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Davis ThinkingDavis Thinking } analysis and interpretation

Attention Deficit Theatre: “Mad Men,” Season Two, Episode Three

J. Kristin Ament
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This week, the Unbound Edition Players take the stage for their interpretation of “The Benefactor.” Just a warning: afterward, you might not want to shake their hands.

(Curtain up)

Scene: The set of a commercial shoot for Utz potato chips.

Jimmy Barrett: Hey. I’m a diva comedian. Probably based on Don Rickles. Kind of a Lenny Bruce meets Quentin Tarantino. Personal insults are hysterical!

Freddy: So are you drunk enough to totally screw up this shoot?

Jimmy: You have no idea. I can barely stand over here.

Freddy: I’m wasted, too. It’s awesome to be a functional alcoholic in the workplace. Yay, 1962!

Hunt Schilling: Howdy. I own the Utz company!

Edith Schilling: I ate the Utz company! Golly, it’s so exciting to see a big star like Jimmy Barrett in person! What could possibly go wrong?

Jimmy: Good god, Missus Klump. Did you eat Hercules? The “Yo mama’s so fat” oeuvre won’t be around for two decades, so I’ll crack a Hindenburg joke.

Hunt: What an ass.

Jimmy: Exactly!

Scene: At a riding stable. Betty and a friend are mounted.

Sara Beth: I’m rich. Oooh, look at Arthur over there.

Betty: Not my type. If only he drove a tow truck. Or sold air conditioners. Or had “Kenmore” tattooed on his butt…

Arthur: Hello, ladies. This is my fiancée, Tara. You’ll note that I pronounced that as Tah-ra. That’s so you know she’s rich, and I’m the stereotypical character who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and then weaseled my way into the lives of you fancy people. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see “Six Degrees of Separation” in 31 years. Ask me to say “bottle.”

Tah-ra: Ta.

Sara Beth: Sigh. I dreamt about him. You’ll have him all to yourself on Saturday. My morbidly obese daughter has to sausage herself into a leotard for ballet.

Betty: Mmmmm… sausage. Sorry, it’s been a while.

Scene: Harry’s office at Sterling Cooper

Todd: Here’s your paycheck.

Harry: Oops. I have Kenny’s here, too.

Todd: Did you say something?

Harry: Nope. Go ahead and shut the door on your way out.

Todd: Hey, this is awkward, but are you still banging that secretary, Hildy? If not, you think I could give her a call?

Harry: Scram. I don’t even know where she is. The credits still list her, but I haven’t seen her around. Go figure.

(Harry tears open Kenny’s check and wigs out. After several lame attempts to replace, then fix the envelope with rubber cement, he calls his wife.)

Harry’s wife: Morning sickness sucks. But aren’t you sweet to check on me?

Harry: Right. I’m actually calling because I’m emasculated. I opened Kenny’s paycheck and he makes $300 a week.

Harry’s wife: What? He’s not married. We have a baby on the way.

Harry: I know. My horn-rimmed glasses and I are really sad. Woe are we.

Harry’s wife: Lord. How did you ever impregnate me, you eunuch? Grow a pair and demand a raise.

Scene: Salvatore’s office. He’s reworking an old Mohawk ad for American Airlines.

Harry: Hey there. Got a #10 envelope with a window pane?

Salvatore: Why yes, right here in my darling leather clutch. What gives?

Harry: I opened Kenny’s paycheck by mistake. That clown pulls in $300 a week. Before taxes. My wife said I should ask for a raise, but I obviously have the skeletal structure of a squid. Hold me.

Salvatore: You told your wife? Never tell your wife anything. Don’t tell her about your job. Don’t tell her where your work. Don’t even consider telling her about your membership in the Showtune of the Month club. And for the love of God, never tell her about your Barbie collection, or the special box of ruby slippers you store on the top shelf of the closet.

Harry. Um, ok. Can I go now?

Scene: Don’s office. Lois buzzes him on the intercom.

Lois: Mr. Sterling and Ben Cosgrove are here to see you.

Don: That’s Ken Cosgrove. Ken.

Lois: Oh. Sorry, Dan.

Freddy: My pickled liver and I are here, too.

Kenny: Bad times at the Utz shoot today. Jimmy Barrett got all drunk and made a bunch of fat jokes about Edith.

Dan: Did you laugh?

Kenny: Of course not. My mother is a dirigible.

Roger: Freddy got Jimmy drunk.

Don: What? That never should have happened. Certainly not while I snuck off to watch some artsy fartsy French movie during work hours.

Kenny: I came by here with them earlier, but Lois said she didn’t know where you were, but you were out not committing adultery.

Don: Sigh. I’ll explain the facts of life to Jimmy.

Roger: Get on with your bad self, Tootie.

Don: Hey, Lois, can you come in here?

Lois: Yes, Ron?

Don: Gah! OK, close the door.

Lois: Are you firing me?

Don: Yes.

Lois: Is it my voice? Or this awkward face I’m making? Or my trembling lip?

Don: Yes. plus the fact that you're entirely incompetent. And the writers can’t remember why they made you my secretary. Salvatore’s married now, and it doesn’t make sense. Just go back the switchboard.

Scene: The set of the Utz shoot.

Bobbie: Hey, big boy. Buy me a drink?

Don: Where’s Jimmy? I want to talk to him.

Bobbie: I’m his wife and manager. Jimmy hates people like you, all glib and ad man-y.

Don: Where have I seen you before?

Bobbie: I’m in “The Dark Knight.” I’m Batgirl’s mother.

