*With apologies to Georges Perec
Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,
that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein
that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.
Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.
She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.
It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun’s going down
whose secret we see in a children’s game
of ring a round of roses told.
Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,
that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.
––Robert Duncan, Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
…Though I was wrong,
Still, as the loveliest feelings
Must soon find words, and these, yes,
Displace them, so I am not wrong
In calling this comic version of myself
The true one. For as change is horror,
Virtue is really stubbornness
And only in the light of lost words
Can we imagine our rewards.
––John Ashbery, The Picture of Little JA in a Prospect of Flowers
‘Hello I Love You’. The Doors classic soundtracks Don’s automotive return from Utah’s Salt Flats, but there is no avoiding the truth here: This is the end, beautiful friends. Roger here delivers the meta moment: ‘You get to a point in your life where it’s the last chapter.’ The dying princess and poisoned apples of penultimate episode heralded the nature of the closure: a fairytale ending, happily-ever-afters for (nearly) all. ‘I guess somebody finally got their timing right.’ Everybody did, Joan, everybody – except Betty. Even Don, finally, like Meredith and the cats scattered liberally over the episode’s walls among the winking Halloween ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, reaches the conclusion of his fall into the existential abyss and lands on his feet – then assumes the lotus position among the lotus eaters and uncharacteristically cracks a grin. ‘Did everything fall apart without me?’ he wonders rhetorically, inadvertently alluding to the fragmentation of the credits finally embodied in the chaotic end of SC&P. No, everything is OK. Sometimes you have to go to pieces to find your inner peace – as some sign on the wall of some seventies encounter group probably read. ‘Does hugging feel honest?’ Well, maybe, but ‘[we] thought you were going to open it up’ – peel back the onion, show the skull beneath the skin, fully reconcile with the past, break on through to the other side. So what just happened? Hell of a shaker at 130. A thing like that!
It is like this: two episodes back, the devil, in the corporate personhood of McCann, won – and nobody minds at all, even if, in the grimly listless person of a dying Betty, he is brazenly giving a flavour of what he can do. A thing like that! Peggy, ironically chained to her desk by Samsonite, cannot do lunch with Harry and Pete and so, fortuitously, has the touching person to person goodbye with the latter that feels right – in which the thing never to be alluded to – their abandoned son – is not alluded to – unless you count Pete giving Peggy something else to look after: a tiny cactus, which seems, when you think about it, a suitably prickly memento of himself. ‘I’ll be back. That thing better be alive.’ It is all warm bonhomie, mutual regard and encouragement. He is going off to the plum Learjet job in Wichita and she, he assures her, to creative directorhood in a distant 1980 (putatively achieving ascendancy coevally with Thatcher and Reagan), where people will brag about having worked with her. The future is always better than the past (except when the past is far enough gone to assume the honeyed glow of nostalgia – and the future turns out to be Thatcher and Reagan). ‘It’ll get easier as you move forward.’ In the heartland, Don may be repeatedly catching desperate thieves for whom a few hundred dollars are a big score, but Manhattan’s gilded palaces are just getting more gilded.
The embarrassment of riches is so embarrassing that some here even find themselves spoilt for choice – rather as Pete did over Learjet. Newly minted millionaire Joan could be frolicking in the surf somewhere, living out the salacious fantasies of the dead Lane Pryce. But ‘I’ve been to the beach,’ she tells Peggy, with a curtly dismissive flick of the hand, her mind on bigger fish than the ones she can catch at Key West, Coney Island and Old Lyme. Her business dinner with Kenny has given her her door into the future. Harry once asked her to brief his new hiring on the work she had been doing as a fill-in. Now, again, a man asks her to give work to another man when she knows she can do it herself, but this time she can take control. Facing the choice of an opulent sunlit retirement with Richard and starting a production company, she opts to answer one of the episode’s key phone calls, accepting the insistent ring of business opportunity and reluctantly letting Richard go. (Don’t you love him as he’s walking out the door?) Now she asks Peggy to come with her and see their names on another door, not ten or fifteen years from now but right away – and thus sets up another gilded dilemma. Peggy is flattered, so much so that she seriously considers the offer, but being at McCann seems to work for her as it did not for Joan. ‘Women love it here,’ Jim Hobart taunted Joan, and it is clear that Peggy does and has already landed on her feet. Not only that, but Stan the Man is there and wants her to stay. Joan’s offer ultimately triggers Stan’s confession of love to Peggy – in another key phone call. Peggy, it seems, gets to have both the love and the money.
