Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "The Strategy"


LJ: I’m sort of bummed that I’ve committed myself to Our Weekly Mad Men Column because I have so little to say about this week’s episode (me not breaking 1000 words is equivalent to your average writer writing like 20). It was easily one of my least favorite Mad Men episodes of all time, and definitely my least favorite Mad Men episode that didn’t have Duck in it. I have almost nothing to say about any plotline except Don and Peggy’s: Megan’s brief appearance was so boring that I can’t even remember anything about it, except for that her hair looked significantly thinner than usual and a bit like an actual rat’s tail during the scene when she surprised Don at the office. I guess it was sort of sweet how Megan and Peggy hugged hello, in that way you do when someone you used to work with stops by your work. As far as work goes, it’s semi-on the exciting side.

Speaking of things I have nothing to say about, I have nothing to say about anything Pete Campbell did besides eat at BurgerChef with Peggy and Don, which of course was heartwarming. I am finding it difficult to warm up to Bonnie- I want to like her, since she’s an Alpha female and Alpha females are my second favorite faction of human being after <3 Beta males <3 but her clothes are so gauche and who cares if your toes are grubby and, strangely, I found it almost offensively crass when she told Pete not to try and “fuck [his] way out of [whatever].” Another thing I have nothing to say about is everything that happened while Pete was in Cos Cob except Cos Cob is a weird name for a town and that dessert he shoved his beer bottle into looked really yummy and I wish I was eating a slice of it.

The last Mad Men storyline I have nothing to say about is Bob Benson’s. I’m also pretty indifferent about Sterling Coops losing Chevy. Like, really, Matthew Weiner? Is that the best you could come up with? “We’ll make Ginsberg cut off his nipple, and then they’ll lose Chevy.” Those are the only things that have happened on Mad Men this season. Remember when things used to happen on Mad Men? When people had affairs and did drugs and killed themselves and found out about Don Draper’s secret identity? Now it’s like, “Bob Benson proposed to Joan and Joan said no.” Nope. Not good enough. Don’t get me wrong- I love how Mad Men is subtle and nuanced and character-driven as much as the next guy, but it’s still a freaking TV show. You can’t just make “One character suggests that another character gives a presentation that a third character was initially supposed to deliver” the most scandalous aspect of an episode and expect people not to be bored by that. I feel like part of the issue is that Mad Men is just too subtle and nuanced and character-driven to stand up to the mini-season format. I’d probably resent this episode way less if I had eight more to look forward to. Instead I’m just having anxiety about whether or not the finale is going to blow my mind or just blow.

In conclusion, the “Peggy and Don at the office on a Sunday” bit was clearly golden, but I am bummed that Don and Peggy didn’t kiss. I really thought they were going to kiss! For one second during “My Way,” I felt my heart fall into my stomach like I was on a rollercoaster because I was that convinced that they were about to kiss. And then Don sort of kissed the top of Peggy’s head, I was unimpressed by it, and the scene was over. What bullshit. I’m sorry, I get that Mad Men is too cool to make Don and Peggy kiss, like it would sully the complexity of their relationship or whatever, but I really think that in real life they would kiss! They already would have kissed! They would have kissed in 1965! I’m sorry, but I have kissed so many people I like a whole lot less than Don likes Peggy. And I've definitely kissed the hell out of every person I ever liked as much as Peggy likes Don. That’s what people do. They kiss people they have complicated relationships with. Just to see, you know? Plus, they’re always drunk! Can you imagine slow-dancing alone in an empty office with someone who you felt as intensely weird about as Don and Peggy feel about each other? And then, on top of it, you’d had like seven drinks? What would you do? And I hate how they try to play it like, “They don’t kiss because they respect each other.” In what crazy world do you not want to kiss the people you respect? Kissing people you respect is pretty much the best thing about being alive.

