Sunday, April 29, 2012

Christmas Comes But Once A Year – Mad Men Episode Summary 4.2

Synopsis: Roger Sterling invites Lee Garner Jr. to their office Christmas party, and ended up being humiliated in front of his employees. Freddie Rumsen left JWT, but brought with him the Ponds account, and is now seeking the help of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce that is more than happy to help him given the two million dollar account he is about to bring in the agency. Meanwhile, the troubled boy Glen Bishop befriends Sally Draper.

Episode Summary: Sally Draper is out shopping for a Christmas tree with her family and new stepfather Henry Francis when the boy from their neighborhood Glen Bishop calls for her. Like her, the boy has a new stepfather, and is expected to move out of the neighborhood to live with him. Bobby Draper comes to get his sister, and sees her talking to the boy who is proud to inform him that he is working at the tree farm bringing in twine that he cut using his pocketknife. The young boy is impressed with Glen owning a pocketknife, while Sally compliments the braided lanyard he made for it. Continue reading...

Don Draper receives a letter addressed to Santa Claus, and this puts a smile on his face. He asks his secretary, Allison, to read it to him, and learns that it was Sally who wrote it. Sally knows very well that there is no Santa Claus, but thought it best to keep the charade for Bobby. Sally had written in the letter that her brother believes that he does not deserve the radio he wanted after leaving the freezer door open; little did he know that Don was the culprit. At any case, the young boy had provided Santa other gift options. According to the letter, baby Gene wants a fireman. Meanwhile, Sally wants the monogrammed gold necklace they saw at Macy’s, and expressed her desire for her father to be there on Christmas morning to give her the gift knowing very well that this could never be. Don instructs Allison to buy a drum set, a fire truck, and the monogrammed necklace at Macy’s. He also adds a Beatles 45s for his daughter, and a transistor radio for Bobby to the list. Allison asks Don if she could bring a friend to their office Christmas party, but regrets to inform her that she cannot due to the agency tightening its belt. On the other hand, Don is going to see to it that she receives a bonus.

Freddie Rumsen drops by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to meet with Roger Sterling. He informs him that he took with him the Ponds Cold Cream account when we left JWT. It is a two million dollar account that JWT would not even miss. Surprised that Freddie managed to keep the loyalty of the client, Roger inquires about it only to learn that Freddie and the client belong to the same fraternity, meaning they are both on AA. This explains the man refusing to get a glass of Roger’s usual drink. Freddie has been sober for sixteen months, but admits that he could not handle the account by himself, which is why he came to see Roger. Moreover, Freddie declares that if things do not work out, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce could keep the Ponds Cold Cream account. His only request is that he sees to it that Pete Campbell will not be involved in the account, and expressed his surprise for bringing him along to the new agency. The deal is closed with a handshake.

Roger and Freddie drop by Don’s office while he is in the middle of a meeting with Peggy and Pete discussing Sugarberry hams. Peggy is ecstatic to see Freddie, and the feeling is mutual. Roger informs them that Freddie has brought with him a two million dollar account. Freddie requests with Don’s permission that he maintains the creative relations with the client to which Don agrees without any qualms, and to avoid any awkwardness Roger makes it clear that he will be handling the account. Pete is antsy about bringing back Freddie, and is about to ask about his sobriety when Roger cuts him off with news that Freddie is going to don the Santa suit for their Christmas party.

Sally receives a call from Glen who found the need to provide Carla a different name explaining to the girl that his call is about a private matter. He asks why Sally’s family has not moved out of their old house, but the girl is as baffled as the boy is. Moreover, she informs him how much he hates having to stay in the neighborhood, because it makes her think that her father would come home. Glen tells her the sad truth that her parents will never get back together especially since Betty is already doing it with somebody else. What the boy meant puzzled the innocent girl, but his mother had called for him before he could explain.

