Mad Men Season 3, Episode 2: On Selling Soft Drinks and a Stadium

08/24/2009 3:57 PM |

Mad Men season 3 episode 1

Before we get into this disjointed and somewhat underwhelming episode, I would like to take a moment and confess how truly ecstatic I was when the ep started with the opening scene from Bye Bye Birdie. I loved this movie as a child, and I kind of can’t wait for the revival starring John Stamos, aka Uncle Jesse, to hit Broadway in September. But I digress.

The episode centers around 2 clients, and a Betty family skirmish, so let’s attack it in that order, ay? First client is Patio, which was Pepsi’s first foray in the Diet Soda world. The drink looks and sounds decidedly unappealing, but Cosgrove tasks Peggy with coming up with an ad that features an Ann-Margaret type, which of course gets the Mad Boys all excited about the prospect of a casting. Peggy tries to think of something a bit more unconventional, but Don shuts her down. So she goes out to a bar, picks up a dude, totally goes home with him and gets to third base.

Second client is Madison Square Garden, as I guess it is in 1963 that they decide to raze the above ground portion of Penn Station in order to construct the Madison Square Garden we all know today. People are up in arms, so the client comes to Sterling Cooper hoping to squelch the bad PR with some snazzy ads. Of course this is the meeting that Campbell is overseeing, and hippie-dippy Kinsey has to go and agree with the protesters and piss off the MSG dude. Lane tells Don to take Mr. MSG out to lunch, where Don does his thing and convinces MSG suit to stop feeling guilty about destroying Penn Station or whatever, but own up to it and love it. It’s a classic Don move, but it’s rendered moot later, when Lane says British Parent Company doesn’t want them as a client anyway. Don gets pissed, and cites the potential for 30 years worth of ads for concerts and sporting events, but considering the shape the Knicks are in these days maybe Putnam, Powell & Lowe made the right call on this one?

Meanwhile, back at the Draper abode Betty is still extremely pregnant and fretting over her father. It seems that his lady friend has left him, and Betty is concerned how he is holding up with just her brother William playing caretaker. So she insists upon the whole Betty clan coming to the Draper house for a visit. Papa Betty seems okay, but William tells Betty they have to do something — either sell his house and put their father in a home, or have William and his wife Judy move in to take care of him. Betty sees the latter as a plot for William to pillage the house for heirlooms or something, so she tattles to Don who then bullies William into leaving and having Betty’s dad stay with them. Because that is a great idea that will end well.

What else doesn’t end well? This episode, which seems to stop abruptly with Peggy going into Don’s office to talk about diapers. However, we do get some choice fun and unfun facts this episode. Margaret Sterling (the daughter, not the ex-wife) has set her wedding date for November 23, 1963 – the day after the Kennedy Assassination. Ruh-Roh. Also, not only is Joan still with assface fiance, he’s now assface husband. Poor Mrs. Dr. Greg… whose home life we get to see next week! See you then when I gush about all things Joan (no longer) Holloway.

(photo credit Carin Baer)

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