In actual conclusion, I thought it was really gross when Peggy said “break bread.” I’d like to eradicate that phrasing from the English language. Lastly, since I’m not a soulless monster, when my best friends in the world Peggy and Don and Pete all chilled and ate at BurgerChef, my heart swelled up with love. After watching that episode, I went out and got absurdly fucked up with a bunch of my ex-co-workers, and at some point between my fifth beer and first Sex on the Beach, I got it. I don't think the point is that Peggy and Pete are Don's family- your co-workers are never the people you love most. The point is they're the people that know you.

LIZ: I need to start off by saying that this is one of the best looks a man could ever rock. Beard, banana, plaid button-down unbuttoned to reveal sizable beer belly, paint-splattered jeans, total lack of necklaces. Boom. That's all I want from men now on. 

Speaking of looks, I loved all the ladies in their blue dresses:

And it was good to see Trudy again. I want her to form some sort of pseudo-ironic, post-girl-group era, Shangri-Las esque band and then name their first album Debutante Maneuvers. I agree with LJ about wanting to eat the yummy-looking cake. 

The last fashion thing I want to mention is I loved Don's groovy towel, and I'm also into Megan's denim-on-denim move:

Poor Bob Benson. "My face doesn't please you?" I wish I'd said that to every dude who's ever rejected me in any way. Also, loved this:

Great! I'm in. I like the way you think, Bob Benson, except when you're suggesting that no one will ever love Joan Holloway and that probably her best option is to abandon her lifelong dreams in favor of a sexless/romance-less marriage in your stupid imaginary Detroit mansion. Then I'm like, "Go back to the part about the pancakes and the sundae." Good grief.

Awww, Peggy Olson: such a cute lil smoker. Last week for our Mad Men column I wrote up this big thing about how I was dying for a "Suitcase"-style Don/Peggy together-sesh, how I missed Don/Peggy alone-time way hard and couldn't deal with their being so not into each other, but then I deleted it because it was whiny and I find whininess unbecoming. And I know there's that whole idea that Mad Men never "gives us what we want," but the Don and Peggy stuff in this episode was everything I wanted and more. When Don told her, "I worry about a lot of things, but I don't worry about you," it melted me. Also appreciated this:

And then when we went to BurgerChef, I got all Pete Campbell and asked myself, "Did I die?" - except not in a Pete Campbell way, because it was more like "Am I in Heaven? This is Heaven, right?" Heaven is Don and Pete and Peggy and burgers and fries and sodas, Don smoking while he eats, Pete getting food on his face and Don and Peggy being cuted out by it, Pete teasing Peggy by addressing her as "Hemingway," everybody being in kind of a fucked up place in life but totally chill about it for a little while. It's that "easy knowledge" thing again. The last five lines of "Freak Scene" by Dinosaur Jr. cornily remain my most beloved thing about Mad Men.


  1. Oh my god, I absolutely looooooooved this episode!
    I mean the burger chef scene? so so so corny, I almost cried!
    Of course Don was never gonna kiss Peggy because they are friends!
    It's like this:
    Don's personal life is fucked up: Megan fucking packed all of her stuff! like she even took de fondue set, come on, she is so leaving him, and he so knows it, because he so deserves it.
    Pete's personal life is fucked up, his debutant wife —who he maybe never loved but still wanted to be loved by— is dating somebody else, while he is dating a tacky barbie woman who to his chagrin maybe knoes more about the world than he does (he didn't like the "fuck your way of this" but either).
    Peggy's personal life is, well, nonexistent.
    But they kind of have each other, not really "have each other", because except form Peggy I don't think any of these people would "be there" for any of the others, but like LJ said they know each other, they are the original team, they've bee through so much together, shit Pete has known for such a long time who Don actually is, and fuck me! Peggy and Pete had child, and Don is probably the only other person ate the agency that knows Peggy had a baby... Sometimes being known by somebody mean so fukcing much when you are lonely.

    And also, Peggy has never looked better in the whole seven seasons.

    1. i wish more people would leave us comments like this! does don know that pete was peggy's baby-daddy? i forget.

    2. He doesn't know.


  2. The comment on Stan´s "dress code" is cracking me up every time I read it.