Minutes before, she had been experiencing another telephonic eruption of suppressed truth from the other important man in her life. Don, on a cliff at the edge of America, deserted by Stephanie at the hippy retreat, seemed closer to the metaphoric edge than ever before, the closest precedent being the North American Aviation background check panic attack when he revealed his secret identity to Faye Miller. This time he gives less away, but even so there is a sense that Catholic Peggy has become father confessor through the confession box-like invisibility of the phone. Throughout the episode, the person to person calls have acted as conduits for these little truth explosions, Sally telling Don about Betty’s cancer and Don and Betty sharing a moment of great tenderness. And Stan, as he says, has always found it easiest to talk to Peggy on the phone: ‘I miss you and I call you on the phone and I get the person I want to talk to.’ But finally, it seems that the deepest connections are when the persons come together physically, when a body meets a body: Don and sad, lonely Leonard hugging hard in the encounter group and, finally, Peggy and Stan kissing. Is this true? ‘Does hugging feel honest?’ Well, at any rate, ‘You can’t frame a phone call’ – Peggy’s old ad copy long ago observed, pinning down the ephemerality of the medium, its ghostly lack of physicality, its attendant yearning.
‘Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand / In a desperate land.’ That yearning for physical presence is quite possibly the episode’s golden thread – the wounding sense of absence that even the characters’ increasing wealth may not be able to salve. It is no more persistently scrutinised or deeply felt than in the context of motherhood. Peggy long ago made her decision to abandon her child, but is not, as we know, at peace with it. Stephanie, in a parallel situation, is unresolved. In the encounter group, a double for Don’s stepmother tells her that, as a motherless child herself, she knows that Stephanie’s son will spend his entire life waiting for her to walk through the door. Don tries to advocate denial as he once did successfully with Peggy – ‘It’ll get easier as you move forward’ – but the tearful Stephanie’s not having it: ‘Oh Dick, I don’t think you’re right about that.’ She leaves him stranded at the retreat, perhaps to go directly to her child, and he experiences his crisis. Perhaps it is true, it never has got easier. He has tried to live the life he was supposed to, advertising’s wholesome technicolour nuclear family dream while all the while repeatedly drawn back by his fatal attraction to dark, melancholy women. He has told the women who deserted their children – Peggy, Diana and Stephanie – it was OK – as he has probably tried to tell himself his mother’s absence was. It has all left him alone, the message driven painfully home by Betty on the phone: when she dies, she wants things to carry on as normally as possible for the kids – and that means him being absent. Absence, absence, increasing the heart’s froideur.
That, surely, is why, in the encounter group, Leonard’s soliloquy so touches Don. Ostensibly they could not be more different, Don the perpetual centre of attention, Leonard feeling perpetually overlooked. But they meet at Leonard’s line, ‘It’s like no one cares that I’m gone.’ Don looks up. As Dick he has been gone for decades and no one is even left to care. Now, Betty has told him Don is no more wanted.
Leonard’s dream is about being left on the shelf, a product, it seems, perpetually shut back into the cold and darkness of a refrigerator. What is absent for him? What he wants, some vital grain of charisma or meaning, is almost impossible to say: ‘You don’t even know what it is. You spend your whole life thinking you’re not getting it, people aren’t giving it to you. Then you realise, they’re trying and you don’t even know what “it” is.’ Leonard? Not to worry. “It” is Coke. Coke is it. It’s the Real Thing.
Don knows how to be chosen and to get products chosen. He knows it as if instinctively, but the key to it is absence, here, making the heart grow fonder after all, the wound he referred to in the Carousel pitch, that creates the yearning, the desire. Don said to Peggy that a good ad comes from the creative’s feeling about the product. He grew up without healthy loving relationships so the only sweet thing in his life was a Hershey bar. The happiness that a billboard screams is what young Dick saw as a child: the vast people and objects projected onto the skyscrapers of the titles is like a child’s view of a roadside billboard. When he can, he builds a life that looks like an ad: the beautiful model wife, two children, one of each, a dog, a suburban house with a shiny red door, a fridge full of beer and a new car. And he’s an ad man because he is his own greatest creation or perhaps it’s the other way round. He is full of want so he knows how to use that and sell the remedy. He cannot build or maintain a healthy relationship with people, but because his childhood longings were fulfilled by products, because chocolate meant love, he can imbue things with feeling: he really means it when he says happiness is the smell of a new car.
