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Davis ThinkingDavis Thinking } analysis and interpretation

Attention Deficit Theatre: “Mad Men,” Season Two, Episode 13

J. Kristin Ament
Friday, October 31, 2008

The Unbound Edition Players now present “A Musical Salute to the Uterus,” their interpretation of the season finale, “Meditations in an Emergency.” (curtain up)

Scene: Examination room of a doctor’s office. Betty looks at a counted cross stitch of a doe and fawn while she waits.

Doctor: Woo boy, it’s cold in here. Hey, speaking of frigid things, your loins must have defrosted from all that horseback riding. You’re knocked up!

Betty: Oh come on, Weiner! We did that one already. Besides, I had sex one time in ten episodes. Jamie Lynn Spears isn’t this fertile.

Weiner: Sorry, you’re not talented enough to pull off cancer. Preggers it is. Plus it gives me a chance to slip a subtle Roe vs Wade message in a week before the election.

Doctor: Quiet, both of you. It’s not good for the baby.

Betty: Fine, I’ll do it. You owe me big, Weiner.

Weiner: Heh. Just you wait, my dear. It’s coming.

Scene: Sterling Cooper. Peggy walks into Pete’s office as he eats a sandwich.

Pete: Hiya. I’m waiting on a call from North American Aviation. They loved my swim trunks.

Peggy: Management is getting all of our accounting numbers together for some reason. Have you told anyone that Clearasil canned us yet?

Pete: Oh. Must have slipped my mind. What do I tell Duck? That my father-in-law pulled out?

Peggy: I’d phrase it differently, but yes, tell the truth. People respect that.

Pete: You’re right Peggy. I shall embrace the truth the rest of this episode. What could possibly go wrong?

Scene: The stables. Betty dismounts her horse.

Don: Hidey.

Betty: How long have you been here?

Don: By the look of me, I’ve been sleeping in the stables for a week. Seriously, I’m like the Crypt Keeper over here. Did the makeup department go on strike?

Betty: No really, where have you been?

Don: I was hosting Saturday Night Live. But I’d rather not talk about that.

Betty: I can understand why. The Jon Hamm’s John Ham bit was okay, but who wrote the “Mad Men” one? Chauncey? I think Coldplay performed their whole album to distract from the hideous sketches.

Don: Listen, I feel terrible about what I’ve done.

Betty: Don’t sweat it. The best actors are only as good as the writing. Ask Trudy.

Don: No, I’m talking about our marriage. I admit it. I haven’t, uh, respected you.

Betty: So I’m not crazy. I haven’t respected me either.

Scene: Duck’s office. Pete comes in and sits down.

Pete: Duck, my father-in-law is pulling out.

Duck: I’d phrase that differently, but that’s not important right now. Putnam Powell and Lowe is taking us over, and Clearasil’s a conflict.

Pete: Does Don know?

Duck: Don is my bitch, now. I’ll soon be president. Leveraging your father’s death to impress the American Airlines account showed real character. How’d you like to be head of accounts?

Pete: A thing like that? Hell’s bells! But what will Don say?

Duck: He’ll either get in line or get out. Yay, non-compete clauses in contracts!

Scene: The next day. Don and his wet raincoat stroll back into Sterling Cooper as everyone gawks.

Joan: Why, you’re a sight for sore eyes.

(Peggy springs out of the office next to him)

Peggy: Don! How was California?

Don: Joyous. Do I work for you now?

Peggy: I landed the Popsicle account, and Roger gave me Freddy’s office. When do they invent Febreze? And caller ID? Chauncey keeps drunk dialing my extension.

Don: What else did I miss?

Joan: Not much. My fiancee’s a rapist.

Kenny: And Kurt’s a homo.

Scene: Later in Roger’s office. Don walks in and sits down.

Roger: I hope you were looking for a job in California.

Don: Actually, I was buying souvenirs for the kids. Where’s Jane? I brought her a lollipop and a teddy bear.

Roger: Shut it. We sold the company to Putnam Powell and Lowe. They’re coming here on Friday to measure for curtains.

Don: How much do I get?

