Roman Holiday: MAD MEN Episode 8

Enchantee, Mrs. Draper.
Enchantee, Mrs. Draper.

Episode 308, “Souvenir” Air Date: 10/4/09

Just a short little “Mad Men” talk-up, lest you think that I’ve abandoned the Binge.

This week’s episode happened almost entirely outside of the office, other than the first scene, which established that many of the leads were “out of town” (Sterling, Cooper, etc). Also, Pete’s wife Trudy was out of town, but until she got back I thought that she had left him. Oops.

Betty and her Junior Leagers of Tarrytown (even though I thought Tarrytown was far away, and the Drapers live in Ossining?) go to a City Council meeting re: the Pleasantville Dam blah blah. The women at the meeting use their husbands’ names, as in, “I’m Mrs. Davy Joneslocker.” Eek. Sexism at work.

When Henry Francis gets there (just in the nick of time!), he uses his Man Card to swipe in and speak on behalf of the ladies. And… he says something about maybe the water is drinkable, and the project is halted, and everyone is Saved! For now.

After the meeting, Henry Francis leans into Grandpa Gene’s Good Luck Cadillac and kisses Betty. (Need a father figure much, Betty?)

MILF Alert!
MILF Alert!

Pete is lost without a woman in his life. He doesn’t even seem to know how to remove his shirt. The moment he enters his apartment, he pulls it off over his head. But it’s a button-up shirt, with cuffs and all. Haha Pete, you are a funny guy. But you aren’t trying to be funny. 😦

Pete meets a German au pair in his building’s hallway. She borrowed her boss’ dress and spilled wine on it. Now she’s trying to throw the dress down the trash chute, but it’s stuck. (Apparently, she’s unlucky at EVERYTHING.) (Just wait.) The dress has a tag that says “Bonwit Teller.” My very helpful mother, who lived through the 1960s and hails from NY area, informed me that Bonwit Teller was a very upscale department store.

Pete goes to said department store, and asks to speak to the manager. Turns out… the manager is Joan! She claims that she’s just helping out temporarily. I’m kind of impressed that she was hired straight into a manager position. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got Queen of all Secretaries on your resume.

Joan’s wearing a lovely purple dress. As usual, the dress seems to be very expensive, and also fits her dimensions perfectly. Sigh.

Return to us, Joan.
Return to us, Joan.

Also, we see Hermes again, in a display in the background, with a big HERMES sign over it. They must have some sort of product placement deal with the “Mad Men” peeps.

Joan tells Pete that Dr. Greg is thinking about changing his specialty to psychiatry. Ha. No cutting necessary, which is good because Dr. Greg ain’t got no brains in his fingers.

Pete tells Joan that he would appreciate her discretion about the matter. (Because he said that it’s Trudi’s dress, but it’s not… because she’s not a size 10. Also: that dress does not look like a 10. Sizes have changed!) Joan’s like, Duh, I worked at Sterling Cooper. I know the drill.

Okay, now that Pete knows that Joan is working at the department store… how long until she’s back in the Sterling Cooper universe? I miss her!

Don and Betty go to Rome for Conrad Hilton. The lobby of the hotel in Rome is actually the lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which was the home of the Oscars back when I was a young kiddo. I recognized it because I once worked there (sort of) for about two days (sort of). Long enough to get a grand tour and find out that the gold dome thing in the lobby is crazy echo-y, if you talk whilst standing beneath it.

And the outdoor cafe/fountain was… you guessed it… the exterior of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (aka the Music Center). If you’ve ever been to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Disney Concert Hall, the Mark Taper Forum, or the Ahmanson Theater, you’ll probably recognize this:

Hey, it's Rome. (Not.)
Hey, it's Rome. (Not.)

So… Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this Rome stuff might have been shot in a day. Nice work, locations. Because nobody knows what that hotel in Rome looks like, anyway. (And my dad once called that Music Center fountain an upside-down uterus, or something like that.)

(When and why was he there? At the end of my freshman year of college, my parents drove me all the way from OC to the Ahmanson in rush hour traffic to see Matthew Bourne’s “Play Without Words,” because my car was in the shop and I was nursing my psychological wounds at home. And my parents sat outside the whole time and did crossword puzzles, and little did they know that they were in what would someday be fake-Rome on TV.) (Romantic.) (My parents are awesome.)

Who knew? Betty speaks Italian… and gets a crazy twirly beehive, which contains more hair than she seems to possess (the magic of TV!). Don pretends he’s not Betty’s husband, and picks her up in front of some Italians. They call Don old and ugly. Ha.

The MILF of Rome.
MILF Alert!

(PS In that photo, what is up with the guy on the Vespa? I think he’s a crew member, because he doesn’t look period at all.)

Don has an “affair” with Betty, who looks amazing considering that she just had a kid… and at the very end of the scene, we get to hear a European ambulance. I love those. WEE ooh WEE ooh.

