Mad Men, Season 3

Week 1: In Praise of Trudy's Hat
Talking television.
Aug. 17 2009 1:45 PM

Mad Men, Season 3

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Week 1: In Praise of Trudy's Hat

Julia: The Pete Campbell in me wants to take that bet on whether this season will conclude with the JFK assassination, and raise it from a single old-fashioned to a baker's dozen. But the Ken Cosgrove in me won't allow it. Just about the only thing Matthew Weiner has revealed about this season is that he doesn't plan to dramatize Nov. 22, 1963: "I can say one thing in advance: the Kennedy assassination is very well-trod territory, and I just don't see myself adding to that," he told the Newark Star Ledger. Surely, though, the assassination will cast a pall over some part of the season, as, I suspect, will Vietnam.

A piece of Mad Men arcana: Burt Peterson isn't, strictly speaking, a red shirt. In Season 2, Episode 5, Pete mentions Peterson to Trudy in what seemed at the time a throwaway line. (I know this only because I rewatched that episode over the weekend.) Had Weiner already foreseen needing such a character to dispatch come Season 3? Perhaps not, but it's yet another indication that very little happens by accident in a Mad Men episode.

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Speaking of Trudy: Julia, are you still planning to name a Mad Men fashion statement of the week? If so, I humbly submit the hat Trudy is wearing when she comes to deliver the "Buck Stops Here" desk set. I can only describe it as haute-Shriner.

Mad Men, Out of Town.
Mad Men

A quick note about the final scene. I thought Sally's discovery of the stewardess's wings was a bit telegraphed—we glimpse her beginning to root through Don's luggage and know that can't come to any good. But I loved the exchange between Don and Sally regarding the damage she'd inflicted on his valise: "It will come out of your allowance," says Don. "I don't have an allowance," replies Sally. "Then don't break things," says Don. His response is so quick, the exchange at first plays like expert daddying, not a sad betrayal of how ignorant Don is of his own household.

Patrick, I agree Don's "Love Potion No. 9" effect on women is wearing thin. As you say, this isn't Entourage. It's not The Wire, either, but did you guys also love it when Sal, er, Sam, told the stewardess that he and Bill were headed for "Ballmore"? He almost sounded like Prop Joe. Almost.

Best,
John

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.