Roger: You’ll clear more than half a million.

Don: Joy cometh in the morning! Damn, I'll miss that. I totally picked the wrong time to be an upstanding husband.

Scene: Don’s hotel. Betty drops the kids off for the night.

Don: Look at me being the involved parent! Let’s go see a movie and eat Chinese food. Wanna join us, Betts?

Sally: Mommy doesn’t like to eat. So I eat all of her food. Win-win.

Betty: No, I’m going to go get off.

Don: Wha?

Betty: My feet. I’m going to go get off my feet. Bring the kids back tomorrow.

Betty’s Fetus: Woo-hoo! A break from the endless smoking and drinking!

Scene: Downtown bar. Betty comes in and sits down.

Bartender: How can I help you?

Betty: I’ll have a glass of water...

Betty’s Fetus: ahhhhh....

Betty: ...with a gimlet chaser. And this cigarette.

Betty’s Fetus: Gah!

Bartender: That impossibly hot and available guy down there is taking care of your drink. He’s going to come over here and seduce you now.

Guy: Hello beautiful. Isn’t the threat of nuclear annihilation romantic? I hear the coat room by the crapper is the place to be tonight.

Scene: Later that night. Betty gets up and stumbles through the bar and waits outside the ladies room.

Guy: What are you doing here?

Betty: I’m, uh, waiting.

Betty and Guy: Mwah. Mwah.

Betty: I’m married. Let’s wait together. On this couch. Back in this shadowy sitting room.

Betty’s Fetus: Ahh... yes... finally some rest... precious, precious rest.

Betty’s garter: snap!

Betty’s Fetus: Whaaaa? Oh lord! Incoming! Incoming!

Leather Couch: Squeak. Squeak.

Scene: Somewhere in the church. Peggy runs into Father Gill.

Father Gill: How’s it going?

Peggy: Oh, I dunno. This whole nuclear war thing is kind of a downer.

Father Gill: Sometimes, I feel He called me to this parish to reach you.

Peggy: Thorn Birds!

Father Gill: You really should confess your sins.

Peggy: Oh yes, father. And then I’ll perform an act of contrition!

Father Gill:  Er, yes. Listen Peggy, hell sucks. There aren’t ever any danishes on the snack cart. There are no batteries for Slenderizers. Every guy is gay, but no one can do a thing with your hair.

Peggy: I can’t believe God would be so cruel.

Scene: The Campbell apartment. Trudy is packing up to flee to her parents’ house before nuclear winter sets in.

Trudy: I’m taking the silver. There could be looting.

Pete: You’re an idiot.

Trudy: If you loved me, you’d want to be with me and my shriveled ovaries.

Pete: You’re right, Lovely. I’ll help you pack.

Scene: The next day at Sterling Cooper. Pete comes into Don’s office.

Pete: I’m coming to you anonymously.

Don: And yet, there you are. Fool.

Pete: I know about the merger. And I know Duck will be president.

Don: Why are you telling me this?

Pete: Honesty, Don. I’m a big fan of the truth, now. And I thought, if I was you, I’d like to know. Plus, Weiner needs the build up for the meeting with the Brits. Win-win-win.

Scene: The Draper house. Betty comes home and finds a letter from Don.

Don’s Letter: Dear Betty, I’m sitting here watching the back of the kids’ heads as they watch t.v. Wow, does Sally have a gargantuan cranium. I can’t see over the damn thing. It’s like a watermelon on her neck. And she ate all of my french fries.

P.S. Who is this boy here? For some reason he hasn’t had a line in a dozen episodes. Was his tongue paralyzed after the hot griddle incident? Is Weiner lowering his profile for the rest of this season, hoping to swap him out in season three with another Weiner-kind?

P.P.S. Can I come home yet? Love, Don.

Scene: Sterling Cooper Conference Room. The gents from Putnam Powell and Lowe are there to take over.

Saint John Smith: Now that we’re married, we’d like to poke around your undercarriage.

Don: That’ll cost you more than half a million.I am a fine example of marital loyalty now.

