Mad Men, Season 4

Week 3: Did Don Subsidize Lane's Extracurricular Activities?
Talking television.
Aug. 11 2010 10:13 AM

Mad Men, Season 4

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Week 3: Did Don Subsidize Lane's Extracurricular Activities?

Lane Pryce (Jared Harris).

Michael, I believe that next week our heroes will be back in the offices of SCDP, crafting an ad campaign with the help of the comely Faye Miller. (It's no accident that Don quoted her to Lane—she's on his mind.) One of our ace readers, Rudysuz, points out that nothing slays Don quite like a woman spouting smart-sounding insights: Don makes a pass at Stephanie "right after she delivers the killer line 'Nobody knows what's wrong with themselves, but everyone else can see it right away.' The combination of youth, beauty and insight was too much for him to resist, even though it was repugnant."

Julia Turner Julia Turner

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

A few other insights from the comments:

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—Thomas Wheatley and Hilary Hileman-Hyacinth suggest that Don helped Lane cover the cost of his Barnard wannabe. Wheatley writes: "$25 hookers, even in 1964, didn't look or dress like the ones in this show. Remember the comedian's reaction when he saw them join Don and Lane? Something like, 'You're not homosexuals, you're just rich.' These aren't hookers, they're call girls. Don is lying about the cost, either because he is being nice or (more likely) because he doesn't want Lane to know how much he pays for sex." Other readers wonder about the $5 tip Lane leaves … for Don. Buchankimmerlye asks if that makes Don Lane's pimp. And Benton Love adds that Allison's bonus of $100 was four times the call girl's supposed fee. "Puts that issue in context," he writes.

—Penni Scavo is astute about Joan: "When Joan is lashing out at Lane, she says that he is the only man who makes her feel like an incompetent little girl. However, when her husband is sewing up her wound, he treats her like a little girl and even says so. Does Joan really know how she wants men to treat her?"

—Steve D. caught Harry Crane's suggestion that Don meet with Bill Asher in L.A, noting that Asher was "director & later producer of the old sitcom 'Bewitched,' which debuted in the fall of 1964. Asher was married to Elizabeth Montgomery, the show's star. Darrin Stephens, the husband in the show, was a young Madison Ave. advertising executive at the ad agency of McMann & Tate. Darrin was in the 'creative' dept. & his boss was Larry Tate, slightly older than Darrin & silver-haired. Darrin was married to a beautiful blond. She was a witch. Hmmmm ... any of this sound familiar?"

As for your rejoinder about the show's odd pacing, John, you're not alone, and you're not wrong that the story slows down in California. But I'd argue that the break from zippy Manhattan routine is intentional, a reminder that it can be hard to have much of an inner life in the ad world hurly-burly. There is a lighter, freer Don: He just can't seem to cross state lines.

Off to prepare some Hawaiian-style pork,

Julia

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