Hosted by Tami Winfrey Harris and Andrea Plaid
Wait…what’s going on with Bob Benson’s knee?
Okay, not such much his knee but the unrealistic scenario Matt Weiner and his crew created in which Benson’s knee would come into play. This week, as the roundtable became a Table For Two, Tami and I talk about the Notorious Knee, the possibility of D & D (Don and Dawn), and Sally, with a good helping of spoilers.
Andrea: Now, we know one thing about Bob Benson: he’s interested in the blatantly homophobic Pete Campbell. I know that you, Tami, think Benson is sketchy, but the one thing I’m thankful for is that, unlike Thomas on Downton Abbey, Benson’s alleged sketchiness isn’t tied to his sexual identity. Mad Men has been decent on that tip regarding cisgay male characters.
Tami: You know I’m ‘bout to go off, right? Andrea, we talked about this on Facebook. I am not feeling Bob Benson’s “coming out” to Pete Campbell.
I have a very hard time believing that years before Stonewall, a closeted gay man–a junior associate–would make a pass at a partner at his job, seconds after that partner calls gay people “degenerate” and with no indication that his coworker is interested in same-sex relationships and every indication that he is not.
Bob took a tremendous chance. And it didn’t ring true. I also need him to have better taste in men, ‘cause Pete? No.
Also, gayness does not explain why Bob is always skulking around. Another shoe better hit the ground. I’m crossing my fingers that Bob does not become a Thomas.
Andrea: I totally feel what you’re saying about Bob, Tami. At the same time, I’ve heard about gay men–from gay men–who’ve hit on blatantly homophobic guys. It’s damn rare because of the very real possibility of escalating harm, but not out of the range of possibility. Now, will Pete get Bob fired because of his pass remains to be seen because that’s not out of the range of possibility–and that would be a more realistic ending to Bob’s tenure at Sterling Cooper & Partners, if the show’s history regarding gay men holds true.
Let’s chat about something Racializen nicthommi talked about in last week’s thread. In discussing Don, nicthommi said:
“There are some aspects of the change that I think he’s indifferent to (like having a black [secretary]; I do think that despite being cute she’s safe from his sexual advances).”
Thoughts about that, Tami?
Tami: I agree, Andrea. I think we have been shown that Don’s womanizing is at least partially about erasing his past as a poor, rural, orphan boy, and replacing it with the image of the strong, powerful, rich businessman–a rainmaker that men (allegedly) want to be and women (allegedly) want to be with. Part of crafting that image involves being with women more idealized than a black secretary like Dawn.
And I think it is important to note, Don is a serial cheater, but not a sexual libertine. He was turned off by the idea of swinging and likely would put race-mixing in that category. Unlike, say, Roger, I can’t see him getting his kicks from some exotic, colored strange. And a “respectable” women like Dawn wouldn’t be the place he’d go to get it if that did turn him on.
Andrea: My confusion this week is with Peggy. I’m not quite sure what Weiner is trying to do with Peggy: a couple of weeks ago, she was kissing on bosses and co-workers; last week, she accidently stabbed her boyfriend, and he broke up with her while they rode to the hospital; now, Peggy is screaming about mice and calling up the dude who grabbed her ass at the job to come take care of it–and wound up getting a cat. Are we looking at Weiner reframing Peggy as the crystallized fear that fuels a thousand romantic comedies and self-help books–The Cat Lady?
Tami: Maybe she’ll start writing Peggy Olson’s Diary: “Dear diary, today I weigh 130 pounds. Ugh! Going on a diet…”
Andrea: And Sally…aye, Sally. Walking in on her father getting naked with Sylvia, the mother of her crush, only to have her dad gaslight her about what she clearly saw. I reminds me a lot Eve’s Bayou, when Cicely does the same thing to Eve when Eve told her about seeing their father with another man’s wife. If Sally becomes a creative person, that event will be the cornerstone of a her work as it may shape her ideas about sexuality.
Tami: The last part of Sunday’s Mad Men was like a horror film. From the moment Sally began walking toward the Rosens’ door with those keys, I was hiding my eyes and murmuring “Don’t go in there, girl!”
And as Don received accolades for being a good man, while Sally sat by fuming…Oh! I think this might be the thing to make Don unravel. It is one thing for Betty to know his true self; it is another to have Sally, who always so admired him, to know. Jon Hamm played the hell out of Don Draper last night. Him tucking and adjusting while chasing after Sally, looking as if he were about to pass out…And Sally is too old to fall for Don’s “I was comforting her” dodge. And that, I’m sure, makes him look even more pitiful in her eyes–a cheater, a liar, and a coward.
Do you think Sally will keep Don’s secret?
Andrea: I think Sally, being Betty’s child, will find a way to cruelly remind dear ol’ Dad about his fucking her crush’s mom. Even if it’s in her memoir that she’ll write in her 30s.