Mad Men s1e7: Red in the Face

This episode offers some more depth to Roger Sterling. He invites himself to Don and Betty’s house for dinner, and a vague form of mayhem ensues. From the sounds of it, he’s sort of over his teenage daughter Margaret ruining his dinner options.

Roger is inferring bits about Don’s background. By the way he “drops his Gs”, he figures Don was raised on a farm. Confronted with this observation, Don immediately leaves in search of more liquor.

Roger drunkenly shares stories about fighting in WWII, but Don seems more interested in how he felt. We can tell that Don felt mostly fear while in Korea, and he generally doesn’t talk about it per Betty. Roger speaks of some dark experiences tinged with a bit of apathy. “Bored, what about scared?” Don is trying to see if his own fear was founded, if that’s how other men feel about their time in the army.

Betty’s friendliness is mistaken for flirting, and Roger takes it to a wildly inappropriate place out of nowhere. Poor Betty! And natch, Don blows a fucking gasket about it, as it was the style at the time. Apparently that mess is somehow Betty’s fault? Yeesh. She stands up to Don as best she can, but he ultimately has the last word.

An iconic moment appears in this episode, thanks to Pete Campbell’s subdued outrage that none of his Sterling Cooper pals know what in the hell this ceramic abomination is. IT’S A CHIP AND DIP!


image courtesy of

Pete goes to return the redundant #chipanddip on his lunch break and attempts to charm the pretty customer service girl to no avail. He doesn’t have the inherent allure of his Hot Idiot friend Matherton, who happened to be in the department store at the same time. Pete classily lets her know that Matherton has The Clap, and buys a BB gun with store credit. Incredible. Of course, Trudy loses her shit at him so he meekly keeps the BB gun at the office.

The next morning, Pete delivers a particularly peculiar monologue about hunting deer to Peggy. She’s super into it, and immediately seeks out a massive fucking cherry danish. As you do.

Oh my god, and another iconic moment.



image courtesy of Buzzfeed

So, Helen is pissed that Betty gave her son Glen a lock of her blonde hair. All of this is too weird for words. Betty slaps her across the face in the produce section, and immediately bounces.

“My mother always said you’re painting a masterpiece,

make sure to hide the brushstrokes.”

Ruminating upon her day, she tells Francine that she’s not some perfect marshmallow sweet girl. But Betty believes that keeping her appearances up and being attractive to men means that she’s ‘earning her keep’. She’s working out a way to feel OK about Roger coming onto her in the kitchen that night, that just so long as he finds her desirable it’s all good? Sort of a mess, if you ask me.

“When a man gets to a point in his life when his name’s on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement.”

Roger tries to apologise with a very thinly veiled analogy about how ‘at some point we’ve all parked in the wrong garage’, and Don ain’t buying it. He exacts his own sort of revenge, sneakily arranging with Hollis the elevator operator to ensure the elevator is “down” later that afternoon.

They go to lunch for oysters and martinis, which sounds delicious in theory, but these motherfuckers plow through 48 oysters together on top of New York cheesecake. And then throw in 20-something flights of stairs..

Roger Sterling is a compelling character, and the one thing he’s obsessed with and desires most is youth– which he intrinsically cannot attain. This is something he’ll be faced with throughout the series.

Don drives that point home with his elevator prank.


Today, I’m on the Roger Sterling diet.

image courtesy of

And for whatever reason, I can’t find the horns version of the Rosemary Clooney song that closes out this episode. RUDE. Here’s the 1952 original!

2 thoughts on “Mad Men s1e7: Red in the Face

  1. Pingback: Mad Men s3e3: My Old Kentucky Home | the MARS DEN

  2. Pingback: Mad Men s3e7: Seven Twenty Three | the MARS DEN

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