Anna once gave Dick a Tarot reading. The soul of the world card said that he was part of the world and that every living thing was connected to him; the only thing keeping him from being happy was the belief that he was alone. Amongst a crowd of people on a golden cliff top, after a group therapy session where he hugged his sobbing doppelganger, he achieves enlightenment: the boy who found solitary happiness in a Hershey bar finds global connection in a Coke bottle as a man. The pitch, back in NYC, should virtually write itself: ‘I went to California and all I can tell you is, I experienced something… something real. This is it. This thing at the back of your mind that you don’t know how to get to. This is what people are hungry for…thirsty for. This…thing. The real thing.’ (Turns over card) ‘Coke is it.’
Don has previously used the word ‘thing’ prominently in another important pitch: Jaguar, in which he referred to the car as ‘this thing,’ and the payoff was, ‘Finally something beautiful you can truly own.’ Ginsberg, who wrote the line, had imagined the ads in the pages of Playboy among the beautiful, unattainable women. The selling point, then, becomes sexual sublimation, but, even more than sex, the product is supposed to fulfil the advertising promise ‘really satisfies’ – for good and all, the object of desire to end all desire. What kind of Thing can do this?
Before we consider an answer to this, let us pause to return to motherhood and to another key word associated with desire: ‘Love,’ here repeated almost to excess by Stan and Peggy. Many years before, the last time Don went AWOL in California, Peggy achieved her first success independently of Don. The ad was for Popsicle: ‘Take it, break it, share it, love it,’ and featured a sainted bountiful mother, complete with halo, bestowing popsicle communion upon her lucky offspring. ‘Well, I can tell you,’ the acquiescent client admitted, ‘we wanted something with the word “love” in it.’ Ken lied at the time that Don had approved the work, but would he really have done so? Subsequently, repeatedly, he has nixed the word ‘love’ in ad headlines, protesting that it is overused. It seems that, like Joan, he had bigger fish to fry: the Thing, the Real Thing.
For Lacan, extrapolating on Freud, the Thing is that which is outside language and the unconscious, impossible to imagine or attain. We might think also of Kant’s Ding-an-Sich, the thing in itself, reality unshaped by human perception and, therefore, for Kant, equally unimaginably, bearing no relation to time and space. Except that Lacan’s formulation goes further: the Thing is, in the words of nosubject.com (see link below), ‘the prehistoric, unforgettable Other – in other words, the forbidden object of incestuous desire, the mother. The pleasure principle is the law which maintains the subject at a certain distance from the Thing, making the subject circle round it without ever attaining it.’ A thing like that! No sainted mothers or love for Don then, perpetually returning to the beds of the lost, dark, melancholy women. ‘“Father?” “Yes son?” “I want to kill you. Mother, I want to…”’ The Thing – or its later mutation in Lacan, the objet petit a – is the more potent matter for the ad man because it is the fundamental driver of desire, the impossible object, the attainment of which seems promised but ultimately thwarted by the objects we pursue, the things that Don has been peddling to fuel the sixties’ consumer boom.
But now we have not just the Thing, but the Real Thing – as if the Coke copywriters really had been taking tips from Lacan way back at the end of the 60s when his work was barely available in English. For Lacan, the Real is another synonym for the Thing, that which is neither symbolic nor imaginary and thus is never truly known. Lacanian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has written about the end of the ‘60s counterculture that it dissolved in a series of misguided, Quixotically futile attempts to get to the Real, whether via radical violence, sex, drugs or, as here, mysticism – attempts, as it were, to break on through to the other side and live in total, radical truth. Lacan again: the subject ‘cannot stand the extreme good that das Ding may bring to him.’ Perhaps, in the non-linguistic moment of a hug or the chanting of the name of God (Om), Don really did experience the Real. And perhaps its unbearable, monstrous good is also why he ultimately retreated, turning it into advertising’s quintessential expropriation of the counterculture – complete with his own taboo word: ‘I’d like to build the world a home and furnish it with love.’
Like Tony Soprano, he has taken the therapeutic insight and turned it only into better, more effective corruption. But how much can we blame him if he so utterly fails to find what he wondered about in The Suitcase: ‘another way out of here’? McCann has been pursuing Don almost since the start and, as such, has played the role of dark, demonic, monster antagonist. But this is false signposting. It is not that McCann is not the devil, but the devil was always already present at Sterling Cooper, the gilded cage maker, in Lucky Strike, United Fruit, Dow and the combination of forces that led to Lane’s suicide and Joan’s prostitution. No wonder everyone, even Joan, goes merrily on to their happy endings after being swallowed by the beast McCann.A thing like that. The Thing that ate… Things have changed for women and ethnic minorities, but in the base below the structure of society, everything is the same. The former advances, despite the hopes of ‘60s changemakers, having had no material effect on the latter at all. At decade’s end, the troubling, more intractable than anticipated question is whether capitalism, its corruption, cruelties and killings, is as inescapable as language itself or as inevitable as death. ‘The west is the best.’ ‘Whither goest thou, America?’ ‘Driver, where you takin’ us?’ The end.
Peggy’s good old desk calendar shows 29th and 31st October 1970. She has the Life Magazine October 30 issue in her office with Dick Cavett on the cover and headline story on The Big Conservative Pitch and the rise of Reagan. The final scene in Joan’s apartment shows a large calendar for November 1970.
- Stan tells Peggy to stop looking over her shoulder (for a better job opportunity) because there’s more to life than work and she accuses him of having no ambition. Back when Sterling Cooper’s California office was being planned, Stan told Don he wanted to head it and build it.
- In Severance, Ted wanted to do an ad that said, ‘There are three women in every man’s life.’ Here, Don makes three phone calls (two of them identified as person to person calls): to Sally, Betty and Peggy. But there are also now three women who abandon their children: Peggy, Diana and Stephanie.
- Roger’s sacking of Meredith is surely his kindest and most reluctant ever. From Sal Romano onward, every one of his acts of severance has been performed with an offhand callousness, sometimes verging on sadism, like a spoilt prince – or an irascible playing card queen, perhaps – ordering executions. The other notable examples are Burt Peterson (twice), Ken Cosgrove and, though Joan stopped this, in one fell swoop, Dawn, Shirley and Caroline. Meredith is, arguably, the one who’s come closest to deserving sacking, though she’s lately seemed highly competent.
- Once again (see Andy last episode), Don spots the thief: this time it’s the Stephanie look-a-like he sleeps with in Utah at the start. And, again, he ends up giving the thief something.
- Peggy’s line to Pete, ‘A thing like that,’ is, as all long-term viewers will know, her quoting one of his catchphrases. Here are some instances: Pete: What do you have to be nervous about? Peggy: Nothing. Just I think Mr. Rumsen is presenting my copy today. To the Belle Jolie people. Pete: Hm. A thing like that! and Pete to Don in LA: I just saw Tony Curtis in the mensroom. Don: Handing out towels? Pete: Tony Curtis, Don. A thing like that!
- Betty: ‘I want to keep things as normal as possible and you not being here is part of that.’ Two episodes back she said Sally being independent was normal and that so far, in her reading of Freud, she hadn’t encountered anyone normal.
- As noted in the article, Joan’s dealings over the Dow film are very reminiscent of her first non-secretarial work reading scripts for Harry. She’s being asked to find men for work she knows she can do herself. When Richard says she’s starting a business, she says it’s just a few little projects, playing down the big money involved for a start and recalling the way she told Greg the script-reading was ‘a hoot.’
- Holloway-Harris is a scrappy start-up (albeit a well-resourced one) operating out of an apartment like SCDP starting in a hotel suite.
- The image of Don in the racecar called back to his conversation with the hot rod guys when he was staying with Anna.
- People are free to come and go as they please, the receptionist tells Don. He has always done that himself. Ginsberg noticed Megan did this, which led to his idea for Jaguar.
- Peggy is still working on the Samsonite account. And she argues to get back Chevalier.
