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Mad Men recap: Finding Joy

Don blows off his work trip in favor of a young temptress, while Peggy changes her look thanks to the new man in her life

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Mad Men

Mad Men

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss

Maybe it’s because I see no room for gloating hedonists like Willy or Rocci or Klaus on my favorite show. Maybe it’s because I believe that Joy is fleeting, like a drug, and shouldn’t be confused with true happiness. Maybe it’s simply because I’ll take New York City over Los Angeles any day of the week. All I know is that after enduring one too many scenes shot out by the Palm Springs pool, I practically cheered when the action returned to Sterling Cooper and the gang caught up Pete on all he missed. “Kurt’s a homo,” announced Ken. In that succinct spirit, here’s what went down on Mad Men last night: Kurt came out over doughnuts in the break room and is now Peggy’s new gay best friend. Peggy lost her ponytail. Duck dove back into the drink with a vengeance after being denied a partnership and before setting Sterling Cooper up to be sold. Roger proposed to Jane after hearing some of her bad poetry. Don ditched Planet Earth to sleep with a 21-year-old nymphomaniac with major daddy issues. What am I missing? Ah yes, the world is on the brink of annihilation.

Let’s start in New York. With Don away on business, the creative team struggled to reinvent the wheel for a Right Guard campaign. (Peggy, that prescient little minx, groaned that short of the deodorant marketing a product to women, they were stuck.) So instead of working, the crew wondered about how their buddy Kinsey might be faring on his getting-out-the-vote campaign in Mississippi. “This day and age,” Peggy, sounding like her prig of a mother, sighed over the broiling civil rights movement. “I don’t know why people keep stirring up trouble,” said Harry. “It’s bad for business. Just another reason not to watch TV.” Oh, kids, just you wait. At this point Kurt, whose gorgeousness I’d never fully appreciated before, revealed that he didn’t own a TV and that his spare time was pleasantly occupied even without the promise of sports games. “It’s a different life for single men,” explained Sal, who didn’t yet know the half of it.

What Kurt does spend his time on are Bob Dylan concerts, and he invited a blushing Peggy out for a night out in the Village. When the gang later teased the two about their date, Kurt calmly proclaimed himself a homosexual. Ken and Harry’s jaws dropped, Peggy put on her I don’t hear you, I don’t hear you, I’m in my happy place face, Joan’s eyes widened deliciously like twin moons, and a stunned Sal, his doughnut frozen midair, looked like he might weep as he watched a man do something he never thought possible, with both ease and elegance. Kurt simply shrugged, clarifying once again for the room that he “likes to make love with the men, not the women.” As Ken and Harry worried over their masculinity, pleading with Joan to call some girls into the room already, Smitty asked them all if they seriously thought Kurt was the only gay man in the advertising world. Oh, Sal, just dive into the donut box already and pull the lid over you.

NEXT: Joyful times


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