I was shocked to see that some readers called Mad Men “un-gay” last week. Are we watching the same show? Mad Men is about trembling white-collar tools on the cusp of social change, and the homosexuals of 2012 should be laughing at them. If these dudes had our intuition and capacity for understanding, they’d be much better off. As such, I find the show to be a suspenseful exercise in fretful inevitability, and an aesthetically pleasing one, to boot. Who is supposed to appreciate Joan’s knowing smirk except gays? What about Peggy’s weariness? Roger’s Donkey Kong sophistication? Exactly. To me they’re little candies. Welcoming, delightful, and sorta sinful.
It was a grim episode for Ms. Betty Francis last night, who returned to Mad Men sporting extra poundage, a tumor, and a hat full of misery. But still a fabulous episode for us! Here are the five faaaaabbest moments from “Tea Leaves,” the second week of Mad Men‘s glorious return.
1. Megan Draper proudly represents the Harper Valley PTA
Now that the world’s done pretending “Zou Bisou Bisou” is fascinating (What was THAT about, Twitter?), we can get back to observing Megan Draper‘s true appeal: being the official mascot of slinky 1966 glamor. Just look as she attends dinner with Don and a couple of Heinz-affiliated fogeys: She’s pert, astoundingly accessorized, and sporting a poof that would dwarf Jeannie C. Riley‘s. Sorry, does that make me a Harper Valley hypocrite? Don doesn’t want Betty’s sullen Grace Kelly death mask anymore; he wants a feisty Diana Rigg type whose attitude can fill out a catsuit or a fantastic purple print.
2. Peggy vows to buy a penis.
Last episode Roger’s own wife Jane tore him down with a saucy comeback; today, Peggy — who rarely interacts with Roger, tragically enough — subverts Mr. Sterling with an unamused aside. After Don told Peggy that returning client Mohawk Airlines needed a regular copywriter on their campaign, Roger dismissed Ms. Olson and said, “Someone with a penis.” Without skipping a beat, Peggy deadpanned, “I’ll work on that.” And she kind of did! In a follow-up scene, Peggy’s wearing an outfit with an orange, swinging appendage under her collar. She’s rightfully smug about it.
3. Betty weeps hysterically because her tumor is malignant not what’s making her fat.
To be fair, poor Betty: Though she’s been monstrously selfish and immature since season two, sometimes I see through the icicles in her face and discover a legitimate victim. Since Joan hogged all her screentime in the two-hour premiere, Betty usurped Joan’s presence last night with a whopper of a storyline featuring a tumor diagnosis, climactic test results, and worst of all, about 30 extra pounds. Yep, Betty donned Shallow Hal chin flab, choked back some bathtub tears, and mourned her thinness like a Hawaiian volcano worshipper. Betty overeats regularly now, and when she finds out that her tumor is benign, she weeps to patient husband Henry, “It’s nice to be put through the ringer and find out I’m just fat.” Oh, shame! You’re going to live with yourself now! And your kids! I hate it too.
Oh, how I cackled at this. Betty, you’re wearing Miss Swan‘s wardrobe and expecting a sympathy vote. Try again.