Tag Archives: journeyman

Mad Men–Season 2, Episode 3: The Benefactor

“I don’t want to do this,” says Don.
“It doesn’t feel that way,” says Bobbie Barrett, with a crotch grab the likes of which we haven’t seen since the beginning of Pretty Woman. (Except that I totally missed it watching it the first time.)

“You’re profoundly sad,” says Arthur.
“No, it’s just that my people are Nordic,” says Betty. (LOLWUT?) And then Arthur tries to kiss her after she says no; he says he always gets what he wants, except one slender gloved hand stops him and it turns out he doesn’t. Betty and Don are really being thrown against each other as characters (not really in conflict). The Season 2 suspense for me at this moment is which side of Betty will prevail when the crisis between them arises (whatever the crisis turns out to be).

Don is ugly in this one. That scene in the restaurant, where he groped/penetrated her… This is some game. She sexed him up first, and probably thought she was in a position of power, but he showed her. Of course, I didn’t really like the actress when she was on Journeyman, so I can’t shake this tiny buried feeling that she had it coming and that the bitch probably even liked it. You know, because she met her match and he tamed the shrew. (I don’t think she’s actually a bitch on this show–those are just malicious, soap opera-inspired cliched thoughts.) She’s the predecessor to Joan and then Peggy; it is interesting to see three “generations” of women “making it” (or not) in a man’s world. That Bobbie Barrett uses an ambiguous first name is not a coincidence; it got her into business meetings to which no one would have invited Roberta. Her telephone conversation with Don seems like a racy, “let’s have an affair” affair, but I think sleeping with Don really was part of her work day. She really does enjoy relaxing at home when she’s home. Just like Don really doesn’t seem impatient or annoyed when he’s with his kids. It’s irritating to me that he called her, though. Maybe this isn’t a new low–I do tend to forget details of programs–but coming off of firing Lois, even though she probably didn’t belong there, he was just coming off like a Class-A Prick in this episode.

The argument could be made that he’s always been a Class-A Prick. Just compare how he handles Bobbie in the restaurant to how Betty handles Arthur in the stables. Betty says strange things and lashes out when she is in a position of subordination, but she is graceful and assertive from her seat of power when she assumes it, and ends conflicts with panache. (I still love that scene of her with the gun and the pigeons from Season 1.) Don comes off petty and cocky–haha! I said cock!–and not really in charge. Of all the people at that table, Don did the least to make the meeting successful. It wasn’t really even his idea. I mean, yes, it was, but the ugly incident had to be brought to his attention in the first place. He can’t even competently choose an appropriate secretary.

Sorry for all the phallus puns.

TANGENT: I know more than a year has gone by, but once-a-switchboard-operator Lois seemed too inexperienced to ever have been placed at Don’s desk. I know that Peggy was placed there probably in her first job out of secretary school, but she had formal training. If Lois came up through the secretarial pool to Don’s desk, that is telling. Either the company can no longer attract good secretaries or there’s something remarkably awful about working for Don Draper. He is getting spacey and taking great liberties lately–maybe no one else was willing to try. END TANGENT

Sorry. Segueing from Bobbie to Joan. Joan is a younger woman who also may have slept her way to the top, although probably less overtly. Joan isn’t Roger’s secretary, after all. I think she must have worked for Don for a while and then stepped into her current role; he seems important enough to have a secretary skilled enough to take over the department. Of course, Don could have been much lower on the totem pole ten years ago (and Joan’s probably been there more than ten years); maybe she did sleep with Roger when she was his secretary or something and then he put her in charge of the women. But I don’t think so. I think Joan really did like Roger, if only because she was the Chieftress and he was Partner and the only appropriate match. That fling with what’s-his-name bearded guy from last episode (totally blanking, too lazy to check) seemed like a romantic impulse. He certainly hasn’t demonstrated that he was rising like cream and I don’t think that interlude had any professional motives. I’m just going on hunches here.

But from Joan to Peggy! So Peggy is this secretary sleeping with a higher-up, but it is completely independent of her job. When she turned to him, it was for advice on work she was doing–not to ask him for favors. Peggy earned her position as a writer by writing. If she advances, it’s because she’s got talent. I don’t know that the writers were aiming to provide a picture of Woman in Transition, but we’ve got three nice little snapshots of women making it after all. Ten years later, Mary Richards from the Mary Tyler Moore Show is glamorous but not really far-fetched. I think it’s far to say that Joan:Peggy::Peggy:Mary.

Really, though–that was a horrific apology. I have no doubt that Mr. Utz gave Mrs. Utz the equivalent of the speech that Don gave to Betty before that dinner. Everyone was acting fake and going through the motions to save face. The only difference is that Mrs. Utz probably had clothes already on hand. She was resplendent. Analyzing her wearing cream as the innocent victim and Betty wearing pink as the tramp/accomplice is probably taking the scene too far.

