MAD MEN: Scene of the Week

When you have an episode that features Joan and an old friend making out with young boys in the East Village and Joan on the verge of becoming a different, possibly wiser, mentor to Dawn than she was to Peggy, and those are not the best scenes of the night, you know you’re getting a superior Mad Men outing. When Peggy comes face to face with three men (four if you count Ken in the restaurant) whom she has personally and professionally betrayed for a shot at the Heinz account, you’re headed for a classic. And yet, it’s a smaller character in the Mad Men universe who stands out on a night that completely erases my fears that the show will no longer be fun in the wake of Lane’s demise (and I really had that concern; brilliant as that last season was, nothing was ever quite the same on The Sopranos after Silvio whacked Adriana). But back to the man of the hour…

Harry Crane first appeared on our screens as a dumpy, bespectacled, sweet, and shy media buyer for the old Sterling Cooper. His one-night stand with Pete’s secretary, Hildy, leads to a rarity among these characters: a guy showing true remorse for stepping out on his wife. The Crane marriage is righted by Season Two (and a little Crane is soon in the picture). Then Harry does something kind of unexpected and ultimately brilliant. He recognizes the power of television with regard to advertising and essentially invents both a job and an entire department for himself. Good on, Harry! He’s still a bit of a bumbler (Sal might still be at the agency had Harry not screwed things up so royally with Lee Garner, Jr.!), but he more than earns a spot when Sterling Cooper as we know it is put to bed and SCDP is born.

Then Harry starts to devolve. His slimmer physique brings with it a brashness, an arrogance, an all-around smarminess that makes him less than an office favorite (and we come to learn that his home life is far from ideal), and yet Harry manages to succeed where television is concerned (go figure!). So naturally he’s pissed that Joan “slept her way to the top” (look, we all know that Joan more than deserves to be at that partners’ table, but she had to make a calculated sacrifice to get there). Harry is not without a leg to stand on. Sure his defense of Scarlett is more about waving his dick around than actually caring about his secretary (and let’s be real; Scarlett did break the rules), and Harry’s assumption that Joan starts the partners’ meeting by ratting Harry out just goes to show how self-involved he is. And yet, Harry is kind of right. His finger is on the pulse of what will ultimately become the best tool in the world of advertising, his ideas are not without merit (“Broadway Joe on Broadway?” I’m in!), and hard as it was to listen to him abuse Joan, “I’m sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight,” caps off one of those beautifully awful moments that Mad Men does so well (“That’s what the money is for!”). Harry might be an ass, but he’s an ass with a point (and make no mistake; if SCDP continues to underestimate Harry as Don did Peggy, the firm will be short yet another employee who sees what the next decade is about to unleash).

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One thought on “MAD MEN: Scene of the Week

  1. Pingback: MAD MEN: Scene of the Week | Telephoria

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