Monday, April 16, 2012

Mad Men is getting good

Paralleling the slick deception of advertising, Mad Men has always been astute about the

difference between appearance and reality – between what people seem to be and what they really are.

Sadly this last episode (5/5) shows that Pete is really nothing, a robot of

sorts, but even Pete can't do anything as dramatic as removing a bolt from a bridge.

Pete finally gets Don up to a dinner party at his house in the suburbs-- always needing to

impress, he shows off his big new (7 ft long, mine is bigger than yours) console stereo by playing Beethoven. Living in Cos Cob in a house instead of a NYC apartment he can play it as loud as he wants (except

that his wife/mother tells him to

turn it down).

Beethoven had disdain for authority and social rank which mirrors the obvious trend of the
1960's, but more so it highlights Pete's inability to be ground breaking in any way.

Given all the talk of guns at the dinner party, the summer's murders, Don’s drawing of a noose, the driver's ed film (signal 30), Vietnam and the foreshadowing of racial riots in Ohio, violence plays more than a leading role this season, she's the star.

But episode 5 specifically stars Peter. At the beginning of the show Pete says that he has everything. At the end of the episode, Pete says to Don in the elevator, “I have nothing.” He seems too sad for words, but it turns out that Ken finds just the right words.

The last scene shows Ken imagining a fictional Pete hearing Beethoven on the “miniature orchestra” of his stereo cabinet and he writes a poetic description of who Pete is. While we hear the writer at work, we see Pete at the Driver's ed. class, in as much distress as we imagine Beethoven, listening to the whir of the film projector and watching his high school crush get "fondled" by the track star.

The Man with the Miniature Orchestra

By Dave Algonquin

There were phrases of Beethoven’s 9th symphony that still made Coe cry. He always thought it had to do with the circumstances of the composition itself. He imagined Beethoven deaf and soul sick, his heart broken, scribbling furiously, while Death stood in the doorway, clipping his nails. Still, Coe thought, it might have been living in the country that was making him cry. It was killing him with its silence and loneliness, making everything ordinary to beautiful to bear.

The show closes with the sound of the dripping faucet and a somber rendition of Ode to Joy. Music, silence, water dripping in a sink ...

Ask not for whom the faucet drips, Pete Campbell – it drips for thee.

1 comment:

Gage T said...

At the beginning of the episode, Pete Campbell seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink.