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Ken Honeywell

Ken Honeywell
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Birthday
March 20
Title
Partner
Company
Well Done Marketing
Bio
I'm in love with my wife; a writer and producer living in Indianapolis; partner at Well Done Marketing; founder of Tonic Ball, a benefit concert that's become one of the city's favorite annual events; co-founder of Second Story, a creative writing program for kids; a vegetarian; lead singer of Yoko Moment; a life-long New York Mets fan; a sucker for waltz time; crazy about Pernice Brothers; etc.

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Editor’s Pick
MAY 14, 2012 6:14AM

Mad Men: Next Year's Model

Rate: 7 Flag

Advertising may be the ultimate "what have you done for me lately?" business. You're only as good as your last idea and, if you slip, there's always somebody--some other copywriter, some other agency--ready to give you an extra shove and walk over your prostrate body to show the client something better. Loyalty and honor don't mean much when there are millions of dollars on the line.

Actually, baseball is an even more cutthroat business. There's always somebody younger, somebody stronger looking to take your job. The only way you can deal with it is ignore it. "Don't look back," said Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. "Something might be gaining on you."

Don Draper is hearing footsteps. In "Dark Shadows," Episode 9 of Season 5 of Mad Men,Don notices that most of the agency's best ads are being written by Ginsberg. Don's never been threatened by Peggy--he's mentored her, and she reveres him--but Ginsberg is still an outsider. His good work is a threat to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's alpha creative.

So Don does a little snooping. Working alone in the office one weekend, he picks through a folder on Ginsberg's desk, reviewing Ginsberg's ideas for Sno Ball, Pepsi's slushy ice drink. Ginsberg's ideas are good. Don has to come up with something better.

Only it's not better. The account team concludes that Ginsberg's idea--"Hit me in the face with a Sno Ball"--is better than Don's--a picture of Satan with the line, "Yes, even me." They agree to take both to the presentation, but Don leaves Ginsberg's ideas in the cab. The client loves Don's idea, giving Don the ego boost he needs. The old boy's still got game.

How about Betty Draper Francis? How's her game? As the episode opens, Betty'sweighing cheese for her awful-looking breakfast (also includes a dry, black piece of toast and half a grapefruit). She's trying hard to lose weight--an especial problem, what with Thanksgiving coming up. It's working: at a Weight Watchers meeting, we find out Betty has lost half a pound, in spite of her "trying" week.

What has tried our Betty so? Why, it's Don's new life, of course. Betty goes to pick up the kids at Don's gorgeous Manhattan apartment and is instantly envious. Even worse, she catches sight of Megan dressing in the bedroom, buttoning a shirt over her slender frame.

So Betty sets about poisoning the well. Sally is working on a family tree for school, and Betty nonchalantly asks her if she's made a place for Anna Draper, Don's first wife. Anna is news to Sally, who responds by punishing Megan for lying to her. Megan, of course, tells Don; Sally overhears their conversation and understands what her mother is trying to do. In response, Sally acts as if Don's first wife was no big deal. She gets an A on her family tree and Betty gets another arrow in her heart.

"Dark Shadows" is filled with little scenes in which the grass appears greener on the other side of the fence. Pete Campbell fantasizes about Rory Gil--er, Beth. Peggy is put out when Roger chooses Ginsberg over her for a secret new client pitch. Megan's friend Julia is up for a role on a soap opera, which Megan covets; meanwhile, Julia covets Megan's wealth. Roger brings his soon-to-be-ex-wife Jane to a client dinner--and as soon as he sees her making eyes at another man, takes her to bed. All the jealousy and betrayal lead up to a brief confrontation between Don and Ginsberg in the elevator. "I feel bad for you," says Ginsberg, expressing the noble, sour-grapey feeling of the jilted lover, the scorned adman. "I don't think about you at all," says Don.

In the end, at the Francis Thanksgiving table, Betty puts everything in perspective. "I'm thankful that I have everything I want," she says, "and that no one else has anything better." It's an awful, ugly sentiment, made even worse by its blatant falseness. One look at Betty's plate tells the tale: one brussels sprout, a smear of gravy, a little ball of stuffing. Betty forks the stuffing into her mouth and chews and chews.

We've been there. We've all been there. Somebody else always has a better job, a nicer house, gets more attention, comes up with a better idea. Meh. In my old age, I'm happy with who I am and where I am. I want those young copywriters who work for me to kick my ass, and I'll be the first to give them credit when they do. I've been the guy whose ads were left in the cab, and it's not good for anybody.

I'm also the guy who's in love with his wife and his home and his life. My grass is plenty green over here. Maybe you should be jealous of me.

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Comments

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Yes, I am jealous, I don't have any of that American dream. I have seen it blow up in my face over and over. That is why this series is so amazing and deep. It shows the decline of a dream with no safety net.
Too funny. My first reaction was almost exactly zanelle's - ok, I'm jealous. Betty's the poster child of "be careful what you ask for."
Thanks. I'm glad for your re-caps on Monday morning especially since I have this tendency to zonk the last 10-15 minutes each Sunday and then trudge off to bed when my wife rouses me 5 minutes after Mad Men is over.
Yes, interesting episode. I like how they've written the dynamic between Megan, Don, and Sally. Step-parenting can be a real challenge. Also, the Betty piece was ingenious to me. I see her trying to be gracious and good hearted with her husband, but one trigger and she's rendered powerless over her negative emotions...this for reasons dark and deep. Reasons she will perhaps never fully understand. That's a lot of reality for a scripted show.

My lawn is frightfully overgrown.
man oh, man oh, lady writer on the tv - if a man uses your toothbrush, you're done with that crib
Subtitle: It coulda been worse.

In which almost everyone is better than they could have been.

First up, Sally. Who goes for the bait, but then has the sense to stand up to evil mom.

Don could have simply fired Ginsberg. Or lost the account from ego. But puts up with a rude subordinate before professionally knee capping him. Don also gets points for listening to Megan instead of rising to Betty's bait.

Peggy is still ok with her decision to hire talent, even if it is hard to swallow.

&c.

Best conversation:

Betty and Henry. Henry picked the wrong horse with Lindsey? And Betty, who knows something about bad choices, comforts him. Sealed with a bite of steak. Even Betty is trying to make the best of it, which is really all there ever is. Betty is a fast learner and mirrors the weight watcher guru with ease. I see her in a woman's group sooner rather than later. She is going to break balls. It's in her DNA.
I like the Mad Men and Dark Shadows contrasts. Good work.
I was too tired last night to do my usual Monday night viewing.

Don's sons are virtually furniture; I'm surprised that Bobby had a real line or two in this episode. But Sally is one of the most interesting kid-characters on TV. She's watching, she's learning, she's standing up for herself.

Roger is growing too; he says, as he prepares to leave Jane's new apartment, that he was a terrible jerk, and he seems to mean it.