MAD MEN: Season 1 Episode 7 – “Red in the Face”
Viewed late at night, at home on my couch, with a friend, during a heavy thunderstorm.
This is Roger Sterling. He is a major partner at the Sterling Cooper ad agency, and the boss (read: drinking partner) of Don Draper. He has a wife and daughter, but he’s having an affair with Joan Holloway. In most walks of life, he’s generally despicable. In this episode, Sterling becomes an unexpected dinner guest at the Draper home outside New York City. When Don goes to the garage to search for more liquor, Sterling helps Betty take the dishes in the kitchen and ends up hitting on her. She resists him, and Don walks in sensing that something has happened between his wife and Sterling. After boss man leaves, Draper yells at Betty, telling her she was acting like a giggly school during dinner and blaming her for the episode in the kitchen.
The next day at the office, Sterling brings Draper a bottle of liquor and apologizes for the night before. He compares it to “parking your car in the wrong garage” and explains that “When a man gets to a point in his life when his name’s on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement.” He likes to mention that his name is on the building a lot. Draper plays it cool, but he’s still verbally holding it against Betty. Later, we see Draper speaking with the elevator operator and handing him some cash.
Speaking of Betty, we see her grocery shopping the next day. She spots Helen Bishop (the divorcee from down the street with the serial killer-in-training son) and says hello. Helen tells Betty that she found the lock of blond hair in her son’s room and admonishes Betty saying, “He’s only nine!” Betty slaps Helen and runs out of the super market. I think we’re starting to see Betty come undone, which sounds bad – but I think Betty is going to start showing that she’s a lot smarter and more multi-faceted than everyone thinks.
A few episodes ago it was mentioned that Richard Nixon, a likely presidential candidate, might be using Sterling Cooper for his ads. Sterling wants Draper on the account so before a meeting with Nixon’s people, the guys go out to lunch. They eat a few too many oysters and drink multiple martinis, completely forgetting to discuss Nixon’s ad campaign. When they return stuffed and drunk, the elevators are out of service. With Nixon’s people waiting, Sterling huffs and puffs up the 23 flights of stairs while Draper barely breaks a sweat. Draper introduces himself to Nixon’s people and Sterling makes an attempt, but instead vomits martinis and oysters all over the rug in the lobby of the office. They give Sterling a moment to collect himself while Draper follows the men in to the meeting with a trace of a smile on his face.
After writing in another post that I felt a certain scene must have been written by a woman, I decided to do some research on the writers of the show. As it turns out, seven of the nine writers on the show are women (pictured above). Unsurprisingly, the articles on the female majority confirms many things I would already assume. Of course, the writers have a larger pool of experiences to draw from since they’ve probably encountered many of the same problems that Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson would face in their work places.
I hate to admit that knowing so many of the writers are women makes me like the show more, but it is true. For that reason, I’m glad I didn’t know anything about the writers when I started watching the show. However I wonder if that has anything to do with the men of the show being less like-able. I’m definitely not one to believe that women can’t write for male characters, or vice-versa, but personally I have a harder time feeling sympathy for the male characters. Then again, this difficulty could also be a product of the fact that I’m female and usually tend to feel more kinship with female characters. Either way, it’s interesting to know exactly who it is behind the words of Mad Men.