“One Minute You’re On Top Of The World, The Next Minute Some Secretary Is Running Over You With A Lawnmower” —Joan

September 21, 2009

That may very well have been my favorite episode of the season. I saw Greg not getting the promotion and saw that somehow, I saw in some way Joan would keep her job, I saw that Lois wouldn’t be able to drive a lawnmower (just not as badly as she did), and saw that things wouldn’t go well with the overlords visiting. What I didn’t see was that Conrad Hilton would actually show up (and kudos to Judy for pointing out that could very well be the Hotel king himself) nor that Lois would mow over Guy’s foot. I also didn’t see that whole exchange between Joan and Peggy coming (Peggy thought that Joan had helped her? And that Joan thought she was somewhat responsible for Peggy’s ascension?) These were all big surprises.

Ok seriously though. An overarching theme of this episode had to do with greed, I think. Things have been disastrous for PPL and Sterling Cooper since they decided to get bigger. We know with SC, at least, that business was much better when the partners were the absolute head honchos. But look what happens when they do get greedy, someone’s foot gets chopped off. Don also knows better than to get greedy and take all of the Hilton Hotel advertising business (or perhaps a job) and instead go piece by piece. Joan and Greg didn’t know better than to assume their professional life was on the rise before it happened and instead became gravely disappointed. Better to remember what you’re good at and stick with it, that was the moral of the episode.

I was also surprised with who was disappointed by what. Joan seemed less than enthused with the prospect of having to continue to work for a living (although maybe she was processing the whole thing) and Don seemed excited (and later on disappointed) by the prospect of being promoted and moving to London. Didn’t see that coming.

The one thing in an otherwise excellent episode that didn’t do it for me is the Sally-Grandpa McCain storyline. I just never really cared, never had an interest, never sympathized.

Back to the Joan and Peggy goodbye. I think they were probably right, they were both responsible somewhat for the course of each others’ lives since they met by showing a possible path in life that either of them didn’t want to take. That’s my take on that. Maybe there were others. I think it’s fascinating whatever the correct interpretation is.

P.S. Ned totally called the outcome on the Pete vs. Kenny competition.

—Daniel

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8 Responses to ““One Minute You’re On Top Of The World, The Next Minute Some Secretary Is Running Over You With A Lawnmower” —Joan”

  1. Jeremy said

    Joan really was at the forefront of last night’s episode, and staying true to the nuanced portrayal of every character, she was written as both pathetic (he marriage is going to suck) and ferociously capable and self-reliant (demanding a tourniquet as Peggy faints). It was well done.

    The other scene that grabbed me was when Peggy and Don are standing next to each other pre-lawn mower accident. Peggy would never just stand and chill with Cosgrove or Kinsey or any of the boys, and neither would Don for that matter. But there they were, casually standing together, reinforcing their powerful relationship.

  2. Judy said

    Not to nitpik, but wouldn’t Sally have already had a Barbie by 1963? I got mine in 1960 and we were considerably less well-to-do than the Drapers. And this was back in the day when you had ONE Barbie, not dozens. Just sayin…

  3. Sarah Lawler said

    I am so going to miss Joan. She is one of my favorites, more complex than even Peggy. You are right, she paved the way for Peggy. I would bet that is she wasn’t so sexually desirable, she might BE Peggy.

    She did pop up at Bonwit’s though, week before last! Do you all think she is gone from the show?

    • Daniel said

      I dunno. On the one hand, I think Joan is a great and very popular character. The show would take a big hit if she wasn’t on there anymore. On the other hand, I don’t really see how the writers can write her back into the show.

  4. ANM said

    I’m sure you’ve been able to research by now that it would be impossible for Conrad Hilton to have appeared in Mad Man, considering that he DIED in 1979.

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