Mad Men, Season 4

Week 3: "I Love Deer"
Talking television.
Aug. 9 2010 5:15 PM

Mad Men, Season 4

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Week 3: "I Love Deer"

Julia, John:

I'll buy Julia's idea that Anna Draper's bungalow is Don's oasis, but I'm going to side with John that the scenes between Don and Anna were rather Hallmark. The emotions felt forced to the surface in a way that was all too reminiscent of my Catholic high school weekend "encounter" retreats. (The horror, the horror.) The other thing I kept thinking about during the California interlude was Atul Gawande's recent (rather staggering) piece in The New Yorker about how we should treat the dying.

Advertisement

Anna's family decision to keep the fact of her incurable disease a secret roughly aligns with the theme of Gawande's piece: that Americans rarely have a plan for dying, and sometimes it's better, for everyone involved, to stop pursuing "miracle" treatments and let a patient try for a few good weeks at home before the end. The end of Anna had me wondering, not for the first time, just how period-correct the show was. How common was it for a patient not to be told she was terminal?

The one period detail that I would bet is certainly correct is the $25 for the services of Lane's "lady friend." The show appears to give itself a high-five in the pause before Don relays that number to Lane. John, in answer to your pop quiz, I liked the Barnard line best, but my favorite exchange was when Don quips, "Norman Mailer shot a deer over there," and our Barnard grad replies, "I love deer." But, wait! That was only my second favorite non sequitur in the show. The first was when Lane stifles his fear of being alone with Don by declaring, "I have a sandwich in the refrigerator."

Matthew Weiner is just a wee bit obsessed with structure, so I am guessing we're supposed to compare Don's California oasis with the "welcome distraction" that Don provides for Lane in New York. But from my view, a Draper-led night on the town does not appear to be all that restorative. Lane emerges from Don's bedroom with jacket and tie perfectly correct and then offers halting goodbyes as Don does his staring, no-need-to-explain routine. Was Don really helping out Lane or just putting another co-worker under his thumb with some extracurricular fun? Armchair psychiatry tells me that Don's own foundation is shaky and he gains security by undermining the foundations of those around him.

Except this season, where he doesn't move the world for the beautiful, outspoken youth. This episode had another strikeout for Don in an automobile. (Which leads to an aside for Mad Men obsessives: Can you point to an episode in which Don doesn't get laid?) I'm surprised that neither of you mentioned the casting of Kate Hudson as Stephanie. Or do I have that wrong? Anyway, Stephanie was our SDS-lite eye candy. Did you catch the weirdly gratuitous slight against born-again Christians? (Or Anna's weird joke about whether there are more Mexicans in California or in Acapulco?) I'm with you, Julia, that the show hasn't really established its footing in the counterculture. Or maybe the counterculture really was all about meeting alluring young women.

Here's a sandwich,
Agger

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.