but escalates as Peggy voices her concerns over getting even a simple thank you from him once and a while.
Then Don does something interesting….he puts himself on the same level as Jesus. Not to mention he has a monstrous vein that looks like it could pop at any moment. That’s right Mr. Draper she should thank you AND Jesus for waking up every morning and having air to breathe. It’s hard to watch because the minute she starts crying he knows he’s gone to far.
JOEY BAIRD IS A DICK
Joan has said some pretty harsh things to many of the characters in Mad Men but when combative copywriter Joey will have none of her in your face attitude things get uncomfortable. She pulls him aside to address how disrespectful he is and his next comments are completely out of line. Although it was hard not to see this coming given that since we first see him he makes sexual comments about Joan non-stop. They’re the kind that make you want to punch him in the face.
In their private meeting he takes the time to insist she does nothing in the office except walk around trying to get raped. Then moves on calling her “some madam of a Shanghai whorehouse” that is trying to show him the ropes.
Yeah like I said, you want to punch him in the face.
SALLY DRAPER EATS SHIT
With Sally we get the classic example of “like mother like daughter” when she completely eats shit in Don’s office acting like a child. Except with her it’s much more acceptable given that she is actually a child. Daddy’s new girlfriend Dr. Faye tries to reason with Sally and get her to go with Betty but she reacts by running off. Not before telling Faye to shut up, something I was totally fine with.
It’s pretty unclear how exactly she falls but c’mon we’ve all done a crazy move with out footsie that ended with our face on the concrete. Thank goodness Megan was there for Sally to help the little brat in a time of need.
PETE GETS FED UP WITH DON
I have always been a Pete apologist even though I understand he is a creep. To be fair however, he is put in a position in this episode that he did not deserve in the slightest. Don’s secret identity is compromised when his secretary fills out papers without his permission for security clearance due to North American Aviation. When he finds this out he goes on a mission to rid himself of the entire endeavor. This means getting rid of North American Aviation as clients and putting all the work Peter has done for 3 years in the trash.
Pete gets a “moment” if you will when he tells Don, “I don’t have to live with your shit over my head” throwing in that he’s been doing this for years so he should figure it out. The man has a point, Don has never been more selfish than in that moment. Ultimately, Pete does have to get rid of the account and takes the blame like a man without revealing Don’s secret. So all you haters of Pete Campbell out there, think about this situation once and a while.
STAN OWNS PEGGY
Stan brings a certain liveliness to the show with his one-liners and size to small colorful shirts. I mean seriously while the rest of the guys are in suits this dude saunters around in beach clothes. He and Peggy share some conversations that lead me to believe they might actually work as a couple but mostly just make me laugh. He continually throws himself out her trying to put on display just how sexual he can be.
When he tries this again because she is nervous for a pitch and it would loosen her up she denies him yet again, but this time he gets revenge. Stan lets her do an entire pitch for Playtex gloves with lipstick on her teeth looking like a moron. Even one of the clients tries to give her a hint licking his teeth but I think she finds it disturbing and distracing instead. Oh Stan, you’re a fountain of comic relief.
THE RETURN OF MIDGE DANIELS
I love a show that can bring back people from previous seasons without it being too distracting or forceful. This is exactly what Mad Men does when Don runs into his ex-city girlfriend Midge Daniels. She’s a character that didn’t really need a comeback but when you see her can’t help but wonder what she’s been up to. And let’s just say she’s been busy, you know doing herioin and what not.
At this point she “just can’t stop” and it’s revelaed in the episode she strategically planned to run into Don. Given that compared to her he is filthy rich she figured it’d be a good way to get some cash for drugs. Ultimately, she does get the money but the entire time spent with her paints a portrait of how damaging drugs can be. We spend some time in her seedy apartment that says it all. While she isn’t a classic strung out drug addict it’s clear that she has no intentions of stopping until it’s too late.
MEGAN CLEANS UP A MILKSHAKE
I’m not a mother so I can’t really say that I wouldn’t freak out on kids like Sally and Bobby when the did things that were wrong but Betty takes it too far. It isn’t until Megan goes along with the kids and Don to California that he see’s not every mistake the children make has to be a huge production. As Sally and Bobby argue she ends up spilling a milkshake all over the table.
Don immediately springs into yelling mode but is quickly take aback by how simply Megan handles the situation. It’s a defnning moment for him as not to long after he proposes to her and announces it to the office much the confusion of Peggy. For viewers this moment in key for the season finale because Don is making a radical change with Megan and we have no idea what’s in store for season 5 but we do know she won’t slap his kids around.