- The dress Peggy wore for her grand entrance to McCann is hanging on the back of her door and the Fisherman’s Wife print is on the wall (although the octopus has been joined by cats for Halloween).
- The season started with Freddie being Don in the Accutron pitch where he says Om as the sound of the watch and ends with Don chanting Om.
- Roger’s Milton Glaser poster (see Culture and Products) calls back to the Season 7 poster by Glaser himself and to Roger’s LSD hallucinations.
- When Joan has her first hit of coke she says she feels like she’s just been given some very good news. She has a similar expression to all the young people in the Coke ad. There is a previous episode called The Good News: Don is in California with Anna and hears about her cancer. The ‘good news’ was a college friend of Stephanie who woke up and had found Jesus.
- Don tells Stephanie, ‘You weren’t raised with Jesus. You don’t know what belief does to people.’ In The Hobo Code, he told the Belle Jolie client he didn’t want to work with him because he was a ‘non-believer,’ adding, ‘I’m not here to tell you about Jesus. You already know about Jesus, either he lives in your heart or he doesn’t.’ In both instances, he’s defending a sort of relativism, but this time the client’s not buying: Stephanie affirms that the thing that made her cry in group therapy was true.
- Sally and Bobby speak to Gene in the way that Betty and Don would. Calls back to the scene in the playhouse where the kids sounded like their parents.
- Betty at the end is at the table smoking, just as she was in her last scene with Don, but the contrast is awful: with Don she was reading Freud and full of optimism. Here she’s reading the paper and looks miserable.
- We can’t tell for sure if Stephanie’s living in Anna’s old house, but the wall colour, which Dick/Don once repainted part of, is identical. EDIT: moose&squirrel BTL has the answer: ‘Don sold Anna’s house in the season 4 finale. Although it did look a lot like Anna’s house, the porch was much smaller at Stephanie’s, as was the living room. Plus I believe that Stephanie was living in LA, and Anna’s house was in San Pedro.’
- Visually, at the end, Don is unchanged from the pilot. His shirt was a little crumpled as he sat on the grass at the end but he could have walked right from the pilot into that moment. Our first shot of Don was his back in a dark NY bar and our last was face-on in the Californian sun. Everyone else has really changed to look at as well as internally. But now Don, who has appeared so old-fashioned, in line with his drink of choice, looks like a call-forward: yuppies on yoga retreats.
- Here’s that nosubject link on the Thing.
- Meredith will be fine, she’ll land on her feet. ‘I always do,’ she says. Halloween cats are everywhere on the McCann walls and in Joan’s kitchen. It begins to seem that this is the meaning of the falling man in the credits. He’s a cat – with nine lives?
- It’s Toasted, the toast is burned and Betty is toast.
- Joan tells Peggy her company needs two names to seem real. Don had two names and isn’t real. Coke, a.k.a. Coca-Cola, has two names too. And it’s the real thing.
- Pete’s cactus was to take to Kansas. People in NYC don’t know the difference between Kansas and Arizona.
- Sally’s not going to Madrid. She’s not going to be rid of the mad (men).
- Sun salutations at Don.
- The Mad Men colours of black and red were McCann colours all along. Roger is wearing them in his office; Peggy wears them at her lunch with Joan (indicating her desire not to leave). Stan kisses Peggy in the final montage and together they are wearing the McCann colours
- Don in jeans. First time we’ve seen that since he’s been an adult?
- Roger is splitting most of his fortune with his grandson Ellery and Kevin. Kevin really is a ‘little rich bastard’. Really rich and literally a bastard.
- Stan tells Peggy there’s more to life than work. Joan tells Richard she can’t shut off the business part of herself. Marie tells Roger her relations with Emile are not his business.
Motherhood and parenting
- Marie tells Roger to go sleep in the sofa like a mother telling off a child. Later, Roger calls Marie, whose name already sounds like this, ‘ma Mère,’ in Paris.
- Roger tells Joan about Marie: I met her through Megan Draper. She’s old enough to be her mother. Actually, she is her mother.
- Roger’s daughter, Margaret, is ‘lost’ and seems to be out of his will.
