MAD MEN: Behind Every Person Is A Story: What’s Jim Cutler’s?

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 7 — Jim Cutler is a mad man full of envy. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be so bent on getting rid of Don Draper. And, he wouldn’t be making unilateral decisions to be sure no one gets in his way. Contrary to what the soon-to-be-deceased Bert Cooper suggests, Cutler’s not a leader, a team player, or anything like that.  Ultimately, he wants to be the very thing he accuses Roger of when he announces the McCann merger: King.  Anyone who gets in the way of a King? Well, it’s “off with their head”, so to speak. Like a ruthless dictator, Cutler will have Don’s head on a platter if it’s the last thing he does—unless, it seems, that platter is first used to offer a handsome ransom of dollar bills. 

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MAD MEN: I’ll Do it MY WAY….

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 6  — Doing it her way has never been easy for Peggy Olson. For subtle but understandable reasons to me as a psychoanalyst, Peggy needs Don and yet hates herself (and him) for it. She’s just not as self-assured as she thinks she should be. Then, again, neither is Don Draper. They share this. Especially, where love comes into the picture.

Episode 5 ended with Don triumphantly flagging down a cab … the line “everybody knows you’ve been stepping on my toes” from Waylon Jennings’s song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” playing in the background after his Phillip Morris coup. Is Don back? It looks like he is. As “The Strategy” begins, Peggy isn’t so sure she likes this.

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MAD MEN: Megan in Control….? Hmmmm…

MAD MEN REVIEW: SEASON 7 EPISODE 5 — Jealousy can do it. Megan’s taking matters into her own hands. It’s now tit for tat. She’s decided if she’s going to be with Don, she’ll be the one with the power. She’s done with being pushed aside and left out. In fact, she’ll make Don feel exactly the way she’s felt since she married him – a beautiful accessory but ultimately inconsequential. Yet, is she successful?

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No More Good Girl…?

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 5 — Betty Draper Francis finally takes a stand in Episode 5 – and weren’t we all cheering? It’s 1969, after all, and the Women’s Movement is in full swing. Betty’s finally sick and tired of living under society’s expectations (not to mention her mother’s) of just what kind of woman and wife she’s supposed to be. She isn’t much happier about being Henry Francis’ surrogate Emily Post, either.

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What’s In A Nipple?

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 5 — Could there be a more gruesomely horrifying image than Ginsberg presenting his severed and bloodied nipple in a box as a gift to Peggy? As the paramedics are carting him off, he yells: “Get out while you can!” What’s gotten into Ginsberg? The new computer isn’t what’s really driving him crazy. But, his fantasies about it are certainly a place to start.

In Ginsberg’s mind, the computer is imbued with special humanoid qualities; anthropomorphized, we could say. The computer is making people do things. For example – trying to make men turn homosexual and away from women. What’s been cooking inside Ginsberg to push him over the edge into this kind of paranoid breakdown?

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MAD MEN: Season 7 Episode 5 — What is this pressure that’s driving Ginsberg crazy, the pressure that must be released? The problem is there’s been no nipple in Ginsberg’s life. He lost his mother shortly after birth. That’s a trauma a child never gets over.

Why ARE you here, Don Draper?

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 4 — The 60’s were the era of re-defining what tells us who we are. The country was at war in more ways than Vietnam. Women fought stereotypes at home and in the workplace. The Black Panther movement empowered marginalized citizens. This country’s cultural revolution was a sign of just how much oppressive status quos would be challenged.

People like Don Draper live under similar but internal oppressive beliefs originating from childhood trauma. Don’s is the dark specter of “the unwanted boy”, now being repeated at Sterling Cooper and Partners. Will Don survive being unwanted and pushed aside at SCP? 

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About those gumdrops….

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — It could have been the perfect day. For the first time in his young life, Bobby has his mom along for a field trip and he couldn’t be more excited.  It’s all going so well, too. “Me and my mom are having a conversation,” Bobby tells his teacher on the bus. He’s a very happy little boy. He’s staking out a special spot for just the two of them (“No you can’t sit here. That’s my mom’s spot.”). All Bobby wants is a special place in Betty’s heart and today he thinks he just might finally have it. That is, until that fateful picnic lunch.

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Love, Lies, And Misunderstandings: Do Don and Megan Have A Chance?

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — Good relationships take trust and trust allows relationships to strengthen over time. As we’ve watched Don Draper over the years, we know he’s lied to the people in his life for complicated reasons. After suffering a series of humiliating defeats in Episode 3, it’s painfully illuminated to Don that the people who know him – from his wife Megan to his partners at SC&P – don’t trust him. Don is forced to face the reality that trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.

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Don Draper's future?

Asked by Anonymous

Thank you for your question. With Don’s newfound attempts to be honest about his real self and to face his fears about love, I think he has a chance to make some important changes at work and in his relationships. Stay tuned for my future posts. 

Where Are Joan, Peggy, Megan, and Don in 1969?

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MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 1 — Could Sterling, Cooper, and Partners be an even worse environment for – and especially the women – as we enter Season 7, 1969? Each of the main characters seems poised for the struggle of their lives – as Mad Men’s psychologically-minded creator Matthew Weiner hints: “This season is about consequences…We don’t just throw stuff away after it has happened. There are shadows over this season that go back to the first time we met Don.” The premiere, “Time Zones,” let’s begin to check in with Joan, Peggy, Don, and Megan to see what’s transpired since we left them in 1968.

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Don Draper’s Shame: The Toll of Living A Lie

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MAD MEN: Season 7 Preview — Don Draper has been running from his past through the last six seasons of Mad Men. At least, he’s tried his best – amidst flashbacks and his brother’s return. To me as a psychoanalyst, there is no doubt he’s a traumatized man. A man using various methods, mostly affairs and alcohol, to convince himself it’s possible to forget what’s happened to him, even who he really is. His steady and sad decline shows us he is wrong. The lines he quotes from Dante’s Inferno at the beginning of Season 6 reference the very type of hell he lives in and where he finds himself at the end:  “I went astray from the straight road, and woke up to find myself alone in a dark wood.”

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