Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mad Men Episode #11 (Season 4): Chinese Wall

Why Mad Men Episode #11 (Season 4) Worked:
  • The sense of panic in the agency when word leaks out that they've lost Lucky Strike, their biggest client. Once again, the writing (kudos to scribe Erin Levy) excels and provides a realistic sense of the near panic and desperation of an ad agency in a free fall. The sequence of events started with the brilliant scene with Ken at dinner with his fiancee and her parents, and he learns from a rival that his company lost the account. That triggers a series of phone calls and meetings, all strung together in rapid succession. Textbook minimalist writing.
  • Don's heart-to-heart talk with his creative team about the problems they face and how to deal with clients. Anyone looking to learn about management should study this series. Don Draper may be a sh*t, but he knows a thing or two about leading a team in a crisis. I also liked his line to Peggy: "I'm counting on you." Anyone who's ever been told that by the boss will definitely bring out his or her "A" game.
  • Megan's (Don's secretary) outfits. It's like she's on a Paris runway. She's graceful like a swan. And like night follows day, we know what will happen...
  • Don's hook-up with Megan. Come on. This was inevitable. How could Don help himself? It's like asking a Lassie not to bark or Flipper not to swim. But did you notice that she made the first move? And Don's office couch is getting quite a workout this season!
  • Pete being offered a full partnership with rival agency CGC in the hospital waiting room, while his wife was in labor.

Why Mad Men Episode #11 (Season 4) Didn't Work:

  • Don's apartment. It's bugged me all year. It's dark and creepy. I don't buy that he'd live in that dump as a hot on-the-town advertising executive. I see him in an Upper East Side modern apartment with a terrace.
  • Stan the art director. The character hits only one obnoxious note week after week. I'd like to see another side of him.

Overall Grade for Mad Med Episode #11 (Season 4):

  • A-. I'm really into the financial problems of the agency and can't wait to see what happens. And Don's in a real love triangle between Faye and his secretary. Sunday can't come fast enough.

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