Mad Men, Season 3

Week 7: The Norwegian-Catholic Connection
Talking television.
Sept. 30 2009 3:13 PM

Mad Men, Season 3

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Week 7: The Norwegian-Catholic Connection

John, I think you're dead-on about the symbolism in Mad Men: Sometimes it's deft and thought-provoking, and sometimes it reminds me of reading East of Eden the summer before ninth grade and feeling really pleased with myself when I figured out that all the evil characters' names started with C and the good ones with A. (Like Cain and Abel—get it?) And Patrick, thanks for explaining what made the episode's temporal gimmicks feel so cheap.

Before we wrap up for the week, though, I want to highlight a few intriguing observations from our ever-vigilant readers in "the Fray."

Julia Turner Julia Turner

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

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First: Readers who lived through the '60s have been debating whether it's plausible that young hitchhikers would really be worried about Vietnam in 1963, with strong arguments on both sides. Click here for an interesting thread on the subject; the general conclusion is that your awareness (and fear) of the war during that summer would have depended a lot on your family background and where you lived.

Second: Click here for an interesting thread on why Peggy really slept with Duck. Poster desiree is particularly astute, arguing that Duck's line about not noticing her in the past could be taken as a compliment on how far she's come: "She could have interpreted this to mean that she was unnoticeable before she had the cojones to ask for an office, get a haircut and move to Manhattan." Poster itochka also had an interesting theory on why Peggy wore the same outfit to work the next day: "she WANTED people to notice that she hadn't been home."

Finally, poster vyreque pointed out something intriguing about Conrad Hilton's background:

Conrad Hilton was, in real life, a Norwegian Catholic. … A few episodes ago, Peggy's being both Norwegian and a Catholic was brought up with her mother and with the roommate. This was [met with] much disbelief in the general blogosphere, for many reasons—it's unusual, the Olsons' Brooklyn neighborhood was Norwegian Lutheran / Irish Catholic and not the other way around, etc. It seems a little odd to write her this way if her family is otherwise portrayed as fairly typical Brooklyn. So I wonder if this will come up later somehow? … Americans of Norwegian Catholic descent aren't exactly common, and now we have two.

This is a sharp observation. Peggy mentions several times during this episode that her mother had given her Conrad Hilton's book (called Be My Guest,and for a long time found in Hilton hotel rooms around the globe). Perhaps Don will find a reason to put Peggy on the Hilton account after all.

Until next week,
Julia