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Sunday, May 3, 2015
A Tale of Two Cities – Mad Men Episode Summary 6.10
Mad Men Recap of A Tale of Two Cities: Months have passed since the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and Cutler Gleason Chaough merged, but partners have not agreed on the official name of their new agency. Jim Cutler raises the issue at the partners’ meeting when he received a letter addressed to Sterling Gleason and Pryce. The partners have initially agreed to call their agency SCDPCGC for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, Cutler, Gleason and Chaough, which Joan Holloway believes to be a mouthful to utter. In the interest of avoiding tongue twisters, Roger Sterling recommends dropping the deceased partners from the name leaving them with the order of names as the issue. With Roger and Don flying to California to meet with Sunkist and Carnation, the matter remains unresolved.
Harry Crane fetches Roger and Don from the airport in a red Ford Mustang Convertible and shuttles them to Vista Del Mar. The aging New York City ad men unused to the California lifestyle did not appreciate the ride on the product of their client’s competitor. They meet with an executive at Carnation and share a laugh at the fact that the riot paved the way for reelecting Richard Nixon. Roger makes the mistake of assuming that the recently arrived more senior executive is a staunch Republican and Nixon supporter, but quickly learns his mistake. Fortunately, the Carnation executive is more interested in their advertising views than their politics. Carnation is trying to promote their Instant Breakfast products, but are wary of the agency’s other client, Life Cereal, whom they view as a competitor. Roger and Don insist that the two target different demographics, Carnation Instant Breakfast targets adults, while Life Cereal is for children. Carnation, however, remains reluctant to do business with SCDPCGC given their dismal experience with another New York agency. Their effort to come to California to meet with them, however, gave them pause and allowed Roger and Don to continue their pitch.
The debate over the Vietnam War fills the news as worried men become anxious at the Democratic National Convention’s rejection of the peace plank calling for an unconditional end to all bombing of North Vietnam. Jim, a veteran of the Air Force, however, could not care less. He becomes engaged in an argument with Michael Ginsberg, a vehement denouncer of war, leaving him to speak to Ted Chaough about terminating staff from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce while Don and Roger are in California. Ted disapproves of Jim’s desire and segregationist attitude towards staff causing division within the agency. He recommends taking measures to begin fostering a relationship with Ginsberg whom he is to work closely on the Manischewitz account. Jim, however, is not keen on the task of relieving Roger and working with Don’s creative staff in their absence. His solution is to handover the task to Bob Benson. Bob has the Herculean task of dealing with the neurotic Michael Ginsberg, who refuses to attend the meeting with the client at the last minute. Bob placates Ginsberg’s fears and convinces him to attend.
Joan’s friend, Kate, refers an executive from Avon to Joan as a resource on ad agencies. The man confesses of being unfamiliar with ad agencies and seeks her help for his new job requires him to deal with them. Joan was initially intimidated at the request to hear her counsel for she supposed the lunch as a date and not a business meeting, but her experience and thorough knowledge in advertising helped her carry through. She speaks of the concept of media placement, of finding customers in unlikely places, and before long impresses the new head of marketing at Avon. Joan returns to the office ecstatic and anxious at the next steps; she seeks advice from Peggy Olson conveying her desire to be the person in charge of the account. Peggy refers Joan to Ted whom she believes will acknowledge Joan’s efforts and give her the chance to work on the account. Unfortunately, Ted is on his way to Detroit to meet with Chevy leaving him to appoint the reluctant Pete Campbell as the new head of new business. Pete takes over the account marginalizing and insulting Joan at the same time. Joan returns home and feels the weight of the injustice she suffered earlier that day as she watches the horrific scenes of police brutality against antiwar protesters at the intersection of Balbo and Michigan Avenues in Chicago peacefully denouncing the war. She is not alone as the whole nation including Don and Megan Draper are watching the horrendous event on their television screens. Megan calls Don at his hotel in California and sympathizes with the protesters, but Don believes the demonstrators were looking for trouble. Don makes light of the situation, but Megan, although a Canadian, cannot contain her emotion at the brutality the protesters received from the police.