Don: Of course. Can I give you a ride? It’s raining out there. Oh, wait. Suddenly it’s hailing. Icy balls banging against the windshield. Uh oh. I feel a metaphor coming on.

(Bobbie moves in on Don)

Don: I don’t want do this.

(Bobbie grabs Don’s undercarriage)

Bobbie: It doesn’t feel that way.

Josh Groban: You raise me up…

Bobbie: What in the hell is he doing here?

Don: Ignore him. Let’s get it on.

Scene: Later at the Draper house. Don comes home.

Sally: Hi, Daddy! Why are you frantically scrubbing your hands and rinsing your mouth out?

Don: Um, I’m exfoliating. And preventing tartar. Soft hands and dental hygiene are a way of life, kids.

Betty: Hey, I picked up your watch. Look, I even got it monogrammed for you. Aren’t we the picture of family normalcy and happiness?

Don: Ha! Thanks, Birdie! Boy, these calluses are tough! And this plaque! It won’t come off! Do we have any Brill-o pads and gasoline?

Scene: Saturday morning at the stables.

Arthur: Did you have a nice ride? (lights up)

Betty: I can’t believe you’re smoking in here. That’s so dangerous for the horses. You’re a bad person.

Arthur: I can’t figure you out. Tah-ra was jealous of you. You’re so beautiful. So different from Tah-ra. She doesn’t need anything.

Betty: I like being around you. Don’t ruin it.

Arthur: You’re so profoundly sad.

Betty: No. It's just...my people are Nordic.

Arthur: That line was so profoundly sad.

Betty: But I'm not sad. I’m grateful. I have such a perfect family life. My husband is so honest and open and faithful. And a machine in the sack. No dysfunction there, nosirree. (Lights up.)

Horses: Cough cough. Wheeze wheeze.

Betty: Quiet, you.

Scene: Monday in the Sterling-Cooper conference room. Harry is screening an abortion-themed episode of “The Defenders” for Belle Jolie for sponsorship consideration.

TV Character: I can’t believe my daughter is the kind of girl to be mixed up in something like this.

Daughter: Hey, am I the same actress who was Princess on “Father Knows Best?” I think so. Oooh, I’m edgy now.

Peggy: Unwanted pregnancy is the theme of this show? I have absolutely nothing to say to that. Because I have no experience with that. Nope, my uterus has never had a tenant. Doodly doo.

Harry: This is perfect for Belle Jolie!

Don: People dig controversy.

Client: Listen, I know how women think, and I can gossip with the best of them, but it’s not right for our company.

Harry: But women will be watching.

Client: So will I. In room 405 at the Plaza. With a spare key behind the hallway sconce. Ahem, Salvatore. Wink. Nudge.

Salvatore: Whoa! Where did the time go?! 5:02? My wife must be worried!

Scene: Roger’s office. Harry sheepishly walks in.

Harry: You wanted to see me?

Roger: You’re Harry Crane? I can’t believe what you did.

Harry: Oh crap. Here come the mail fraud charges.

Roger: Old Man Cooper loved that you took a risk for Belle Jolie.

Harry: Huh? Oh, right! I want to be head of television, and I deserve a raise!

Roger: What do you make?

Harry: $200.

Roger: What do you want?

Harry: $310.

Roger: Oh, ha ha ha ha. Ha. No one here makes that. You can have $225.

Harry’s pebbles: Whee! We just grew back!

Scene: Dinner at French restaurant Lutece. Don has brought Betty along to the “let’s get an apology” dinner with the Barretts and the Schillings.

Betty: I am such a fan.

Jimmy: Thanks. You’re hot.

(Bobbie gets up. Don follows her out.)

Bobbie: You look great.

Don: The window for this apology is closing.

Bobbie: We looked at the contract. Jimmy doesn’t have to apologize at all. I think an apology has to be worth $25,000. And I want it in the paper.

Don: You blackmailing bitch. I’ll show you.

Don’s finger: Yeah, lady. Here I come. Don’s really going to wag me in your face and…um…wait…what the…Ahhhh! Look away. I’m hideous.

Don: Believe me, I will ruin Jimmy. Do as I say.

(Don returns to the table)

Don’s dinner napkin: Bonjour! May I asseest in wiping your hands, Monsieur? Un moment! Sacre Bleu! J’accuse! J’ACCUSE!

Don: Shut your crepehole.

Bobbie: Jimmy has something he’d like to say to you.

Jimmy: I’m an ass. I was out of line.

Edith: I know it’s what you do. I guess I just don’t have the stomach for it.

Jimmy: You’re killing me, lady.

Scene: Don’s car on the drive home

Betty: Sob sob.

Don: What’s wrong?

Betty: I’m just so…happy. We hake a great team. How did you get him to apologize? What did you say to his wife when you both got up from the table?

Don: I just gave her the finger.

(Curtain down)

Well, well. The episode clearly was about marriage and relationships and who really has “hand,” but who knew how far Don would take that metaphor? How did that grab all of you? And I know that some (paging Pencilla) have said that Matthew Weiner has it out for large-boned women, but I’ve never seen an episode of “The Sopranos” (I know, I KNOW), so hopefully she can fill us in on that.

And here’s the preview of next week’s episode, “Three Sundays.” Oh, good. Smarmy Pete is back. And Don’s got all kinds of stress going on with the American Airlines pitch. I'm sorry, did his son actually lay a lip over a hot griddle?


For more "Mad Men" fan-dom, visit our friends over at Basket of Kisses .


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