“Mad Men”: Episode 1, “For Those Who Think Young”

POSTED BY STUART LEVINE (Cynthia and Jon Weisman weigh in after the jump)

You can watch Don Draper for hours on end and still not figure out his relationship with women and determine what makes him tick.

Much of this first episode of season two offers small but vital hints as to how Draper relates to women, and it all goes back to his mother, of course. Then again, don’t all psychological dilemmas start with Mom?01donbetty

In Don’s office, Peggy and Salvatore are discussing an ad campaign for Mohawk Airlines. When Peggy and Don offer up some revelatory ideas about addressing the campaign to businessmen, he looks at her like a proud father.

He admires Peggy very much, maybe because the way she earned her promotion as a junior copywriter after starting at Sterling Cooper as his secretary.

She’s garnered Don’s respect, and that’s not an easy thing to do — as any of the guys there could tell you.

In many ways, Don enjoys being around her more so than his wife, Betty, who he sees more as an accessory than an equal.

Betty is often a last consideration if Don needs to work late or wants to pal around after office hours, and certainly he didn’t give her much thought when he was having affairs with both Rachel Menken and Midge Daniels.

And while Don is quick to get into bed with others, when he and Betty have a romantic Valentine’s Day evening together at the Savoy Hotel, Don’s mind is elsewhere, and he’s unable to perform. Since he had a reserved the room in advance, it was obvious to him they’d end up having sex, but maybe the chance meeting at the hotel bar between Betty and her former roommate, Juanita, who is now a call girl, threw Don off his game.

Remember, his mom was a prostitute and seeing a friend of Betty’s in hooker mode might’ve brought up some serious childhood issues.

Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner promises a seasonful of Draper revelations, so keep your eyes peeled.

Other thoughts while wondering how much it would cost today to fix a fan belt in the middle of the night on a rural road:

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  1. Closely attend to, respect and show appreciation of each relationship, recognizing each relationship is a gift of God.

  2. Alan says:

    A favorite scene of mine was when Don was dropping off the package at the mailbox.
    The setting felt like a vintage movie. The fake backdrop, the way his hat was tipped — so handsome and elegant. It could only work on “Mad Men” because the show is set in those times, so it’s more easily digested, as oppose to “Ugly Betty” trying to fake New York.
    Not only does it add a certain 1960s/movie quality shout out, but it’s a smart way to save up money.
    Well done.

  3. Paul says:

    I thought Don’s meeting with the two young ad guys was fraught with homosexual overtones. The two guys, er, young men, to me seemed to more than partners in the business sense, and the roles they played (one seemed to be foreign-born) were kind of insecure, i.e., not wanting to be found out…but still ‘out there.’

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