The Harry Crane stuff was interesting in a cultural/chronological perspective kind of way. I’m not that interested in his raise for its own sake, but the television show/television division development shows that at least Sterling Cooper has an idea that it is behind the times. I thought the Crane Marriage and the Crane Wife presented an interesting counterpart to the Barretts and the Drapers; Crane Wife seemed like a bossy harpy at first, but she was right: it would have been foolish for Harry to not even try to stick up for himself. I really get the feeling that she’s a partner, not a showpiece, a subterfuge, a client, a mother, or a punching bag. I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s the wife with her own career. That it was an abortion episode was just cultural placement, and the Peggy watching the abortion stuff kind of obvious and kind of whatever. I guess they don’t want us to forget the baby. I found it heavy-handed.

Either that Nordic explanation from Betty means she’s on a completely different plane of existence than everyone else in the show or it refers to some Viking mythology thing that everyone well-bred knew about 45 years ago. Maybe in opera form. Shamefully, what little I know about Norse myths I learned from the etymology of the days of the week, The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and Maelstrom Adventure Cruise, the ride at the Norway Pavilion at Epcot Center that has you chased by trolls and spits you out under a reproduction of an off-shore oil drilling platform.

Profound sadness hasn’t really entered into it for me before now, except when I have thought about just how expensive it is to eat at one of those fondue restaurants and just how bland and disappointing boiled meat is–especially when you have to boil it yourself.

(Paul Kinsey is The Pretentious Bearded One! And I wonder if Ken Cosgrove is making all that money because he’s a published author. It does give one a certain cachet…)


Product Round-Up

Here are some products that I love:

These are something else. Our fancy dancy grocery store, Keil’s, sells these at its fresh olive bar. Fresh olives being $9 a pound there, I would have passed them by forever were it not for Husband’s trip to the grocery store for snacks for our Journeyman TV marathon. You know, after they canceled it but before they erased it from the NBC website? We had Milton’s crackers, brie, wine, and these peppadews. He went out for wine and I was expecting to make popcorn but this was much, much better. I am also pleased that Journeyman appears on Hulu.com and it is worth watching. At least the show producers knew soon enough that it would be axed, so they were able to bring the series to an adequate, if hasty, conclusion.

Back on topic. You can’t do better than a plate of peppadews for a party. Seriously. Imagine yourself saying to the host that you have purchased a plate of peppadews to pass. Wouldn’t uttering that sentence that make any party fun?

Glide Dental Floss
I became addicted to dental floss in college, when I was having a pitted tonsils problem that resulted in food getting trapped in my mouth and rotting. When politely and discreetly informed that I had bad breath, I started obsessively brushing and flossing. Eventually, the real problem was identified and I had my tonsils removed, but the habit stuck. Regular floss was fine, but then I hit on Dentotape. Better, but fibrous; it got stuck between my molars. Once I started using Glide I never went back. I even made a convert at my old job! I prefer to buy the tubes rather than the flip-top case, mostly for the bulk rate. I have liked it less since “Crest” started appearing on the label. It feels less sturdy. It is probably all in my head.

Albertson’s Grocery Store Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
I don’t even particularly like this grocery store, although I rank it above our local Vons. We shop here sometimes because it is near a McDonald’s with a playland, an auto parts store, a Blockbuster video store, and the post office, and because it has car carts. It is a tricksie store, with little purple bags of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in front of the register; I think it’s 18 cookies for $4. Dammit! They’re soft-baked (and 3 points each).

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
We received a tube of this as a gift at a baby shower, because my friend thought Husband’s interest in farts and poop was funny. But it works like a charm, and it should, because it was invented in Louisiana and probably has voodoo in it. It was hard to procure right after Hurricane Katrina, which I assumed was because workers were not able to travel to the factory. I just discovered–when I was getting the website so I could link to it–that the company was purchased by Blairex Laboratories, which first came on the scene with a saline solution in the 1970s (they anticipated how popular contact lenses would become). Since acquiring the Butt Paste label and recipe, they have added several new products to the line, including a set of three single-use foil packets for travel use, which I don’t understand because the two-ounce plastic tube is resealable, contains many more than three uses, and is very small. If you are packing something as large as diapers in the first place…

Here are some products that I’ve used but I don’t know that I will purchase again:

Clean Shower
I am sloppy about washing the shower, so it’s never clean, so I can’t use the spray. When I do clean the shower, I try to remember to spray it, but I hate the smell. Plus I’m not the only person to use the shower, and I don’t even bother nagging Husband about spraying it. For one, he doesn’t care–he’d rather just clean the shower. Also, I could just do it myself after he goes to work. But the smell… it’s just so medicinal and weird. It doesn’t stink, exactly, but it’s overpowering–and that’s the bathroom with the window in it. Five years from now the bottle will probably be emptied and I’ll throw it out, never to replace it. Hopefully, five years from now I’ll have a shower made of tile or porcelain or even metal instead of textured fiberglass, and it won’t be such an unsuccessful drama to clean it in the first place. I mean, if I could just use Comet or Tilex or something that would actually work on the shower, I wouldn’t need to keep it clean between washings. You could just wash the damn thing often enough to avoid all the unnecessary applications of tiding-over spray.

