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Pete Campbell: The Black Sheep of the Mad Men


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#1

American Snob

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Posted Aug 29, 2007 @ 5:44 PM

Discuss Pete Campbell, newlywed ad man who is constantly clashing with Don and his colleagues. I kind of feel sorry for him because his parents are really cold to him and it seems like he didn't have a pleasant childhood despite him being from a well-off family. I like him though because he dares to be original and different.
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#2

Impresario

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Posted Aug 29, 2007 @ 10:43 PM

I actually find him to be quite a pleasant fellow, despite his occassional mysogynistic streak! He definitely brings something to the table, although our friend Don Draper would be loath to admit it. Didn't he save that account by coining a slogan the client actually liked without taking the credit? And yes, I will admit that his boyish good looks have probably won me, I always liked the actor VK!
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#3

Dregel00X

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Posted Aug 30, 2007 @ 1:17 AM

I have to say that I enjoy the character of "Pete" tremendously. Itīs not a person I would like to meet in real life, but as a TV-character, he really pulled me into the show in the fourth episode.
I dont watch tv that much. "Mad Men" is the first show that have captured me for years. Much of it, I have to admit, is because I want to see how it turns out for "Pete".
Somehow, I wish for him to fail in life. To see him struggle would be entertaining and something I think these writers and actor would be able to really pull off in a good way. But I am also rooting for him. He have the name and the attitude, but also, at least from my point of view, false bravado and unability to understand people. I also dont think that anyone really cares for "Pete". And that it always have been like that. Maybe that is why he tries to hard and in a wrong way (stepping on others) mostly, to achieve something.
Very interesting. I am glad to see this show get itīs own thread.
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#4

stillshimpy

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Posted Aug 30, 2007 @ 2:29 AM

Pete doesn't strike me as being particularly talented, he's just convinced that he is. The slogan for Bethlehem steel was pretty tired, even for the time period. Also, when he was talking to his wife about his short story, and she was pointing out the things she didn't like, the story sounded dreadful and very much like an attempt at a Jack London redo.

Also, with the entire direct marketing, coming up with it independently and the amount of pride he took in that, I kind of assumed that Pete has yet to realize that a truly original thought might injure him because it is so foreign to his nature. Even the ad team was snarking on his choice of honeymoon spots; Niagra Falls. I like the character, not as a person, but he hasn't impressed me with any kind of flair for creative thinking. He seems oblivious to the fact that his heritage is really what keeps him secure in his position. Or maybe he suspects that, and that is part of what makes him so angry.

I was really convinced when he sent his wife into see her old boyfriend to get a story published that he was aware what she would be asked to do. Or at least suspected it as a probability. I think he'll fight dirty whenever, and as often as he can.

Edited by stillshimpy, Aug 30, 2007 @ 2:29 AM.

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#5

wineward

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Posted Aug 30, 2007 @ 11:06 AM

His transgression with Peggy aside, I actually see Pete as a sympathetic character. He did come from a well-to-do family, but as he said---they never gave him anything. Cold and uncaring. They worry more about their perceived status (evidenced by his father's fixing of the brother's drunk-driving escapade) than they do about supporting their son (not loaning the down-payment). And why would his father think that advertising was so vulgar? Advertising helps grease the wheels of commerce. Makes me wonder how Pops made his money.

I also didn't understand what was so horrible about meeting with the client and pitching his idea without Don there. Certainly not a firing offense in my book. He probably saved the account, but in the minds of the bosses, his breaking protocol (horror) was worse than them losing the fees.
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#6

tigerlily0

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Posted Aug 30, 2007 @ 12:33 PM

Did anybody else perhaps get the impression that Pete might have been adopted? Specifically during the scene with his parents. His father said something like "we gave you your name" (like in an adoption). Pete called his parents/family "you people", as if he wasn't one of them. The parents seemed to go overboard to help their other (biological?) son while not doing much for Pete (their adopted son?). And in other scenes, Pete seemed to resent when people only wanted him because of his (adopted?) family's history.

Or am I totally nuts?
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#7

stillshimpy

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Posted Aug 30, 2007 @ 12:56 PM

I don't think you're nuts at all, tigerlily0, but just thinking from this time period. Now it really stands out to have any emphasis put on a family name (unless your last name is Hilton, Gates, Rockefeller, etc.) but family breeding was considered an in for a long time. The "We gave you your name" (implication: and if that wasn't enough to build upon with a name like ours, then there is no hope for you) I think was just referring to that by being born into a family of substance and worth, he was given a name bound to impress. That his name equals a commodity.

