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Ken Honeywell

Ken Honeywell
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Birthday
March 20
Title
Partner
Company
Well Done Marketing
Bio
I'm in love with my wife; a writer and producer living in Indianapolis; partner at Well Done Marketing; founder of Tonic Ball, a benefit concert that's become one of the city's favorite annual events; co-founder of Second Story, a creative writing program for kids; a vegetarian; lead singer of Yoko Moment; a life-long New York Mets fan; a sucker for waltz time; crazy about Pernice Brothers; etc.

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APRIL 30, 2012 8:58AM

Growing Up Dirty

Rate: 15 Flag

I have to admit: as skeptical as I am about religion and politics, when it comes to relationships, I'm a complete naif. I am, in fact, I'm a bit of a pollyanna; it's against my nature to see the bad or deceptive in people.

For example: big ad agencies are breeding grounds for extramarital affairs. The late nights, the high stress and emotion, the teamwork it takes to put together and pull off a successful pitch--all conspire to make certain ad people more vulnerable to temptation. When I worked at a big agency, I was always the last to know. Even years later, I didn't know. "Of course, everybody knew about Blake and Allison," a colleague once said to me years after the fact. "Of course," I agreed, but my mind was screamingHoly shit! Blake and Allison were having an affair??

It's tough to get smacked with the reality of the big, dirty world, but, hey--we all have to grow up sometime, and some of us have to grow up sooner than others. This means you, Sally Draper, and "At The Codfish Ball," Episode 7 of Season 5 of Mad Men, is a great place to start.

For the first time this season, we're treated to an episode that's not obsessed with death--although this mortal coil still winds around our characters and occasionally trips them up. "At The Codfish Ball" opens with a doozy: Sally is talking with her old pal Glen on the telephone, and Pauline, who's babysitting, trips over the phone cord and breaks her ankle--which gives Sally an opportunity to show how grown-up she can be in an emergency. Don has to get the kids and bring them to his apartment--

--which isn't convenient. Last season--or was it the season before, already?--Don's brashness made him a hero to copywriters and a pariah to clients everywhere. When Lucky Strike fired Sterling Cooper, Don wrote a sensational and scalding "Why I'm Quitting Cigarettes" letter and published it as an ad in the New York Times. Now the American Cancer Society is honoring Don at its annual gala. The room will be loaded with big fish, and Roger, who's been a man without a country since Lucky Strike left, is all set to dangle his bait.

Megan's parents, Emile and Marie, have come in from Montreal for the event. Emile, acommunist ("or a socialist or Maoist or something," says Don) and a writer, is appalled by the opulence of the Drapers' lifestyle. Marie is bitter, bored, self-destructive; she's tired of Emile's affairs with his grad students, and she spends dinner drinking and flirting with Don. Megan knows her mother and follows her into the bedroom after dinner, where Marie is passed out lit cigarette in hand.

Megan's a smart one. She knows the kids won't eat the fish she's prepared for dinner, so she makes them spaghetti--just as Marie did for her. It gives Megan an idea for the Heinz Beans pitch: moms since the Iron Age have been serving beans to their kids, and they'll keep on serving them in the Space Age. Don embraces the idea and tell the creative team to get the boards ready for presentation.

But Raymond from Heinz has other ideas. At dinner, Megan finds out Heinz is about to fire SCDP. She tells Don--who presents Megan's idea at dinner and saves the day. Actually, Megan sets it up as Don's idea, which is really what Raymond wants. The next day, Don gives Megan all the credit and everyone in the office congratulates her.

But is that what Megan wants? Her parents' visit has unsettled her. Her father accuses her of giving up her principles. We shall see, in episodes to come, just how far the apple has fallen from the tree.

Speaking of fallen apples, this week's sidebar story involves Peggy and her boyfriend Abe. Perhaps sensing the possibility of an office indiscretion--the creative guys she hangs out with talk about her tits, for Jehovah's sake--Abe asks Peggy to move in with him. The disappointment and terror and wonder and acceptance and even delight play across Peggy's face in the space of a couple of heartbeats. It's an extraordinary performance by Elizabeth Moss.

Alas, Peggy's mother is not so happy. She's minimally tolerant of Peggy dating a Jew. But moving in with a man--especially a Jew--is like dating a Negro: not acceptable. As an act of childish naivety, Peggy's decision to live in sin takes the cake--which is literally what her mother does as she stomps out the door.

Which brings us back to poor Sally Draper. Sally asks to go see Don get his award, and Don agrees. But he's not happy when Sally appears in make-up and go-go boots. He's not ready for his little girl to grow up yet. “One day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away,” Emile says, proving that Roger Sterling doesn't get all the great lines.

Too bad for Don. At the gala, Sally sees Roger--her ostensible date for the evening--getting frisky with Marie. Sally is shocked and confused. She's been smacked in the face with the stinking codfish of adulthood.

