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Monday, April 2, 2012

Mad Men - Tea Leaves

What Happened - Betty has gained some weight. It’s noticeable, and it’s supposed to be. She sits around the house in robes and housedresses, and Henry’s mother stops by and tells her to lose weight. Betty goes to get diet pills, and the doctor finds a node on her thyroid. Betty calls Don, panicking.

She goes to see a specialist and sees a friend who has terminal cancer. This, a fortune teller, and a creepy dream freak Betty out. The node is benign, but the episode ends with Betty stress eating. Don calls to check on Betty, Henry answers and tells Don that Betty is fine, and Henry does not tell Betty that Don called.

At work, Don has a new black secretary, Dawn. The Heinz client wants the Rolling Stones to be in his commercial and sing a jingle. Harry and Don go to see the band’s manager, but Harry messes everything up. Don expresses concern for a young girl at the concert. She steals his tie.

Pete gives Mohawk to Roger, but then takes all the credit. Roger is ready to resign, but Don tells Roger that Betty has cancer. This sobers Roger up, and he lets things go…for now. Peggy is tasked with hiring someone. The young man she hires is clearly and stereotypically Jewish, too genuine, fun, zany, and always says the most awkward things. Fortunately, he is talented, creative, and stuffed with provocative ad ideas.

Comments - While last week was all about Megan, this one was all about Betty. AND BETTY GOT FAT. One of us doesn’t hate Betty and has always been annoyed on her behalf because of all Don’s cheating. Yeah, Betty couldn’t handle Richard Whitman. But maybe Richard would have been worth handling if Don had been a good and worthy man in the first place. Just that blogger’s two cents… We know everyone else hates Betty, and this is a great gift to people who have been waiting to see her get cut down to size. One of us doesn’t hate Betty, but everyone else must be thrilled.

It’s mean and chicken that Henry didn’t tell Betty that Don called. We like that the show is doing something new with Betty’s character. It must be her greatest fear to lose her looks. January Jones did not gain all that weight. It’s half that she is pregnant and half that the show used makeup and a fat suit. They made Peggy fat in season one and now they’ve applied their makeup skills to Betty. All that said, Betty is still really pretty. We don’t know how offended we are that the show has bought into the weight gain = failure philosophy of our culture, but if it takes Betty somewhere interesting, we will forgive it. 

One thing we won't forgive is the swipe at Mitt Romney's dad. One line referred to George Romney as "a clown." We aren't attached to George Romney or anything, but it's annoying when shows smugly slip in their writers' political preferences into entertainment. 

They hired a black secretary! Yay! Good job, firm. Of course, Dawn/Don is already confusing everyone. We liked that Don said, “She was the most qualified” and left it at that. We were happy to see the cute daughter from Lie to Me getting work as the Rolling Stones groupie. We think she has magnetism. We also liked seeing the older, concerned version of Don continuing. He’s turning into our grandparents and we love it. After all, our grandparents lived in that world.

We also kind of like the new guy. Most of the characters on this show need to lighten up. Adding Megan was a breath of fresh air. The era is starting to liven up, and we don’t know if professional Don will be comfortable in the changing world this season. Bringing the new guy, Megan, and the Rolling Stones to the show works for us. Overall though, this episode bored us a little. We guess it was a little funny. Mad Men is always stylish and packed with commentary, but it’s only rarely gripping. When it is, it knocks our socks off.

Episode grade: B-

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