And don’t tell me that baking soda and vinegar work. It just made a foamy, gritty, vinegary mess. True, it was nicer to stand on later than mold and soap scum is.

Prickly Pear–The Food
They were selling this at Albertson’s for $0.39 a pop, so I grabbed one. They’d done a very good job of removing all the prickers, but I did get a tiny fibrous one stuck in my thumb that was easy enough to remove just with fingernails. And it cut open like a dream… I cut it longways into eighths instead of paring it (because I cannot make a paring knife pare and I don’t know what happened to my vegetable skin scraper gadget), and slicing off the rind from the fruit part was very fast and very effective. I think I should have scooped out the seeds but I didn’t. Mistake. Those mofos are tough. The flesh that was left behind though, was meager. I’d looked around online to see what people did with prickly pears (or opuntia, as they are also known by people who appreciate the desert and know more about living in harmony with Earth and Nature than I do), but not until I got home. They make them into drinks, it turns out, mostly alcoholic. I didn’t buy enough to extract any kind of amount of juice from.

I cut up the fruit and served it next to the salad last night, and it was tasty. I’m glad I didn’t put it in the salad because of the seeds. I just don’t see me making a habit out of buying it or preparing it. If I was already an avid juicer or barkeep, maybe, but honestly? I’ve never seen them at the store before. I don’t know how often I’ll run into them without looking. It’s definitely a niche fruit. Should I have a future hankerin’, I’ll buy me some Cactus Coolers.

Unless someone domesticates this fruit and makes it big and fat and less prickly, even if that means sacrificing flavor for shippability.

Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki
I had been eyeballing a big tub of this at Costco and finally caved. I tasted it with a spoon. Yummy! But it’s really too salty to use, and when I used it as a marinade for some tuna and then tried to sear said tuna, it turned into a yucky caramelized mess in the pan. Most of the blame for that lies on me, because I have so little experience searing tune, and it by no means harmed the taste or texture of the fish in any way. I’d used it in a marinade from the website that also included soy sauce, which it needed because this sauce is kind of thick. That turned into a super-salty extravaganza. The sesame seeds, however, are delightful and impart texture. I think maybe I shouldn’t have bought such a big bottle of it. It was a calculated risk.

Here are some products to avoid:

Dreadful. This was dreadful. I got it for Fella and Filly to eat because they like things like Gardenburgers, and tofu, and those Chickenless Nuggets you can get at Trader Joe’s, and because sometimes a vegetarian substitution has these amazing spices and textures. (I love, for example, mock duck in all its squeakiness. Don’t let its looks fool you. Try it in Thai food before getting all skeptical and/or revolted.) I’ve even liked the Tofurky you make for your brother’s girlfriend. But this was beyond belief. I neither marinated it nor barbecued it as recommended, but it came stinking out of the package. Microwaving it was probably the worst thing I could have done. The baby would have none of it. She didn’t even play with it enough to make a mess of it on the floor.

This product is dead to me.

Costco Underwear by Maidenform.
I can’t even find a link to this and I am glad. Don’t be fooled! They come in a three-pack for $10 or $12, and the colors aren’t bad. They are advertised as “hipsters” or something and they are seamless. How could they go wrong? I bought a pack and they weren’t so bad, so I bought another pack. They change completely after washing. They are like devil panties. I can wear them for maybe three hours and they have to come off. All last week, while the good underwear was dirty, it was ratty old underwear or these. I’d always start with these and I’d always get fed up. Depending on where my tolerance expired, I’d change or go without. Not a great week to be my clothes. There’s an awful lot of laundry that now needs me to fold it. I’d throw them away but they are in almost pristine condition. I’m sure in the future I’ll need some kind of underwear that isn’t gross or stretched but only requires two hours of wear.

Pacific Foods Butternut Squash Soup
Don’t get me wrong. Pacific Foods is an excellent label with some amazing flavors. My favorites are the Red Pepper one and the Cashew Ginger one, but this Creamy Butternut Squash soup is like a watery Thanksgiving. The Campbell’s Select Butternut Squash soup is much, much better, although I am having trouble finding it at the stores this month. There’s either a run on that flavor or a virus knocking out the butternut squash crops one field at a time. Maybe it’s just that it’s a winter squash and the stores from last year are running out. Who knows?

Here is an Early 20th Century Chinese-American gangster, Sai Wing Duck (aka Mock Duck):

Mock Duck arrived in the United States during the late 1890s, settling in New York’s Chinatown where he formed the Hip Sing Tong, a minor criminal organization. He’d strut around Pell Street, covered in diamonds, secure in his control of Hip Sing, his sinister image bolstered by his long, lethal-looking fingernails.

We should all be so confident.