It’s crazy that if Betty wasn’t here, he’d probably be doing this with some other girl. It’s also… probably the most romantic scene yet between Don & Betty. There’s all sorts of strange subtext.

Sally tries to kiss the neighbor boy (Ernie), while Bobby watches like the young voyeur he is. But he can’t keep his mouth shut, and when Sally sees him, she pummels him. These kids are going to turn out FINE. (Or not.)

Peter brings the au pair the replacement BT dress, and wants to hang out, but the au pair has a boyfriend. He gets drunk and goes back to the au pair, basically demands to see the dress on her… uh oh, he’s being rapey. We only see kissing, but… yeah.

Don and Betty wake up in Rome, and it’s almost time to go home. But Rome was so invigorating!

Don: I like sleeping on this side of the bed.

They are so cute and randy on vacation. When I was in Rome, I stayed on a small cot in a tent at a hostel that was a dirty bus ride away from the actually city of Rome. And I shared that tent with another girl. And it was not romantic. In fact, the most action I got in Rome was when a pickpocket stuck his hand into the pocket of my convertible short-pants on the aforementioned dirty bus, and I glared at him and said, “NO.”

Don’t get me wrong, the hostel was cool, in a backpacking way. But it was no Hilton hotel.

(PS GASP! Remember how Grandpa Gene and Sally were reading that Roman Empire book? Everything’s coming up ROME!)

So the Drapers get home and share furtive we-had-a-good-time-on-our-sex-getaway looks, and Carla (the Draper’s maid/replacement mom) tells Betty about Sally’s temper.

Pete lives in 14G. Ed Lawrence of 14C, aka the au pair’s boss, comes to Pete and is uber-annoyed, because the au pair is crying, and do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good au pair? He’s not mad at Pete for sleeping with the au pair so much as he’s mad that Pete had to sleep with HIS au pair. Okay, I’m sick of saying “au pair.”

Okay, I LOVE Betty’s dress the next day, when she makes Sally apologize for beating poor Bobby.

Behold, the 1960s.
Behold, the 1960s.

Betty regards her fainting couch, and maybe realizes that it was a terrible decorating choice? But it’s a symbol! (And remember, Henry Francis told her to buy it.) Betty sits Sally down and says a few words of motherly wisdom, including, “I don’t want you running around just kissing boys,” and, “You don’t kiss boys, they kiss you.”

Sally laments that her first kiss has already passed her by.

Betty: You are going to have a lot of first kisses. You are going to want it to be special, so you remember. That’s where you go from being a stranger to knowing someone. And every kiss with them after that is a shadow of that kiss.

Aww. And: So much subtext.

Trudy comes back to the apartment from wherever she was, and meets the au pair in the elevator. Peter won’t have day-sex with Trudy because he supposedly doesn’t want to mess up his suit right before work. Trudy thinks it has to do with her inability to have babies, and Pete makes an I-did-a-bad-thing face and cries, and Trudy walks out. Uh oh.

So, to recap… Pete needs a mother figure and happens to have a wife who is unable to be a mother, and he turns to an (inept, it seems) au pair, who is essentially a replacement mother for hire? Oh brother, mommy and daddy issues abound this week.

But then Pete comes home to Trudy for dinner, and things are chilly yet okay. Pete cuts off Trudy’s long, prepared speech about fruits and vegetables, which makes me a little bit sad, because… fruit salad! My favorite topic.

Pete: I don’t want you to go away anymore without me.

Trudy: (long pause) Good. I won’t.

Betty has also made a decision. She tells her friend that she’s done with going to Henry for help. (Aka, she’s done kissing Henry in Gene’s car… but I have my doubts.)

Even though Don tries sleeping on the Rome side of the bed, and jumps to light Betty’s cigarette like the Roman men did, Betty decides that she hates this place, and their friends. Don bought her a charm in Rome, for her bracelet, and even that nice gesture makes Betty go, UGH.

Going to Rome just made her realize what a desperate housewife she is, and now she is back to being an ice queen. Meanwhile, Don has been trying to be a good man. He plays outside with the kids! He’s trying to make every day a little bit vacation-y. But… Betty hates the suburbs.

She’s so REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and she doesn’t even know it.

And I think she’s probably going to sleep with Henry Francis, after all, because… I think Betty feels dead, in Ossining, with kids, etc. She liked playing a young Italian coquette. Methinks she wants to be a little girl again. Daddy issues galore!

That’s all there is. There isn’t any more.

Until next week.


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2 thoughts on “Roman Holiday: MAD MEN Episode 8

  1. We loved Betty’s dress, too. Betty looked like an ENTIRELY different person with her hair up in that beehive. It was surreal, somehow she had a whole different profile, especially her chin. We also commented that her hair would never be half long enough to create all that.
    Betty is so ice cold to her kids. She seriously needs parenting lessons or something. Bonwit Teller was right next to Bloomingdales in the Short Hills (NJ) mall. There was also a huge store in Manhattan.

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