I think the brother is probably the elder brother, and Pete the ne'er do well younger sibling that could never live up to his brother's image. As for "you people" it's a common phrase used for distancing, not necessarily indicative of actual separateness. If Pete's parents were able to have children, particularly given that a laudable name was supposed to bespeak good breeding, it is very unlikely they would have adopted. Family names, heritage tied to bloodlines, I think it is all there to contrast with Don's murky, and seemingly unsavory past. Pete's the silver spoon legacy, IMO.
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#8

Dregel00X

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Posted Aug 31, 2007 @ 1:58 AM

I think itīs one of the most terrible thing to do, as a parent, to favour one child over another. I donīt think Pete is adopted, but he is certainly a "sparechild". Maybe the one that was suppose to be a girl or are just the youngest who nobody expect anything from.
I fully believe that his life have been about competition. Iīm not trying to victimize the character at all, but I think that is why he is such a bad loser and competitive. But I think he knows somewhere deep down that he cannot win and I donīt think the character will, throughout the show. He just give me loser-vibes.

Anyway, the last episode was really screwed up. In a good way. Pete is a nutcase.
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#9

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Posted Aug 31, 2007 @ 9:49 AM

I think Pete is more perceptive then people give him credit for, but the bigwigs at Sterling Cooper are too entrenched in their own ego and time to realize that there are real changes at hand. Pete understands the youth generation that will grow increasingly relevant as the decade progresses. I think if anybody actually believed in Pete and nurtured him, he might actually be successful. But as it is his family thinks he's useless, his wife either walks all over him or just doesn't 'get' him, and the ad men think he's a rich punk who's only talent is his name. But if the guys at SC were in anyway perceptive, they might realize that Pete actually does have an interesting POV that they should listen to. They might regret they didn't after the Nixon campaign.
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#10

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Posted Aug 31, 2007 @ 3:00 PM

I think if Pete actually gets himself together and follows his own ad instincts, he'll be eating people like Roger Sterling for breakfast in a few years. Sterling Cooper is in no way prepared for the cultural shifts that are coming but I think Pete is.
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#11

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Posted Aug 31, 2007 @ 3:12 PM

Pete needs to do some serious gloating to Roger when Kennedy wins. As icky as he can be, Pete isn't dumb. He's not "people smart," but he has valid ideas and can think outside of a rigid little box. As awful as he is, I think Don realizes this about Pete, and that's why he's afraid of him deep down. Even Don looked taken aback at how Roger needled Pete at the meeting with his remarks about letting the grownups talk.

Somehow, I wish for him to fail in life. To see him struggle would be entertaining and something I think these writers and actor would be able to really pull off in a good way. But I am also rooting for him. He have the name and the attitude, but also, at least from my point of view, false bravado and unability to understand people. I also dont think that anyone really cares for "Pete". And that it always have been like that. Maybe that is why he tries to hard and in a wrong way (stepping on others) mostly, to achieve something.


This is exactly how I feel. IMO the credit goes entirely to Kartheiser. There's something about his performance that keeps me from completely hating Pete. I have no sympathy for Don or his emotional problems, but I can muster some sympathy for Pete.

Edited by lilarose6, Aug 31, 2007 @ 3:18 PM.

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#12

Dregel00X

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Posted Aug 31, 2007 @ 3:52 PM

I have rewatched the episode twice today. I have to agree with Pete are better suited for the new era then the "older" men. He really have a new way of seeing things. Like the youthfulness of Kennedy compared to Elvis.
I really hope we get to see the reactions of the others when Kennedy wins.
Pete definitivly have bright ideas. To bad they are overshadowed by his own insecurity. But on the other hand, he was whipped so many times in this episode that I donīt even wonder why.

I think this is my second favorite episode since "New Amsterdam". The Don/Roger setup, Pete balancing on the verge. How many more pushes do he really need? The shotgun and huntingfantasy was really brilliant! Not to mention Peggyīs reaction to it.
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#13

cheekymonkey

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Posted Sep 3, 2007 @ 11:00 AM

I agree with previous posters who stated that Pete is more in tune with the future change in the zeitgeist than either Don or Roger. Did Weiner say that every season will actually jump ahead a few years? If so, it will be very interesting to watch Pete's story arc. He may be the first person at the firm to let his hair grow longer, to get that the Beatles are more than a teenybopper fad, etc. He may also start to gain more confidence in himself and play dirty to get more power and influence. Heh, when that happens, Roger Sterling is going to have the shittiest retirement party evah!
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#14

stillshimpy

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Posted Sep 3, 2007 @ 11:13 AM

I have to amend my opinion on Pete, clearly he is creative, that hunting story was disturbing, but original.