Bertram Cooper brings in his friend’s firm to present its services to the key staff at the agency. Lane informs them that the clients will be billed for this service, while Dr. Atherton’s firm will charge them significantly less. The Motivational Research Group claims to have brought the science of consumer evaluation to a point of precision thanks to the work of Dr. Faye Miller who is credited for developing the Carefree gal in white pants, which has become the standard of feminine hygiene in advertising. As part of their presentation, Dr. Miller asked them to fill out a questionnaire that will help the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce get a better understanding of their methods. She claims that the questionnaire was designed to learn the subjects’ real desires instead of what they claim they want. The questions are very personal with one asking the respondent to describe his father. Don scans the questionnaire and makes an excuse to Dr. Atherton of having to leave the presentation for an appointment.

Early in the morning, a thumping of a hammer wakes Don from his sleep. He finds his neighbor decorating the hallway for a Christmas party she is throwing for St. Vincent’s junior staff. The woman, a nurse, introduces herself as Phoebe, and is quite surprised that Don did not recognize her having already seen and waved at her and her friend before, but she invites him to the party nonetheless. Don politely refuses the invitation using work as an excuse.

Freddie and Peggy are bouncing off ideas for the Ponds Cold Cream commercial, and Peggy is concerned that Freddie has not understood the direction of the campaign. She informs him that their client’s research informed them that they are to target young women, but Freddie insists on his idea of having the Broadway veteran Tallulah Bankhead on the ad. He believes that this is what the client wants, but Peggy informs him that the new agency’s work is far different from his. A drunken Roger Sterling returning from his meeting with Cal Rutledge of Ponds interrupts their debate, and genuine concern overcomes Freddie. He picks up the phone and calls Cal, and learns that the man has fallen off the wagon. His phone conversation is within Peggy’s earshot, and hearing Freddie consoling a fallen alcoholic made her uncomfortable. Freddie agrees to meet Cal at a Baptist church leaving Peggy to do all the work on Ponds.

Roger gets a call from Lee Garner Jr. both frightened and surprised to learn that the man is back in town. He invites him to their office Christmas party, and the man is genuinely looking forward to attending it knowing how well ad agencies throw a lavish party. Unfortunately, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is not like any other ad agency for their billings call for an austere celebration. Lane is appalled with the news that they are to have a lavish party to impress Lee Garner Jr. to which Roger justifies as a necessity given that their agency is heavily dependent on Lucky Strike, which accounts for a vast majority of their billings. Roger calls on Joan Holloway to make vast improvements to what would have been a party fit for a convalescent home. Joan informs them that they need more people at the party, and that she is going to allow everyone escorts, and also they are to serve New York food. Moreover, there must be a gift for Lee to this Roger informs her that she is off-limits, remembering the time when the man was all over her.

Peggy’s boyfriend, Mark, drops by her apartment in the hopes of finally getting her in bed. Peggy refuses to make love to him, and insists on waiting. Unaware that Peggy has had many sexual relations, Mark finds her adorably old-fashioned and assures her that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that he wants to be her first. He then goes on to tell her about how Swedish people make love the moment they feel attracted, because sexual intercourse is such an integral part of a relationship. Peggy sends him home before matters get out of hand.

Don returns home, and finds his neighbor cleaning up in the hallway. He drops his keys on the floor and struggles to pick it up confirming the nurse’s claim of him always coming home drunk. Phoebe opens the door for him, helps him to his bed, and leaves refusing to give in to his advances.

The employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce busy themselves with Christmas party preparations. Meanwhile, Freddie and Peggy continue to work on the Ponds campaign. Freddie continues in the direction of using veteran actresses in the commercial, which discombobulates Peggy. Freddie explains the direction of his campaign, which is to make old ladies look good. Peggy argues that she has used Ponds, and believes that there is something to be said about the experience of putting the product on. Her idea actually appealed to Freddie, but he completely missed the point. Peggy was working on women indulging themselves, while Freddie saw it as women trying to get themselves a husband. Peggy expresses her disappointment with Freddie at learning that what people are saying about his work is true. She had campaigned to bring him back when everybody was reluctant to have him knowing that his ideas are old-fashioned. This hurt Freddie’s feelings, but he says nothing.

