Time and Place

2 Responses to “Time and Place”

  1. Geraldine Inoa Says:

    “Nixon vs Kennedy” is an episode which exemplifies just how much Mad Men can accomplish as a workplace drama. Set behind the backdrop of election night, we see the culmination of Don Draper’s season long existential crisis on the most important night of the year. The generational differences between the Drapers and Campbells of the office. The episode features a historical context without boring one. Perhaps it’s the shock of seeing young men and women treating election night as night for drinking, extramarital debauchery, and theatrical debuts, and not a dry stuffy cocktail party. And to think, an office full of support for Nixon, including the eccentric Cooper, Mad Men does not care for the viewers prior knowledge of this election and personal feelings for Nixon, what makes this episode and each episode of the show so intriguing is the nonchalance attitude of Mad Men’s historical portrayal. It’s in its frankness that a viewer is drawn in. The scene where the secretaries emerge from the offices of their respective bosses, their clothing ruffled, blouses buttoned hastily, a look of gleam in their eyes, Hildy’s insistence that her one night stand meant nothing, though foreign to us, is presented with normalcy. The sense of normalcy is ironic given that we, as modern viewers, find sympathy in the Don Draper when if Draper were a character in his time, as to say in the 60s, as a decenter would find few to garner remorse whereas the adultery may not pose such a grand problem. The scene where Draper and Campbell race to Cooper door is not only a highlight which illustrates the desperateness of Pete’s character but it ends in such an anticlimactic and perhaps, most thrilling, “Who cares?” Perhaps in the word of Bertram Cooper, the laissez-faire attitude of Mad Men is one that resonance in and out of the bedroom.

    Can you guys see this??

  2. deannashen Says:

    Yes we can see it! 🙂

    I also agree that the show’s integration of aesthetics with historical events makes for an amazing episode. Though I felt as though the main premise of the episode was not just to show its ability to create such a strong historical account with the junior execs and the election party, but rather to expose a whole new side of each of the characters as well as their relationships with each other. To note off of Geraldine’s post, I believe the point in which Mr Cooper says “Mr. Campbell, Who cares?” is probably one of the most important lines in the episode. Timing wise, the episode moves at a gradual and slow pace, tricking the audience to assume that the central theme of the episode is about the election. While that is a very important portion of the plot, I don’t believe it is the most important. In fact, I felt like the episode focused so heavily on the other characters and the election party held in the office, only to enhance the importance of the development of the relationship between Pete and Don. While a majority of the episode was centered around the election, the root of the episode was actually on the realization of Don’s real identity as well as his tension with Pete. And with this realization (that Don is actually Dick Whitman and he accidentally killed a man and then stole his identity) the audience SHOULD feel that it would be morally right that his identity be revealed and that he suffer the consequences, but we essentially hope that his character remains “safe.” Although Mr. Cooper’s reaction may have been predictable, it was somewhat against the audience’s expectations. And as the episode progresses, its not as though Weiner eases the audience with Mr. Cooper’s response, but rather that he merely stays true to their characters. It would appear that Mr. Cooper not only doesn’t care about Don’s past, but may also see his ability to recreate such a successful new identity as an extension of his talents as creative director. At this point I not only felt relieved for Don, but I also felt a “HA TAKE THAT” moment for Pete. Though it may seem Don’s actions were more morally inept, Petes intentions greatly overshadowed Don’s past mistakes. This is why I feel as though Weiner develops this sort of realism in the character development in addition to the pace of the series that allows for an intensification in the relationship between the audience and Mad Men’s character’s. Also, kudos to Weiner for creating a plot parallel between Pete vs Don in the Kennedy vs Nixon episode- just a side note.

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