The following day, Joan gets a surge of confidence, and arrives at the meeting with Andy Hayes, the head of marketing at Avon. Much to Peggy’s shock, Joan had scheduled the meeting without inviting Pete Campbell. Joan relays a flattering list of Peggy’s achievements noting her work with Belle Jolie lipsticks. Peggy begins to tell her personal story with Avon, which she claims was a big part of their home. She sinks into a story of the excitement over the arrival of their Avon lady whom she still remembers by name leaving Joan to dial down her enthusiasm and get back to business. Joan asks Andy about Avon’s current biggest challenge and confesses to have been hired because sales have plateaued given the societal changes that emancipated women from housework and given rise to hippies who do not wear makeup at all. He is faced with the dilemma of creating a brand that is either nostalgic or groovy. Joan draws a blank and depends on Peggy to further their discussion. Peggy learns that Avon’s current ad campaign has become unintentionally old fashioned. She suggests having the Avon lady come to the office during lunch. Peggy returns to the office with Joan gloomy for Joan’s decision to meet with Andy Hayes without Pete Campbell may have just cost them the Avon account. Joan confronts Peggy for her attitude and learns that her pride has cost her and the agency a major account that was theirs to take if not for her pride. Joan argues of having worked accounts though not officially, and criticizes Peggy for her lack of support when she was nothing but supportive of her. Peggy reminds Joan of her derision when she began her career as a copywriter. Joan had forgotten how she had made her feel incapable of doing the work. Peggy, on the other hand, believes that Joan can do the work, but not in the underhanded way she handled it. She fears the consequences of Joan’s mistake. Pete reproaches Joan after learning of the breakfast meeting with Andy Hayes. Peggy stands by Joan to help her defense, but there is very little she could do as she is dismissed from the meeting. Peggy goes to Joan’s office to listen in on the rebuke mostly from Pete, who accuses Joan of breaching the fundamental rules of the business where an account executive signs business that is later maintained by a junior account executive. Joan is defenseless and speechless. Peggy hearing the hurtful chastising of Joan Holloway sends Meredith to interrupt the meeting with a message that Andrew Hayes from Avon is on the phone asking for Joan. She arrives at her office to learn that Peggy had made the note, but also hears of Ted’s leniency towards her despite Pete’s protests. Joan is grateful to Peggy.
Harry brings Don and Roger to a party supposedly attended by moguls and finds Danny Siegel, who now goes by the name Daniel J. Siegel. Danny, the dimwit copywriter Don had to hire as a consequence of his heavy inebriation, is now a big shot movie producer in California. Roger exchanges insults with the cousin of his ex-wife and ends up getting hit in the groin. Meanwhile, Don stumbles into a pot session and begins to smoke hashish with a group of addicts. He begins to make out with the host before Megan gets his attention surprising him with her presence. He converses with the supposed Megan, who informs him of having quit her job to be with him and insinuates of being with child. He later gets a light from PFC Dinkins, who lost his right arm. He informs Don that his wife believes that he is M.I.A. when he is in reality deceased. Don soon hears a splash then a scream and watches himself floating on the pool. Roger comes to his rescue and resuscitates him back to life.
Ted returns to New York and delivers to Jim the success of his meeting with Chevy. His delight is short-lived for Bob has come to inform them of Manischewitz’s decision to put them in review. Apparently, Manischewitz has been unhappy for months, the meeting was merely a courtesy to inform the agency personally of their decision to pull their account. Ted is disappointed at learning that Jim was absent at the meeting causing Bob to cover for him. Jim assigns Bob to the Chevy account despite his inability to persuade the client to continue doing business with the agency, because losing Roger’s client was part of his plan. Don and Roger arrive at the office where a cantankerous Pete Campbell meets them without pleasantries, but the senior partners arrive before Pete could relay the events that transpired in their absence. Ted relays the good news about Chevy and Joan bringing in Avon Cosmetics, while Jim informs them of having lost Manischewitz, news Roger anticipated all along. Moreover, they have discussed the issue regarding the agency’s name. Ted and Jim offer to call the agency Sterling, Cooper & Partners much to Don’s surprise. Both Ted and Jim are willing to sacrifice their name on the door believing that it is the only solution equally offensive to all named partners. Their willingness to forego their pride allowed Don to agree to the deferential solution that favored the more seasoned partners. Pete is the only one against the change believing it a reward for their submission. Don, however, believes that the landscape has changed and suggests that Pete leave the business if he feels strongly against it.
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