- Roger and Joan: ‘And I don’t want it to put you in an awkward position when some man you used to work with leaves your son a small fortune.’ ‘It would be a relief to know that no matter what our beautiful little boy is secure.’ ‘Good. Get over here. Little rich bastard. He really is, I guess.’
- Roger and Caroline talk about Marie in code but Meredith knows ‘she’s Megan’s mother.’
- Marie tells Roger that her children love it in Canada so he will learn to love it.
- Richard tries to get Joan to consider moving out of NYC and says ‘you hate your mother’. Joan says she doesn’t hate her. Joan’s closing scene has her mother, Kevin and babysitter: her family.
- Don is shoved in the chest by a woman old enough to be his mother. It’s how he makes her feel – because he was ignoring her and staring at Stephanie, probably jealously, as she touched faces with a handsome hippy.
- Roger and Joan share a moment as proud parents of Kevin.
- Pete carries Tammy into the Lear Jet.
- Don calls Sally and she demands to be taken seriously. She has to tell him that her mother is dying.
- Don calls Betty to say he wants to come home and take care of the kids but she says the children should go to her brother and his wife after she is gone ‘What they really need is a woman in their life. A regular family.’
- When Don gets to Stephanie’s house: ‘I called your folks. They told me you were in town.’ ‘Uh-huh. And they sent you here for what?’ ‘They didn’t tell me anything but your address. Patty’s pretty mad I gave you money.’ ‘Well, that’s more than she did.’ Stephanie says her parents told her that she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. She should have loved being a mother. Her child is being raised by his grandparents and father, Ronnie.
- Don to Peggy: I scandalised my child.
- Pete gives Peggy the cactus saying, ‘Do you want this? I already have a five-year-old.’
- Here’s the group therapy exchange ‘I feel like everyone’s judging me. Like I’m a little girl and my parents are looking at me the way that they look at me now. You shouldn’t have dropped out of school. You shouldn’t have been with a lowlife. Shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. You should have loved being a mother.’ ‘Life is full of “shoulds”.’ ‘Yeah, but I made a mistake, and I just want to get it together now.’ ‘So you can be with your baby?’ ‘What? No. See? They are judging me.’ ‘Why don’t you tell Angie how it feels to hear her say that?’ ‘It makes me feel small and insignificant, Angie.’ ‘What I feel when I hear about your baby is sadness. My mother left, and I can tell you that your baby is going to spend the rest of his life staring at the door waiting for you to walk in.’
- Sally takes on the mother’s role now that Betty is too sick, showing Bobby how to cook and wearing rubber gloves. Peggy’s ad for Playtex gloves reminds us that Sally is too young for motherhood and the man that, at least in the world of ads, is always somewhere in the picture: ‘It’s because Playtex is strong enough to protect a woman’s hands. Through her fingertips, she can dry the tears of a child or feel the warmth of her husband’s skin. Playtex protects a woman’s touch.’
- Don can’t save his mother – he never could. Now his children can’t save theirs.
- Man leading the meditation at the end: ‘Mother Sun, we greet you, and are thankful for the sweetness of the Earth. The new day brings new hope. The lives we’ve led, the lives we’ve yet to lead. New day, new ideas, a new you. (chime rings) Om.’ New ideas indeed.
Person to Person
- Person-to-person calls were operator assisted calls in which you didn’t pay unless the named person answered. The ones here are Don to Betty and Don to Peggy.
- Or it could mean transformation from one person to another: Don to Dick, Dick to Don, as happens here, and the change experienced by all the show’s character over 10 years.
- Don also calls Sally, directly.
- The retreat encounter sessions include person to person interactions including the mother-figure who shoves Don away.
- Don’s hug with Leonard is very person-to-person.
- Stan declares his love for Peggy and she realizes she loves him over the phone after years of phone conversations.
Uses of ‘person’ in the script
- Operator: I have a person to person call for Betty Francis from Donald Draper.
- Joan on Greg: No, he’s just a terrible person.
- Male encounter group leader: Look at the person nearest you. What does that person make you feel? Now, find a way, without words, to communicate that feeling to the other person.
- Operator: I have person to person call for Peggy Olson from Donald Draper
- Stan: And I miss you and I call you on the phone and I get the person I want to talk to.
