The "Mad Men" Likability Index: Misery Loves The Dinner Table

Megan realizes she’s given up on her dreams, her parents cheat on each other, and her husband fails his daughter and himself.

Of course after last week’s Super Fight, in which that charmer Don ditched Megan at a diner upstate and then violently chased her around the apartment once he got home the next morning, the newlyweds are back to wanting to have sex with each other. Yay! Shockingly, this stems from Megan’s success at work, which Don, that angel, hasn’t previously seem to care much about, though I guess that now that she saved his account and possibly company, it makes him want to do her. Fortunately for her, this prevents him from realizing how much more worthless this makes him. So, on to this week’s likability index!

Don must love Megan’s terrible-sounding Heinz beans idea in part because he thinks her excitement about the way that whole thing went down means she wants to BE Don. And what could be greater than being Don? (Aside from, well, everything?) (Also: space helmets I fear to know what she’d do with a more progressive, changing food, like cereal.) But Don wasn’t all bad this episode. At least he was made happy by Megan’s desire to do well at work (maybe he learned his lesson after last week’s hideous fight!). Despite the selfish way he took credit for her idea, he displayed some admirable human qualities. Like the good manners he exhibited over dinner with Megan’s parents, and the way he wouldn’t let Sally go to that gala looking too old for her age in white gogo boots and full makeup. But that’s like the bare minimum of parenting. He probably shouldn’t have let her go to that event at all, since it’s not a place for children and none of the attending adults are selfless enough to look after a child for a full night when in the presence of people they want to show off for.
Likability score: 74%

Oh isn’t it shitty how once she does well at her meaningless job, her father swoops in to knock the piss right out of her reverie? Actually, I admired how feeling Megan seemed to be this episode. After working in an office full of not feeling people for this long, she finally got to experience the hallow joy of being directly responsible for the team’s success — but not without realizing how empty it was, as evidenced by her unenthusiastic response to Peggy telling her, “This is as good as this job gets.” This is what sets her apart from that team: most people don’t actually want to be reminded of that! To be reminded of it is about as depressing as the fact that it’s true. So then over the nasty fish dinner, when Megan’s father tells her not to internalize Don’s dreams in place of her own, she is hit with the deep sadness of knowing that that’s exactly what she’s doing. And that, with her mother blowing Roger in a back room unbeknownst to her, this is as good as it gets. For feeling people, nice clothes and money don’t fill a void — they are a void all their own.
Likability score: 78%

Maybe Megan’s dad Emile is also giving her kind of a hard time about her Life With Don because he’s unhappy in his life with her mom Marie and doesn’t want the same for her. He’s been cheating on her for ages, and in return she flirts with every man at the dinner table, including her daughter’s husband, allegedly. Having these two as house guests must be about as pleasant as sleeping in cold, wet bed.

However disturbing these two were, they were kind of good comic relief? Like, Megan’s mom is so French she fell asleep in her cocktail dress with her makeup on and a lit cigarette in her hand. And what was Emile’s Freudian slip about Sally’s cocktail attire? That eventually daughters must “spread their legs” and fly or something? That was totally creepy but if you enjoy this show you probably have a sick sense of humor in you somewhere.
Likability score: 70%

Oh gross, Roger. GROSS. Any amount of hilarity he brought to this episode was quickly erased by the way he SCARRED A CHILD. Little girls who aren’t old enough for gogo boots and makeup are definitely not old enough to walk in on her married houseguest/step grandmother blowing her dad’s business partner. I know Roger didn’t intend for that to happen, but even so, he pursued the blow job and is therefore responsible!
Likability score: 42%

Peggy seemed genuinely proud of Megan this episode, which was really lovely. However, rather than share a moment of women-in-a-man’s-world solidarity, which we’ve previously seen with Peggy and Joan, Peggy just scares Megan. But at least she tried — it’s more than many women working together in offices do.

Initially, I was disappointed in how, at the thought of a proposal, Peggy seemed to completely change. She went out and bought a bright pink dress with a bow on it, and started acting high at the thought of having a diamond on her finger. But, why dislike her for being excited about the thought of getting engaged? That’s normal! And she did seem elated, if slightly disappointed (but maybe it was just nerves?), at his actual question, which was if she’d move in with him. But I still haven’t worked out whether or not they have a healthy relationship and should pursue a future together or not. If she doesn’t want to have sex with him now, living together won’t help that. (Also has she told him about her baby?!)
Likability score: 89%

Joan seemed relieved that Peggy was not, in fact, engaged following her dinner. And they shared one of their moments of solidarity that make this series worthwhile for happy people who don’t just want to watch miserable people being miserable all the time! Rather than tsk tsk at the idea of Peggy and her man living together, as Peggy’s mother does, Joan congratulates her and says it’s better this way. After all, she has to divorce the guy she married who ended up not caring enough about her or her baby.
Likability score: 94%

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