Tuesday, June 05, 2012

MAD MEN Partners' Meeting - "Christmas Waltz"

Welcome to the Mad Men Partners' Meeting -- a roundtable discussion of this week's episode from your friendly neighborhood LowBrowMedia savants.
This is a spoiler-heavy zone. You have been warned.

airdate: May 20th, 2012

*** Welcome faithful Partners' Meeting readers! Family vacations and just general life events and such have taken ahold of the LBM crew over the past couple of weeks, so we very late with this Mad Men review. But have no fears; we'll be catching up and be back in the grove soon. ***

Jon: Full disclosure -- by the time the final version of this post sees the light of day, I should be maxing and relaxing along the Myrtle Beach strip, Kenny Powers style. In other words, I wrote this too fast and only about 14 hours after finishing my section for "Dark Shadows," so I apologize for being less than thorough this time. But enough of that. Let's get this party started!

Okay, in my mind, three major things happened this week: Lane decided to do a little embezzling, Harry hung out with the Krishnas, and Don and Joan basically went on a date.

First, let's discuss Lane. Turns out my Revolver analysis from a few weeks back was more on the nose than I could have known, because the Taxman is after our favorite British ex-pat for eight large. Trouble is, Mr. Pryce doesn't have anywhere near that sort of mullah on hand, so he hatches a plan to give everyone at the company Christmas bonuses, his being -- wouldn'tcha know -- $8,000. But first, he's gotta convince the other partners to dish it out asap. They agree to the bonus, but not to pay it out immediately, which is too late for Lane. The man is in such dire straights he forges Don's signature and cuts himself a bonus early to take care of the tax hounds. Things seem to be okay for him until the episode's closing scene, when we learn Mohawk Airlines is pulling all of their advertising to stem the financial bleeding from a mechanics' strike, depleting SCDP of expected funds. Surprisingly, the partners decide to give the staff a bonus as planned; however, the senior and junior partners will be biting the bullet and forfeiting theirs. Happy Christmas, Lane! You're in exactly the same pickle you were in the opening moments of the episode. I kid, but I adore Lane, and this is simply awful to watch. Things have continued to spiral out of his control at every turn despite real effort to right the ship on his part (even if it is by shady methods). This could get ugly fast.

Speaking of characters we haven't seen anything substantial from in a while, Harry actually got a plotline! And got to reacquaint himself with old friend of the show Paul Kinsey, who we haven't seen since the formation of SCDP left everyone but the core characters on the outside looking in. The years have not been kind to Kinsey, who fell down the advertising firm ladder until he found himself working at the A&P. And now even that's looking up, as he's immersed himself in what has to be an early branch of the Hare Krishnas in New York City (this is Christmas of 1966 after all). At first, Paul seems to want to recruit Harry to his new-found religion, but then when they're chowing down a diner, we learn the real reason he made contact with Harry again -- Kinsey wants Harry to use his television contacts to pass along his unsolicited Star Trek spec script into Gene Roddenberry's hands, as if Harry Crane actually had such powers. (Btw, anyone else think it's a shame that Kinsey wasn't better friends with Ken, the sci-fi scribe? He might have been able to provide legit criticism and encouragement for that script, as opposed to the weak television industry connections that Harry could only offer even if he wanted to help him.) Anyway, Harry knows it's an awful script. But so does Kinsey's creepy, but still hawt Juliette Lewis-esque ladyfriend, Lakshmi, who seduces Harry to keep him from being able to help Paul succeed with his writing dreams. But Harry actually does Kinsey a solid and gives him a ticket to LA with some seed money. He's probably doomed to fail out there, but at least he's not under the thumb of Lakshmi and the Hare Krishnas.

Now to the happy stuff! I know I'm glossing over a lot here in terms how Don and Joan set off on their little date in the first place, but how AMAZING were Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks in "Christmas Waltz"? I never suspected the two of them had chemistry like that. Hendricks in particular exuded more sex in the episode than I've ever seen from her (which is saying something). Every line out of her mouth was jaw dropping. And Hamm just looked like he was having the time of his life every time the two of them were in the same room together. I know I was writing early in the season about how great Don and Megan were for each other, but damn... I never got a glimpse of this before. I'm not sure there's going to be anything going on with these two just yet, but I know this is what I'll be rooting for on the show until further notice.

Okay, I should really be packing for my trip now. I'm going to have to talk about Joanie and Don more when I come back in two weeks, assuming they give us something to discuss. What say you, good readers? Am I asking for post-hook results of Moonlighting and Who's The Boss? here, or could it work?

Episodes 1&2 - "A Little Kiss"
Episode 3 - "Tea Leaves"
Episode 4 - "Mystery Date"
Episode 5 - "Signal 30"
Episode 6 - "Far Away Places"
Episode 7 - "At The Codfish Ball"
Episode 8 - "Lady Lazarus"
Episode 9 - "Dark Shadows"


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