Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "Field Trip"


LJ: Every Mad Men Monday morning I wake up feeling like my heart is going to explode with excitement. I am very hyped to watch the new episode of Mad Men. I sync up a pirated episode a nerd who is a stranger has uploaded to my favorite ugly trashy website, "Project Free TV," and let it load while I drink coffee and eat toast. After I finish my toast, it's time for me to start pestering my boyfriend, who sleeps like he's dead. Me whining "Wake up and come watch Mad Men with meeeeeee," is a hallmark of the Mad Men Monday morning ritual. He rarely bites. Last week, I even went so far as to make him a cup of coffee and waggle it under his nose, which worked. But this week he wised up. "Don't you have some exercising to do?" he asked. Sadly I admitted that I did. So then I had to suffer through forty minutes of exercise before it was time for Mad Men. That was a rough one. 

First things first- I think it's really cool how Dawn and Don have the same name. When I was a kid it was used to bug me a lot how characters in books and movies never had the same name, even though that's totally something that happens in real life. It's wouldn't even be confusing for the viewer/reader, because we all know that there is a perfect solution to two people in one situation having the same name: their last initials get involved. America's Next Top Model knows this. On ANTM Cycle 20, which I am very familiar with, as I recently binge-watched the entire cycle in 4 days, there were two guys named Chris: Chris H, who was the WORST, and Chris some other last initial that I forget now, because he was voted off very early into the season. Anyway, I am very happy to see that Dawn C is holding shit down as the new Joan H, and was even happier to discover that Megan C is doing crappily in L.A. I am not a Megan fan; in fact, I hate Megan. I am sure Jessica Pare is a very nice lady but I wish she would never act in any movie or TV show ever again. Megan's chill agent is definitely my fav new character of Season 7 so far (Take that, Roger Sterling's hippie girlfriend), and my fav thing that's happened is a tie between the time he said "You're my favorite couple," to Megan and Don D after knowing Don for five seconds and the time when Ted Chaough put a slice of dry toast into his mouth and walked away.

I liked Betty a lot this episode. I'm pretty obsessed with trying to piece together the crux of Betty's obviously disordered relationship with food. I feel like there might of been bulimia implications in her willingness to share the coffee streusel cake with Francine (Always good to see what's going on with Francine, by the way. Sup Francine), and I thought there was a really interesting metaphor in how for lunch she drank fresh cow's milk out of a bucket but was deprived of the sandwich she packed herself- the sandwich was a prop in the phony illusion she was trying to create, but the cow's milk was pure. She didn't get to have the sandwich because the lie-life was never realized. It gaped in the middle and fell apart. She got to have what she got to have. She got to drink warm cow's milk out of a bucket. 

I've had a really weird work month in April. At first I was just miserable being assistant manager and working all these crazy doubles and then I had a cool Clash-related revelation and stepped down from any sort of managerial position at my restaurant. Now I'm a part-time server! The role I was born to play. Plus I took a sabbatical (not really a sabbatical) from the location of my restaurant I've been working at since Octobes to cover for the assistant manager at my OLD location (where I worked from August of 2012 until Octobes), who went to Mexico for Easter (as one does). And then I came back for my first work weekend as a part-time server and felt tiny and weird and alone. I related to Don Draper a lot throughout his bummer sitting at a table all day SC&P day. It sucks to feel like a weird loser and watch your old job you were good at be usurped by an even weirder loser who kind of sucks at it. I'm noticing that Don Draper's looking a little dumpier than usual this season. His face looks like a fatter, wider square. Is it because Don Draper's character is in a bad place and they're making him look dumpier, or is it just because Jon Hamm is aging? Anyway, stoked to see Don D back at Sterling Coops. SC&P, his only true fam. 

In conclusion: what the heck is up with Kenny Cosgrove's poor eye? Does he have no eye? Was his eyeball literally blasted out of his head? Or is it just damaged? Will he ever not wear an eyepatch again? Will he have a glass eye when he takes his eyepatch off? Please address this extremely pressing issue, Mad Men Season 7. Signed, Laura Jane. 

LIZ: This is my least favorite episode so far this season. Mostly I wanted to go back to the last episode and sit with Sally and Don in that diner for another hour, and talk more about the truth and being so many people. I also resent "Field Trip" for increasing my disappointment with Peggy Olson's lack of imagination in reacting to bullshit behavior, since disappointed-in-Peggy-Olson is an emotion with which I am intensely uncomfortable. But the use of "If 6 Was 9" in the "Field Trip" end credits was really hot, and it's Mad Men so of course it's automatically better than almost anything. Here are some moments I found to be of value:

-I liked when Don went to see Roger and asked him, "How do you sleep?" Basically the only other man who's ever asked that question of someone with whom he's engaged in a fractious yet charmed friendship is John Lennon, so I appreciated the reference.
        The other best Don moment is when he's alone in Megan's house and going through her liquor and picks up the Kahlúa bottle and makes that judgy-about-Kahlúa face: I just think it's cool that he's so over Megan and her lame lifestyle choices, he has to throw shade at a bottle of Kahlúa when there's not even anyone around to see it.

-I was also happy to see Francine again! What a hot ticket. And I love Betty's blue nightgown of faux-contemplation. Scrubbed-clean-of-makeup and sad-faced is a beautiful look for Betty - like, the one where her dad dies and it's nighttime and she's sitting at the kitchen table with Don and her gross brother, and she's eating a peach from the bag of peaches that was left in the car all day, and her hands are all peach-juice-messy and she really looks like she's been crying forever? Stunning.

-But the best "Field Trip" look belongs to Joan, in her rose-covered dress and big black boots. I'm tempted to call it "business-kinderwhore," but it's so much more than that. Also I'm sad that Joan and Don's sexy bromance appears to be done like dinner, but being careless about Joanie/Jaguar is maybe the one thing I'll hold against Don Draper forever.

-This episode really drove home how much I miss the old Bobby Draper, the pointy yet soulful-eyed one in between the current Bobby Draper and the one who says "We need to get you a new daddy" after Don talks about how his father's dead and loved ham. The new kid's too perfectly round-faced, and also kind of a hack, and this is definitely the least I've ever cared about someone wearing high-top Converse and a red baseball jacket and holding a baggie full of gumdrops. (Sorry, "Mason Vale Cotton"; I know I'm being superbitchy.) 

-I love Dawn. I love how she loves Don and is sort of under his thumb, but also totally takes care of her own shit. Also really cuted out by the porcelain cat statues on her desk, especially the one to the left by the pink flowers, who looks like it's saying hey:

The other "Field Trip" thing I'm going to complain about is how we finally got to see Betty, but then there was no Sally or Ted or Pete. I mean I know that casting budgets exist or whatever, but why can't we have Betty and Sally and Pete and Ted all in the same goddamn episode? And speaking of Pete and Ted, I really need to point out how, in episode two, during the telecon that made Pete wonder if he's dead, I deeply enjoyed how Ted's calmly fiddling with some small flat object I can't identify while Pete's being his usual beautiful apoplectic self. I just thought Ted Chaough looked really cool in that moment. I like it when men are caught up in their own little worlds.

Anyway, here's the Anthology version of "How Does Roger Sterling Sleep":

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