The Madison Avenue style Christmas party has started, and most employees have come with their dates including Peggy. Faye Miller is also there, but is not enjoying herself after being stuck in a conversation with Dr. Atherton, Bert, and Lane of how the civil rights protests could lead to socialism. Joan interrupts everyone’s conversation with news of Lee Garner Jr.’s arrival where everybody is expected to play the role of a rowdy partygoer including Don Draper. Lee is pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome he received which included applause. The party goes on with a Conga line led by Joan. Lee is satisfied, but begins to look for Santa. Freddie who was to don the suit did not come to the party. Lee expects to see a Santa, and orders Roger to put on the suit and play the role, but the senior partner refuses to do so. Pete, afraid to disappoint their biggest client, volunteers, but Lee insists that Roger play Santa. Seeing that Lee has become annoyed at his reluctance, Roger is left to do nothing else but obey. Roger dons the Santa suit, and gives out Lucky Strike for presents. He then hands a huge box to Lee who opens it right away, and learns that it is a Polaroid camera. Lee is appreciative of the gift so much to say that getting his present reminded him of his childhood when he felt happy after getting the things he asked for.

Glen gives the Drapers a ring, but no one answered the phone. Later, he and his friend break inside the house, and vandalize it. The Drapers arrive home, and finds the mess. Henry instructs them not to leave the kitchen, while he inspects the other parts of the house. Having confirmed that the vandals are gone, the Drapers go to their room, and find it a mess except for Sally’s room that remained undisturbed. Sally finds a braided lanyard on her pillow.

Faye has been watching Don the whole time, and when he saw him go into his office, she follows him. He is about to leave the party, and Faye could not help but be envious of him for she has four more Christmas parties to attend. The woman has come not to flirt, but rather to confront Don of his refusal to answer her questionnaire, and for having walked out of her presentation. Faye is disappointed at Don having done her research of his work, she expected him to have shown interest on her. Don claims to doubt her methods disbelieving that answering questions about someone’s childhood could help them generate ideas. Faye argues that his reluctance to answer the questionnaire said something about himself, and that the floor wax commercial he did must have come from someone’s childhood. Faye believes that they have the same goal, and that is to resolve people’s deepest conflict. It is identifying what a person wants as opposed to what is expected of him. Don finds this to be true, and his admission was enough of an apology for Faye Miller. The woman could see that Don is not enjoying this Christmas due to his current situation, and she informs him that he should not be worried for in a year’s time he will be married again. Her statement takes Don aback, and she apologizes for her supposition claiming that she always forgets that nobody wants to be stereotyped. Roger’s Santa duty continues with Lee taking pictures of his male employees sitting on his lap. Lucky for Don, Lee did not see him sneaking out of the office.

Don left his keys at the office, and calls Allison to go look for it. She finds it on the floor of his office, and rushes to his home to bring him his keys and probably some food.
Allison’s friends become annoyed at Don upon learning that she has to come to his rescue, which in turn means that she will be late for the after party. Allison arrives, and finds an inebriated Don Draper sleeping outside of his apartment. She let’s herself in, and gets some aspirin for Don. As she prepares to leave, Don grabs her hand, and pulls her to his lap. He begins kissing her, and soon they have intercourse on the couch. Soon after, Allison remembers that she is to meet with somebody, and kisses him goodbye.

Peggy arrives at a pigsty of an office, the aftermath of a Christmas party. She enters her office and finds Freddie sitting at her desk, but only because it is the cleanest spot in the office. She asks about him not attending the party, and learns that he opted not to knowing that the Santa suit comes with a liquor bottle in the pocket. Peggy admits to having been concerned about him turning to alcohol every time she hurts his feelings, and apologizes for her remark the previous day. Freddie does the same for assuming that she wants to get married. The truth is Peggy does not want to be alone on New Year’s Eve, and she seeks advice from Freddie who tells her that she should not do anything if she wants to marry the guy because he won’t respect her, and advises against leading the guy on. Later that night, she sleeps with her boyfriend.

Don arrives at the office, and cringed at the sight of Allison. He asks her to come to his office, and is surprised to see all the presents on his desks. They are the gifts he asked her to buy for his kids. Don thanks her for bringing his keys, and confesses to having taken advantage of her kindness. Allison is appalled at realizing that Don is pretending that they did not make love. Moreover, he hands her a hundred dollars.

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