Mad Men, Season 3

What Happened to Chauncey?
Talking television.
Aug. 24 2009 6:49 PM

Mad Men, Season 3

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What Happened to Chauncey?

Yikes—we did "change the conversation," didn't we? I'm glad to see that Fraysters have been more intrepid than we have in their discussions of the maypole scene. Readers have also been posting on the subject of Peggy's "jerk" comment, which I assumed was directed at Don. But reader Ianto Steerpike, making an argument several folks in the Fray agree with, writes: 

No, no, no ... that "jerk" line wasn't anything at all about Don or anyone real at Sterling Cooper. Didn't you catch, when the dweeb said "I don't know how you girls can do all that typing?" Peggy hesitated, clearly considering correcting him, and then decided to go with the idea that she was just a secretary. Because she's learned that men are intimidated by her as a "career gal." … That's the kind of line "just a secretary" might use.

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It's a persuasive reading. But even if her motive was to play secretary, I still believe Peggy might have been thinking about Don when she made the comment. As Patrick noted, she'd just appealed to Don's sense of good advertising only to have her objections brusquely dismissed. I also think Mad Men's writers are quite content to have left the "Who's the jerk?" question open to interpretation.

Patrick, I'm very happy to learn that you, too, have worried about the fate of poor Chauncey. Duck's abandonment of his Irish setter was excruciating viewing for this dog lover, but it's also a scene that left an indelible mark. I think you're right about the icky moments giving Mad Men its distinctiveness, even if Peggy's Ann-Margret routine didn't quite do it for me. I'm totally with you on Glen Bishop. Another scene I can't shake is the one between Betty and Glen in the supermarket parking lot. Afraid his mother will emerge from the store and find him talking with Betty, Glen utters one of the great lines in the series to date, "I don't know how long 20 minutes is." Funny, tragic, perfectly childlike.

Stray note from my Episode 2 notebook: "Did Wilma Flintstone really carry Pebbles as elegantly as Betty Draper is carrying her third child?" Post your YouTube evidence in the Fray.

Like the Bordeaux grape, may we all get better with time,
John

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.

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