MAD MEN: Season 1 Episode 10 – “Long Weekend”
Viewed at home, (I still hate this couch) early evening, by myself.
On this episode of Mad Men, things are getting dark, twisted, and sexy. It’s about to be Labor Day Weekend and the Sterling Cooper mad men are working on Nixon’s ad campaign pro-bono, but they’ve got to cut the brain storming short for a meeting with Menkens. I haven’t reviewed too many of the Rachel Menken plot points, but Menken’s is a large department store owned by a Jewish family. One of the daughters, Rachel, is helping her father run the business and goes to Sterling Cooper for help revitalizing the store. She and Don begin a friendship, but it’s obvious they are both putting in a lot of effort into side stepping the mutual attraction they have for each other. Rachel puts an end to the flirting when she finds out Draper is married.
Roger Sterling passes Joan Holloway in the hallway and asks her what she wants to do that night since the whole city will be out of town and they can go where ever they want. She requests to see a movie and the two get in a spat. Her friend Carol shows up at the office because she’s been fired for covering for her boss and in a fleeting moment of empowerment, the ladies decide to hit the town by themselves for some real bachelor hunting.
By clicking this cut, you acknowledge that you are over the age of 18, or a 15 year-old boy that really needs more practice at finding porn on the internet.
Sterling Cooper is holding a casting call for twins in the office that day and Sterling handpicks two of them for a little private party in his office. He pushes his luck for a threesome but the sisters shy away. One sticks with Sterling in the office and the other one hits on Draper with no luck. Before long, disaster (ahem, OR KARMA) strikes and silver fox Sterling is on the floor of his office with a heart attack.
Holloway rushes to the office later to send off telegrams with Cooper to tell clients that their business won’t be interrupted despite Sterling’s health problems. She holds back tears while Cooper tells her that she can do better. Meanwhile, Draper flies off to Rachel Menken’s apartment. They end up having sex and in annoying dude fashion, Draper opens up to Menken about how his mother was a prostitute that died giving birth to him. After she died, he was left with his biological father and his wife. Turns out real dad was a drunk who died after getting kicked in the face by a horse. Fake mom then took up with another loser and these two shining examples of humanity were the ones that raised Draper. So much for the after glow.
Now that we have some synopsis out of the way, I’d like to take a look at some of the actors in the show. First of all, it’s refreshing to see new faces on the screen. I hate to admit it, but it’s much easier to get sucked into TV world when I’m not being massively irritated by Jennifer Aniston playing “Rachel” from Friends for the 20th time because, like, oh my god, she’s so cute and quirky. Most of the actors are completely unrecognizable or only vaguely familiar, making it it much easier to accept the time period and premise of the show.
Going into the show the only actors I recognized were John Slattery (Roger Sterling) and Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell). I only know John Slattery from bit parts in TV shows and his theater work. Vincent Kartheiser was a pleasant surprise because I haven’t seen him around since I begged my nanny to buy me Tiger Beat at the grocery store when I was 13 and far more vapid (Kartheiser = Poor girl’s Brad Renfro?).
Jon Hamm as Don Draper could probably convince me to rob a bank, if not worse. I found myself wondering if he’s just a one note actor, but I checked out his guest work on 30 Rock and as it turns out, he’s just as good looking without the slick suit and he could probably convince Liz Lemon to rob a bank too. January Jones as Betty Draper impresses me more with every episode and Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson is so sweet and square (or secretly ambitious?) she could put Oliva Newton-John’s Sandy to shame. Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway is sinfully good and she steals most of the scenes she’s in.
Since most of the actors seem to have been toiling away in anonymity, it’s nice to see them get their break. However I also wonder if they’ll be pigeon-holed into period pieces now that Mad Men has gotten so popular.
I’d analyze it more but, I have a bank to rob.