Cooper: So who’s in charge around here when you prance off to London to sip tea, nibble scones and watch X-Factor?

Saint John Smith: Because he knows both companies, loves animals, drinks responsibly, and thoroughly reviewed every detail of this merger in advance, including key personnel and their contracts, Duck Phillips has been named president.

Duck: Me? Really? Golly. I accept.

Saint John Smith: It’s your meeting now, Duck.

Duck: Why, I’m just so entirely unprepared. Not expecting this at all. I don’t know where to start, since this is so spontaneous. Wait, how did these index cards with detailed notes on my ideas for the future of this firm get in my pocket? Oh, bad news for you, Don. It’s all about t.v. now. There’s no need for us to be tied to creative’s fantasies about persuasion.

Don: You’re the man, Duck. Now if you gentlemen will excuse me, there’s a French film festival at the cineplex.

Duck: Here comes the big moment I practiced in front of the men’s room mirror all morning. (Clears throat.) Don, you can either honor your contract or walk out that door and sell insurance. I totally own you now because of your contract. Ha! That’s right, Contract Holding Guy. You and your contract are putty in my hands! Contract!

Don: I don’t have a contract.

Duck’s pants: Fill.

Duck: Ha! Good one, Don. I’m on “Grin and Barrett,” right? Come on out here Jimmy, you old dog, you!

Roger: Don’s telling the truth.

Don: If we’re all still around Monday, we can haggle over the price of my undercarriage. For now, I leave you with my wafting integrity. Bon soir.

Scene: Later that day in the office. Pete is drinking and smiles at Peggy.

Peggy: Why are you smiling?

Pete: You’re still here. Here, sit on my couch and have a drink with me.

Pete’s Couch Cushion: Wait! Wait! I still haven’t been Scotchguarded!

Peggy: What do you want to talk about?

Pete: The truth. Who would care if was eaten alive by a crazed bear or died in a shotgun mishap? You. You know me and I know you. And I think you’re perfect. Except for the bangs, but I’m told there’s an awkward “growing out” phase.

Peggy: I’m not perfect, Pete.

Pete: Yes you are. I love you and want to be with you. We’ve had such good times together. Remember when we stole all of Salvatore’s Judy Garland albums and he spent the entire week in a fetal position?

Peggy: Yeah, that was a laugh riot.

Pete: Or how about when we got Joan that rape whistle for a gag gift at her wedding shower, because that’s like the last thing a modern woman with a great fiance like her needs, and she thought it was so hysterical she ran out of the room in tears?

Peggy: Oh yes. That was awesome. Hey, how about that time I gained 200 pounds, faked TB, had your love child and gave it away?

Pete: Right! Another classic. Wait, what’s that?

Scene: That night at the Draper kitchen. Don has come home.

Betty: I have to talk to you. But first, allow me to drag it out with a dramatic pause.

Don: Now?

Betty: Not yet. Just be quiet while I milk this scene for all it’s worth.

Don: I’d better sit down.

Betty: Okay. I have something to tell you.

Don: Yes, you mentioned that.

Betty: I’m. Pregnant.

Don: Seriously? Damn that Weiner!

(curtain down)

Alrighty then. I had spent the last week hoping that we wouldn’t go the totally obvious, shark jumping route and have Betty end up preggers. Come on. Last season’s big finale “a-ha!” was Peggy being knocked up by Pete. Hello, one trick pony. But I did really like that scene here with Peggy and Pete on the couch as she calmly unloaded the news on him under the explanation of “I wanted other things.” The scene a bit later on with Pete sitting alone in office, shotgun in hand, was classic. But other than that, meh. The finale was kind of a letdown for me. Not that I expected a surprise around every corner or some fully surreal developments, like the Log Lady from “Twin Peaks” coming round to wave a howdy, but some sort of climax, other than the one Betty got on the leather couch, would have been welcome.  Yawn.

What did you think of this episode and Season Two as a whole? So now we sit for nine months and wonder how far into the future we’ll start Season Three. Assuming we have one, considering the Weiner-bashing antics of Lionsgate this week. Is $10 million that ridiculous in Hollywood these days?


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