Mad Men

Series 3.

What was it? Two weeks? Fourteen days? A fortnight? Yup, having seen the second series of Mad Men, I’ve now seen the third, which revealed that there were a few episodes missing from the second. What did I miss? The British firm buying Sterling Cooper and Betty announcing she was pregnant, thus leading to a reconciliation with the errant Don.

Series 3 starts with life not quite back to usual as Sterling Cooper’s new owners go Thatcherite on them. Don made friends with Connie Hilton, who was obviously the lunatic grandfather of the more famous contemporary celebutard. Don also began an affair with his daughter’s school teacher and Betty (who seems to have gone from 60s thin to 21st century thin since the programme started) discovered Don’s secret. This and a thing for a suave political campaigner has led her to decide to divorce Don. Meanwhile, the series ended with the main characters decamping to a hotel room to restart the business after they learnt that the British firm (something like St John, Cuthbert and Cliché) had sold Sterling Cooper.

I suppose Don was probably like a lot of his generation. They’d married the princess, produced an heir, and then wanted someone else, but faced with divorce would not have considered to be an acceptable option. It’s the Odysseus Syndrome: he can bang your wife, but you can’t bang his.

As for the minor characters, Peggy Olsen continued her rise through the ranks – getting high in one episode to achieve this end. She also ended up banging Duck Phillips who had been instrumental in the sale of Sterling Cooper, but who seems to have been subsequently sacked for his treachery. (Another laecuna because of the episodes missing from the second series.) Don discovered Sal Romano’s secret, which eventually got Sal fired after a contretemps with an overly familiar client. Sal’s wife also finally seems to have realised the truth after his rendition of the Ann Margaret advert for some diet soft drink. Did they really have diet soft drinks in the 60s? I’m sure that real Americans in the 60s drank full fat soft drinks, and if it wasn’t high salt, high sugar, high cholesterol and high tar, it was an un-American cigarette. Roger Sterling’s jailbait daughter had the misfortune to get married the day President Kennedy got assassinated. (As a historical side note, I believe my Mum and Dad were on their honeymoon at the time.) Marilyn Monroe also bowed out earlier in the series. Joan also bowed out for a time, but had to find work after her husband failed to get the post he was hoping for. he then had the brilliant idea of joining the army as a surgeon just as a war in some country called Vietnam was hotting up.

I still can’t tell whether the men are meant to be insane mad or infuriated mad. Still, bring on the fourth series.

The guy who plays Pete Campbell still looks like he ought to be playing Jimmy Olsen, or delivering the post and saying, “Gee, that sure is swell, Mr Draper. When I grow up, I want to be an ad man just like you”, or be a schoolboy called Prendergast who’s always falling face first into muddy puddles.


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