Mad Men, Season 4

Week 8: Where Did Harry Crane Get That Ugly Furniture?
Talking television.
Sept. 14 2010 11:59 AM

Mad Men, Season 4

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Week 8: Where Did Harry Crane Get That Ugly Furniture?

Don Draper from "Mad Men". Click image to expand.
Don Draper (Jon Hamm)

Sorry, guys, but as much as I like the burgers at Keen's, I won't take your bet about Harry Crane: I don't think he's gay. Like you, John, I think he just wants to be a mover and a shaker, the kind of guy who can get a deal done. I am, however, dying to know what is up with the décor in his office! Dark wood, gold brocade, fussy carvings, a large, framed oil painting of Paris (or was it Washington Square?): Everything in there looked like it'd been purchased at the same place where Betty bought her fainting couch. The aesthetic was a fusty departure from the modernism apparent in the other SCDP offices, and from the unremarkable space Harry inhabited at Sterling Coop. What's going on? 

Perhaps we're supposed to glean that working with Hollywood is creating a cultural divergence between Harry and his colleagues. But the décor is hardly Hollywood style. Reader J Harding Dowell comments that it "might be a hint of a marital issue; Harry has moved out and taken his 'house' furniture to the office. I always got the air (especially in the Derby party episode) that Harry's wife found him tiresome and boring, much like said furniture. Or it could just be that Harry is a bit old-fashioned and thrifty, and is either re-using his mother's things or bought them at a thrift store." I like the theory that there's trouble brewing with his wife.

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Another question for you all: What did Don mean when he wrote that he wished he'd finished high school, because "everything would have been different"? Does he mean that he would not have gone to Korea and would never have assumed a false identity? Or does he mean that he wouldn't be a New York City ad man? One thing that struck me about the flashbacks a few weeks ago that showed how Don and Roger met was Don's peppy persistence about joining the ad biz. It's always worked well thematically for the show that Don is in advertising, a consummate pitchman whose greatest product is himself. But does it work for Don's character? How did the young fur salesman latch onto the idea that writing ad copy was his calling? I'd like to see the flashback that explains that.

Now I'll just be taking these bottles back to the store.

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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