- Roger : meeting with Sears, and Don has been using a Sears bag, now a Penney’s, as his suitcase
- Marie is a ‘package with all the luggage,’ delivered to Roger’s apartment.
- Peggy is about to shoot Samsonite and still has the abstracted suitcase image prominently placed in her office.
- From Marie’s bedroom tirade, the only word Roger catches is ‘suitcase’ (valise).
- Pete and Trudy have suitcases as they board the jet… but they are too posh to carry them now.
- The race guys think Don has come from Detroit to steal their secrets.
- Roger’s secret plan to keep Meredith on until Don returns.
- Caroline talks in code about Marie. Roger tells her it’s unnecessary.
- Betty is keeping things hidden from the children, unsuccessfully. Sally and Bobby are similarly trying to keep them from Gene.
- People reveal inner anxieties at the retreat.
- Don confesses his sins to Peggy.
- Stan tells Peggy he loves her and has for a while and Peggy realises she loves him.
Culture and Product
- El Mirage for land speed records.
- Hello I Love You by the Doors
- The beer in the first scene with the mechanics is Schlitz. A cheap beer at a time when beer was a strong class indicator in America.
- Roger’s flying to Chicago: Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Sears Roebuck and The Chicago Ad Club.
- A Milton Glaser poster in Roger’s Office to add to his Seymour Chwast. Stan has Seymour Chwast’s motorcycle print in his office.
- Here are the rules Meredith will have used to translate, with some effort one must imagine, Roger’s speech into Pig Latin. Or, for the cognoscenti, Igpay Atinlay.
- Roger is staying at the Stanhope. OK, this probably really is a coincidence, but this is the episode where Stan expresses and realises his hope.
- Here’s some interesting stuff on the link between cocaine and Coke. It’s also worth pointing out that in 1970, before the full deleterious effect of it on the likes of David Crosby became apparent, cocaine was still widely seen as fairly benign.
- There’s long been a rumour that Coca-Cola was behind the red and white outfit of Father Christmas. Although Coke did use Father Christmas in its ad campaigns for many years, the outfit pre-dates that. Just to tease, there’s a large, bearded man at the retreat who’s wearing a bright red jump-suit and white turtle neck.
- The McCann creative round-up: Del Monte, Roman Meal (purveyors of pane but not circenses) and Diamond Walnuts.
- Esso Research and Engineering is over. This might relate to the change of name from Esso (SO for Standard Oil) to Exxon in 1972.
- Peggy says Harry’s talking as if she, he and Pete were the Three Musketeers. OK, neither of us have actually read this, but Wikipedia points out that the musketeers, as upholders of the established order, are not necessarily the good guys, which seems generally relevant here.
- They broke the Land Speed Record right up in Bonneville.
- Joan and Richard have been to Key West, Florida. Very appropriate for Halloween: ‘It is said that the island was littered with the remains (bones) of prior native inhabitants, who used the isle as a communal graveyard.’ It’s Spanish name was Cay Hueso, meaning ‘Bone Cay’.
- Kevin’s eating Cheerios and watching Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street. Later he watches Huckleberry Hound.
- Don’s Sears bag has been replaced by an almost identical one from Penney’s, another big department chain. It might have been a little more upscale than Sears but neither is fancy. What’s shown on the bag was known as their ‘Funky P’ logo. It became JCPenney’s in 1971.
- Du Maurier taste like le shit. Named after the actor Gerald Du Maurier, father of Daphne.
- Joan can’t go to Old Lyme to look at a boat with Richard. Named after Lyme Regis.
- Nathan’s Frankfurters wants to show Joan around. The original restaurant is indeed at Coney Island, but, as Joan says, ‘It’s a business meeting,’ so most likely in Jericho, New York. The original Jericho, in Palestine, may be the oldest inhabited city in the world.
- The Campbell’s Learjet L1965L
- The Odd Couple was on Don’s TV.
- Roger and Marie are in Paris: he’s reading the Herald Tribune, she’s reading Le Monde. Finally, someone got to Paris.
- Peggy: ‘McCann’ll take you back in a second. Apparently it’s happened before.’ Is there a historical story here? Anyone?
- I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing was really written for Coke and McCann and really did result from a travel experience, though to Ireland, not California. The location for the shoot was actually just outside Rome, Italy. It first aired in July 1971.