Sunday, April 01, 2012

Mad Men ("Tea Leaves"): Exile on Madison Ave

Megan (Jessica Pare) and Don (Jon Hamm) patronize Heinz's wish to have The Rolling Stones as pitchmen.
Tonight marks the directoral debut for one Jon Hamm, and while he did a marvelous job, this third hour into the season for Mad Men is one that set the world on fire. No big pieces were being moved forward, unless you count the introduction of new copywriter Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman), hired to work the Mohawk Airlines account (you know this character is going to contribute more than just a bit to the season, thanks both to his bipolar interviews and the immediate look in on his home life). Outside of that, we're left to again catch up with and/or hang out with characters, this time getting Betty (January Jones in fat makeup!) back into the picture. "When is everything going to get back to normal?" asks Sally at one point, echoing us all a little bit.

One bit that always piques our interest is characters attending a concert. In season three, we had an art director go see "the" Bob Dylan; in season four, Don took Sally to see The Beatles' Shea Stadium concert; so it only makes sense that we now get a Rolling Stones concert. Seeing Don and Harry backstage was amusing, as Harry still thinks he can identify with the youth market, yet is easily duped by faux Stones. When one groupie scoffs at the notion of the Stones doing a TV jingle, Don points out that they've done it before, selling cereal in England just three years prior.

And that ad? An original song written to hawk Rice Krispies cereal, here in all its 1963 glory:

"Wake up in the morning and there's a crackle in your face." That's what your groupie said.

Hello, do you deliver ice cream?
While "Time is on my Side" was referenced in the episode as the song Heinz wanted rewritten (as "Heinz is on my side"), the song never actually made it on the soundtrack. The only track we get is The Sound of Music's "Sixteen Going Seventeen," reminding us again that Betty is a full grown child. The sequence leading up to the song, though, was pretty well thought out, with different characters receiving "good news" in a variety of ways. Betty responds to finding out she doesn't have Cancer with more depression -- thinking it was an excuse for her weight gain.* Roger has his own understandably angry reaction to Pete's version of the Mohawk Airlines "good news," while Michael's dad jokes that they should get prostitutes to celebrate his new job, quickly transforming the moment into an opportunity for prayer.

Playlist: Mad Men Season 5 (Episode 5.03)
1. "Time is on my Side" - The Rolling Stones
2. "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" - Charmain & Dan Truhitte from The Sound of Music

*How ironic to see Sally eating just a few bites of her sundae and pushing it away, while Betty eagerly finishes it off. It wasn't that long ago she was chastising her daughter for being overweight.

Previously: "Zou Bisou, Bisou" on iTunes and Vinyl / "A Little Kiss" (Episode 5.01-5.02)

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