Couch Commando

MAD MEN: Season 1 Episode 4 – “New Amsterdam”

Posted in Mad Men by LaurenStheTA on March 1, 2010

Viewed late at night, at home on my couch.

This episode of Mad Men continues the Pete Campbell story line. His new wife Trudy surprises him at the office and she wants to take him to an apartment she’s found on 89th street. Campbell makes it clear his salary won’t cover an apartment like that, and Trudy makes it clear she is used to getting her way. This predicament finds Campbell at his parents house, asking for a loan. The Campbell’s are cold and rich.  In fact, the furniture of their parlor is covered in white sheets – the house is being prepared while they go to their summer home. As untouchable as they come off, it’s a wonder the parents aren’t covered in sheets as well. The tension between Campbell and his father, who doesn’t understand his job in advertising, is tempering the entire scene. We learn a few important things about Campbell in this scene: his family is incredibly wealthy because his mother’s family use to own everything north of 125th street, and they are not giving him a loan.

His wife’s parents, by comparison, are warm and friendly. Trudy barely has to ask before she receives. Her father tells Campbell to consider the money an investment in himself. He is uncomfortable taking the money, but he does for his wife’s benefit. Back at the office, we see again see the nasty side of the junior executive. Working on an account with Don Draper for the Bethlehem Steel Company, Campbell wines and dines the client behind Draper’s back and pitches his own idea to the client successfully. Draper decides to have him fired but then discovers in the senior partner’s office that Campbell can’t be fired because his family’s social status is too valuable to the ad agency.

Weird kid. Loving that couch.

The other interesting event in this episode involved the neighborhood divorcee, Helen Bishop. In the early evening Betty Draper is walking the new family dog and while walking by Bishop’s, sees her ex-husband beating on the door and yelling for Bishop to open it. He spots Betty and asks to use her phone. She declines and turns to hurry home. Later that evening Bishop comes over to apologize and thank her for turning away the ex-husband. A few nights after that, Bishop asks Betty if she could come over to baby sit because she has to go volunteer at Kennedy headquarters. Betty agrees and spends the evening with Bishop’s son, Glen. That evening is the first time we glean that the kid may not be alright. He walks in on Betty in the bathroom and stares and later after apologizing, asks for a lock of her hair. She spies a pair of scissors and gives him the hair before sending him to bed. Honestly, this scene was a little weird and unsettling. But instead of analyzing the little serial killer in training, I’d rather just see what happened next.

I’m realizing that I’m not as in love with this show (yet) as I would like to be. So many of my friends have expressed such fervent obsession for it that I was expecting to be hooked right off the bat. Perhaps it’s a slow build, but I’m not yet feeling excited about watching more episodes. I like the show, but you know, just as friends. For now.

Rated 2/5.

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2 Responses

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  1. Darren said, on March 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Well here’s hoping that you two crazy kids fall in love soon. I’d like to come out of this project with a desire to see the show. I don’t mind disturbing but it needs to be tempered with something else. At any rate it sounds like the best thing about this episode was the couch.

  2. TA Andrea said, on March 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you haven’t fallen in love with the show you picked. It always is easier to blog on a show your actually interested in. Hopefully, this turns around for you. I have to agree with you, Bishop’s kid is a creep. I like how you described him as a serial-killer in the making. Good job on your first postings. They were entertaining and very well written. I look forward to the next ones.


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