Mad Men s1e9: Shoot

Ah, smarmy Jim Hobart. This indecent prune of a man will be a recurring theme, gnawing at the edges of Don’s professional life. In Shoot, he tries to get to Don via casting Betty as a model for Coca-Cola.


image courtesy of Mad Men Wikia

Oh hey, it turns out Betty used to be a model in Manhattan! Makes sense that’s how she and Don met, being that they’re separately obsessed with image and all that. Adding to the image, she never liked giving the clothes back, and lets her shrink know that was always the hardest part of modelling for her.

As she’s telling the story of her relationship with Don and moving to the suburbs and suddenly feeling so old, she begins to talk about her mother harping on her appearance. And then, ironically, how much her mother hated her modelling, even calling her a prostitute. Jesus, lady..

Seems like life suddenly moved really quickly for Betty. One day, she’s got a lucrative fun career and life with friends in Manhattan as a model, then the next she’s engaged to Don, moving to the suburbs, saddled with kids and immediately defined by others as the stay at home mom and wife.

“You’re angry at your mother”

Betty is incensed, torn about how to feel, what’s ‘right’ versus reality. Her shrink speaks some truth, and she knows it. Alas, she’s not ‘supposed’ to feel that way about her mother.

“She wanted me to be beautiful so I could find a man. But then what? Just sit and smoke and let it go til you’re in a box?”

Is that all there is? Huh. Betty misses modelling, her own life, something greater; she wants to feel and be more than she appears. She’s living in a strange dollhouse, and wants out in some way. Never having had the opportunity to define herself, she’s craving something deeper.

In office news, Peggy busts an enormous hole in her skirt with the rip heard ’round the world, which is pretty much the worst feeling ever. Joan lends her a dress and some unsolicited “advice” in the form of wondering how she’ll get close to men if she’s (GASP) not slim! And how she assumed Peggy was only writing in an attempt to get close to Kinsey. Ay yi yi, Joan. These women have very different outlooks on life.

Later on, Pete decks Ken for making a comment about Peggy’s big fat ass. Class act, that Pete Campbell. Kenny had it coming!

In some of the worst CGI ever created (second only to LOST), Polly somehow bites the neighbour’s dove pigeon in mid-air.

As compared to this trashterpiece, from LOST‘s fifth season..

Horrendous CGI aside, this guy is a maniac and scares the shit out of Sally and Bobby, threatening to kill their dog. What an asshole neighbour.


image courtesy of KnowYourMeme

Jim Hobart mails Don the proofs from Betty’s photoshoot, using it as leverage to get him to come work for McCann. Knowing that he’ll stay at Sterling Cooper and what this will mean for Betty, he’s disappointed by this lowbrow move. Don goes to chat with Roger and emphasises how he wants to stay where he is. This is also the first time we learn that Don works at SC with no contract, something he would unlikely be able to swing at a bigger agency. They talk cash, and when Roger asks why, Don simply responds, “I like the way you do business”. No shady shit.

Don: “If I leave this place, one day, it will not be for more advertising.”

Roger: “What else is there?”

Don: “I don’t know, life being lived. I’d like to stop talking about it and get back to it.”

Roger: “I’ve worked with a lot of men like you, and if you had to choose a place to die, it would be in the middle of a pitch.”

Don: “I’ve done that. I want to do something else.”

Done and dusted.

It’s heartbreaking watching Betty at the end of the photoshoot, finding out the news that her photos won’t be used. Don of course knows the real reason, and Betty spins it positively to him at dinner, trying to assert some sort of control over the situation. He does his best to keep it light by emphasising that she already has a job, and that’s being a wonderful mother.

Don says some lovely, heartfelt things to the tune of “I would’ve given anything to have a had a mother like you. Beautiful and kind, filled with love like an angel”. As flattered as she is, this is the last thing Betty wants to hear, and she lets it marinate.

The next morning, she’s back to the mom routine and is pretty over it circa ~1pm. As quickly as she was defined as this mother and housewife, she’s annoyed that she had no say in the matter. She is angry with her mother.

Shooting at her garbage neighbour’s pigeons, here’s a lady taking out her aggression and attempting to take control. Iconic.


image courtesy of MadMenDaily

“Eventually you come up here, or you die wondering.” Prophetic words from Jim Hobart. Seeya in a bit, weirdo.

One thought on “Mad Men s1e9: Shoot

  1. Pingback: Mad Men s3e13: Shut the Door. Have a Seat. | the MARS DEN

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