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'Mad Men' update: Seeking the land of cola and ketchup

By Marisa Nadolny

Publication: theday.com

Published April 15. 2013 12:00PM   Updated April 15. 2013 1:16PM

"Mad Men Monday" co-writer Kathleen Edgecomb is away on vacation this week.

Dah-ling Kathleen,

Consider this my own postcard to you, as you relax in sunny Florida—and yet, you still sent me some food for thought via text regarding last night's episode of "Mad Men." You, my dear, are a trooper.

And really, the stand-out moment for you — "Heinz is the Coca-Cola of condiments" — perhaps really says it all. Indeed, this notion of longing for what's likely an unattainable prize seems to be the curse of these mad men, depressingly illustrated in last night's episode by Pete and Trudy's falling out and Pete's idiotic handling of his own infidelity; Don and Sylvia's increasingly odd affair; and Peggy's search for respect among her new colleagues—possibly at the expense of her former ones, as you noted in your recent text. Is respect with no happiness worth it?

(And as I shared with you dear Kathleen, I kinda hated that whole Quest powder bit. Shouldn't those copywriters be working on better Clearasil copy? If Peggy was a man would they pull that crap? Doubtful.)

Really, is life just one big advert? Are we ruled by appearances?

Why else would Don seem hellbent on ruining marriage number 2? It seemed healthy when he left Betty, but here we're starting to see that perhaps he's incapable of real adult connection. Megan is everything Betty wasn't, and still Don can't be faithful. Where I kinda didn't care about Don cheating on Betty (face it: she was a hellbeast), I'll go ahead and say he's doing Megan a bad turn.

But, like Dr. Fay once said to him, Don likes the beginnings of things — the veneer or dream of something, but can't (won't) engage beyond that. His very identity is too much a house of cards — even his name isn't really his. Indeed, it's possible he's so haunted by his poor, admittedly dreadful childhood, he's incapable of accepting and giving love because he's too busy running from the truth. At one point last night, Sylvia said to Don, "You love to leave" and truly, she makes a cuting, excellent point. (But as for her holier than thou pregnancy advice to Megan, shame on her for invoking religious guilt, when she's shagging another woman's husband. Pullease!)

Best part of last night's episode though? Trudy explaining to Pete how she'll "destroy" him, if he sets foot inside their suburban home again. I love that beneath her placid, obedient, suburban-chic surface, she's a savvy shark. Tip of the hat to her for her conviction; but I do think we're still only scratching the surface of just how dark Pete is. He's another one who can't leave more than well enough alone, and must cheat — or, at least cheat indiscreetly, as Trudy observes. It's like they all want to get caught...

Man. It's getting heavy over here. See what happens when you go on vacation, Kathleen? I get all mopey. Do hurry back home and get thee to the TV for next week's episode, which, it appears, comes on at 10 p.m. again, and will continue to do going forward. So much for an early bedtime, but, of course, duty calls.

One more mopey note: How about the music supervisor's brilliant choice of the Bing Crosby version of "Just a Gigolo" as Don hesitates at the door to his own home. So poignant, so beautiful a juxtaposition.

Through ketchup-colored glasses,

Marisa

We're on Twitter: @TheMDesk and @edgecombday.

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