Mad Men (2007–2015)
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The Arrangements 

Don has reservations about a misguided potential client who wants to sell jai alai as the "new national pastime." Meanwhile, Sal produces the "Patio" television commercial, Peggy searches for a roommate, and Betty's father passes away.

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At the Draper house, Gene is indulging his grandchildren against Don and Betty's wishes. Gene wants to discuss his death arrangements with Betty, which distresses her. And Gene's presence in general is making Don think about his own parents. But these issues with Gene and the Drapers take a major turn. Meanwhile, Peggy decides to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, being able to do so only if she finds a roommate. She dreads telling her mother about this decision. Her roommate ad in the paper is the brunt of jokes within the office. Joan is an unexpected source of support for Peggy. With work, Pete brings in a new account, that from his college chum, Horace Cook, Jr. - HoHo to his friends. He wants to promote the sport of jai alai, and is willing to pay a large sum for its promotion. Don knows that Horace Cook, Sr. is a close friend of Bertram's and wants to make sure that Cook Sr. is aware of what his son is doing with the family money. With the Patio Cola account, Sal is a last minute ... Written by Huggo

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Drama

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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6 September 2009 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the prank phone call that Peggy receives, the pranker says that she needs to be near a hospital because she has burns on her face. This statement references the character that Elisabeth Moss played in Girl, Interrupted, who had severe burns on her face. See more »

Goofs

Grandpa Gene is rummaging through his WWI memorabilia and tells Bobby how he shot a German soldier in the head and kept his helmet as a souvenir. However, the helmet is the old style Prussian helmet (Pickelhaube) with the spike on top. These helmets were quickly found to be ineffective and by the time the US entered the war, these helmets had been replaced with steel helmets, so it's not something the German soldier would have been wearing. See more »

Quotes

Ken Cosgrove: Don, George Caan dropped out of Patio to direct a picture in L.A.
Don Draper: I look forward to his average work. Replace him.
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Connections

References Bye Bye Birdie (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Highlight of the Series
9 August 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode, should it have been consistent, might have been the best of the series so far. However, due to the inconsistency of it, it lands in at #3 (SO FAR).

At a certain point, at the end of Act Two of this episode (about two thirds of the way), it takes a turn for the darker and becomes so, so brilliant. By this point in the season, well, frankly, it's only four episodes in. We're absolutely right to not expect major plot turns to occur. Early seasons in dramas are rarely particularly dramatic. And, late into the second act, it seems like we're right. It's just little things, like Peggy's slightly awkward search for a room mate, or some silly game called jai alai that a man thinks will outpace baseball (he should've tried American Football first). It seems on its way to being a very slow episode, until, right before the writer declares "END ACT TWO," Matthew Weiner drops a bomb on us with the truly untimely death of Gene, Betty Draper's father. It's Act Three of this episode that makes it so good. But before we discuss that, it's better to discuss the death itself, and why it happened when it did, and why it works.

"Mad Men" spent a lot of episodes (ten, to be exact) trying to figure out what kind of show it was. It wasn't until the fantastic "Long Weekend" aired that its identity crisis was solved. It's a slow specifically designed to be slow. It's designed to be so slow, in fact, that we care about tiny, insignificant things like we care about a death in The Walking Dead. We care about the little arguments Peggy has with her family, and Don and Betty's marriage problem. And it's a brilliant design, because when an event like Gene's death happens, it's like a ton of bricks. Such is the strategy of Mad Men. We never expect a death in Mad Men; in fact, this is the first one ever. Surprising, considering this is a drama, and we're well into season three, and it's interesting. And it's even more perfect a time to kill Gene, because we would expect it in a season finale, or mid-season finale, or in fact, anywhere near the end of a season. But when a show that has NEVER killed a character before does so for the first time at a seemingly random point in the season, it's even more crushing.

Then act three kicks in, which is one of the best acts in television history. It's a beautiful aftermath. From this point on, it's pretty much all Don's story. It never really cuts back to Sterling Cooper. We see Don's reaction to Betty breaking the news. We see Betty's family all around a table, talking. And then, most heartbreaking of all, Sally walks in, tears in her eyes, demanding why they were laughing. And what happens next is truly interesting. Don says, "we weren't laughing." Sally knows this is a lie, and proceeds to yell and say things like "he's gone. he's dead, he's really, really dead and no one cares," to which Betty orders her to go watch TV. As if this review wasn't already far too long, allow me to break down why this is a brilliant exchange, piece by piece.

First and foremost, I must give props to Kiernan Brennan Shipka, the actress playing Sally. She was brilliant in this scene.

So, Betty's brother told a joke about heaven. Not a funny memory, a joke about heaven and Gene. And while it was clearly in jest and in good taste, Sally takes it the wrong way, having been evesdropping. When she demands why they were laughing, my reaction if I was Don would be to explain why humor is sometimes a natural and good way of grieving and coping, and that just because something is bad doesn't mean we can't still make a joke. But that's not what Don says. Instead, Don lies. Bad move. Sally clearly knows you were laughing. She heard the joke and the reaction to it. In an instant, her whole family loses all credibility thanks to a poor lie from Don. Then she goes into full outburst, claiming that she's the only one who cares that Gene is dead, and she does this in harsh, not uncertain terms. Tears in her eyes, she isn't complaining, or grieving, as much as she is raging against the people she loves. And that's a little strange. She loses someone she loves so she attacks the people she loves that are still left. Then, finally, Betty tells Sally to go watch TV. Not go to her room, go watch TV. Today, that's more of a reward than a punishment, and it's meant to sound like that. It's meant to seem backwards. Because something that people generally enjoy, and Sally usually enjoys, has turned into a punishment because she now must enjoy it under painful circumstances.

Finally, I have one more point to make. And it is the almost perfect foreshadowing. The climax of the episode, if you ask me is Sally asking "why are you laughing?" Everyone finds it funny but her. Earlier in the episode, the guys and one gal play a prank on Peggy (which is, frankly, actually hilarious), and she has a very similar reaction to it.

If the first two acts were as good as the third, it could break the Top Ten TV Episodes. But since that isn't the case, it only breaks the Top 50.


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