As have we all. Don learns that the captains of industry will hand him all sorts of shiny hardware for his boldness--but they'll never hand him their business. They're all afraid he'll turn on them, too. To imagine otherwise has been hopelessly naive.

But that's life in the big city. As Sally tells Glen at the end of the episode, "it's dirty."

She's right. Being an adult means getting your brain dirty. You have to be skeptical. But I believe the occasional lapse into cluelessness is preferable to falling into cynicism.

Except when it comes to priests and politicians. You just can't trust those bastards.

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This one sizzled like the business end of a Lucky Strike.
There's alcoholism in Sally's future.

And this episode sort of highlighted some underlying naivete about Don that I'm sure is there. Megan's going to break his heart.
I thought the best part of the episode was the final dinner table tableau, with everyone looking uncomfortable.
I'm still pondering the acid party...
I'm still pondering the acid party...
Strange episode. Good wrap up,
You had me with your first paragraph. I haven't even watched this series.
R♥
Great review. One thing tho is that I dont think Megan's father was chiding her for giving up her principles as much as he was saying she had given up her dreams to follow Don's. I wondered what those dreams were. Megan can't take much more but Don sure needs her. We forget how needy he is from his past. Trouble brewing and you could see all the blows as they sat there in that last scene ad the table.
excellent review, ken. i found the episode more interesting than some others of recent weeks - megan's idea for the heinz account and how she and then don handled whose idea it was, her very weird parents, roger and his women, and poor sally - all of them different shades of naive and cynical.
Terrific Ken, I've slept through this episode twice now and don't really need to see it since I read your outstanding commentary and synopsis. Actually, I'll take it in on Sunday re-run--it's at a time when I'm not nodding off on the couch. Thanks.
Excellent analysis. I only just started watching this show and although it sometimes feels like the art direction is more important than the characters, I am hanging in there.
This episode was amazing. Fully describing all that happened would take longer than to watch it.

I love how Pete, a bit player in this episode, demonstrates to Emil just what he does all day. That was beautiful. It shows us why Pete got where he was, and opens up Emil's eyes as well.

Before the "It's dirty" phone call, we see the characters sitting at the banquet table, all disillusioned or hurt or hiding something. It's wonderful. They could have ended the episode right there.

Question: Where was Glen calling from? Military school? Reform school? As I recall, his mom didn't have a lot of money, and he'd been caught vandalizing the Draper's old place.

Another: Peggy has a hallway talk with Megan, and seems honestly encouraging . . . congratulatory, even. But as Megan leaves Peggy gives her a look that I couldn't quite decode.

Hmmm, alcoholism in Sally's future? Distinct possibility. She might also find herself on a bus to Haight-Ashbury.
This episode was amazing. Fully describing all that happened would take longer than to watch it.

I love how Pete, a bit player in this episode, demonstrates to Emil just what he does all day. That was beautiful. It shows us why Pete got where he was, and opens up Emil's eyes as well.

Before the "It's dirty" phone call, we see the characters sitting at the banquet table, all disillusioned or hurt or hiding something. It's wonderful. They could have ended the episode right there.

Question: Where was Glen calling from? Military school? Reform school? As I recall, his mom didn't have a lot of money, and he'd been caught vandalizing the Draper's old place.

Another: Peggy has a hallway talk with Megan, and seems honestly encouraging . . . congratulatory, even. But as Megan leaves Peggy gives her a look that I couldn't quite decode.

Hmmm, alcoholism in Sally's future? Distinct possibility. She might also find herself on a bus to Haight-Ashbury.
I'm thinking with Don and Megan, we're seeing the beginnings of a brilliant collaborative team. I see Megan as a young woman really about to fly away. Mom and Dad are insulting, negative and all about shitting rain on her parade. She's got a hefty ego there, so she's not going to put up with their hypocritical shenanigans forever.

He'll get other business. Cigarettes aren't the be all end all. In fact, ultimately they were and no doubt still are, an annoying and impossibly demanding client.

I loved this episode. But what's bothering me about the Peggy subplots is her child. I realize they've dropped it. But if you've followed this show from the first, you'd know it would have come up last night between her and her mother in furious whispers (if Peggy was lucky).

For me, it made that scene feel wrong. She would have anticipated her mother's response. And I think she would have had the foresight to discuss it with her mom alone and in person, instead of making believe it was not an issue and having a little dinner party to break "the news" with Abe present.

Love Sally. Hated that last scene with Roger and Marie. Very crude. I would have been happier seeing them standing and her half undressed or something. On your knees happens yes, but was that really necessary? It seemed entirely too vulgar for me.

But what was great was the "misery table" at the end. BUT..in the background was Roger, reinvigorated, doing some deal or other. Next episode, he will have a lead. I KNOW it. Roger is BACK! And I am loving it. And what will happen with Pete, that shit.