The short story was about a bear's thoughts while being hunted, wasn't it? Pete seems to spend a fair amount of time detailing hunting scenarios. I have no idea what that indicates, but I find it slightly alarming while being amusing at the same time. I guess it is because he feels powerless a lot of the time and the hunting thing makes him feel more powerful but it is kind of a surprising side to him.
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#15

Dregel00X

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Posted Sep 3, 2007 @ 4:52 PM

TV
8. VINCENT KARTHEISER on Mad Men
Playing an ambitious young advertising exec on AMC's '60s-set show, the actor makes a really tough sell: He endears his smarmy character to us.



Glad to see the Kartheiser get some recognition too. From "Entertainment Weeklyīs". Things we love this week-list.

http://www.ew.com/ew...0054061,00.html

Funny thing is, it was my second youngest son that came over with a papercopy he made and kind of flipped it to me and casually said, "Look mum, Itīs about that guy you love so much"
Kids today. No respect.

Unfortunately, I missed the "talking bear" episode and didnīt have an oppertunity to record it.
But about the huntingstory and the talking bear. I have a stupid theory. I have a feeling that Pete feels a bit trapped and hunted himself and try to make up for it by fantasizing about it being the other way around.
I do think he really "personilize" himself with the bear. I think he feels uttery helpless.

I just cant wait to see whats happening. His wifes scolding and everyones beatdown on Pete was hilarious. No wonder he dreams about being something he so obviously arent.

Edited by Dregel00X, Nov 3, 2010 @ 8:01 PM.

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#16

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Posted Sep 3, 2007 @ 8:05 PM

Can I be shallow for just one second? All character flaws aside, everytime Pete walks into the room I think "Man he's pretty." Seriously, capital P Pretty. Pretty. Pretty. Pretty. Prettier than me, and I'm a girl. I mean, he's a pathetic creep. In real life, that's not something that I would ever look past, but I'll forgive it on TV for the prettiness. I hope the character lives up to your high expectations. I'd like so see him pitching advertising to the hippies...while looking pretty.

Edited by Bliggity, Sep 3, 2007 @ 8:07 PM.

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#17

Jacobite

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Posted Sep 4, 2007 @ 5:28 AM

This is slightly bizarre, but Pete's whole routine reminds me of the guy from America's Test Kitchen--he is an uber-dork, and then does these very strange monologues and editorials about being a Vermont he-man (when we were grilling in -40 weather/when my neighbor trapped a bobcat and bbq'd it while tanning the hide for a rustic slipcover/how he never gains any weight because he chops wood all day)--the Cook's Illustrated cracks me up every month with the sheer bow-tied incongruity. Maybe he is a Pete descendent.
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#18

unclewiggly

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Posted Sep 4, 2007 @ 1:24 PM

At one point, when asked if he knew who Pete's parents were, Don answers something like "No, except that they put out a mediocre product." Do you think Pete is meant to be a scion of the tomato-soup Campbells?
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#19

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Posted Sep 4, 2007 @ 1:48 PM

I didn't get the joke until you asked this question but clearly Pete himself is supposed to be the "mediocre product".
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#20

unclewiggly

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Posted Sep 4, 2007 @ 1:53 PM

Haaa! That's excellent. Mediocre indeed.
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#21

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Posted Sep 4, 2007 @ 5:40 PM

This is slightly bizarre, but Pete's whole routine reminds me of the guy from America's Test Kitchen--he is an uber-dork, and then does these very strange monologues and editorials about being a Vermont he-man


OMG, yes! Pete is Christopher Kimball! Those Cook's Illustrated editorials always do freak me out a little...

So I saw the pilot episode the week after it premiered, but didn't catch up on the rest of the series until this weekend. And honestly, Pete's growing on me. He's weird as all get out, but I usually feel bad for the characters that most of the other characters trample upon, and I think Pete fills that bill, given the lack of respect from his co-workers and higher-ups. Then there's the whole business with Trudy and the apartment and her parents' money, and, yeah, Pete rather strikes me as the Charlie Brown of the show. If Charlie Brown had potentially homicidal tendencies.

I was actually impressed with his interactions with women in the last episode, thinking particularly of the scenes at the department store and with Peggy. Granted, he did hit on the clerk in an attempt to get the refund, but it was only after she had shown herself to be receptive to flirtation from Matherton. He was friendly with Garish Hat Lady, though, and seemed to treat Peggy like an equal in the infamous hunting fantasy scene. It contrasted pretty starkly with Roger's and Don's interactions with women throughout the ep. Of course, at the same time, by exchanging the chip-and-dip without Trudy's knowledge or consent, he was showing disrespect to her... eh, it's complicated. Which is nice.

Edited by veritykindle85, Sep 4, 2007 @ 5:41 PM.

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#22

Dregel00X

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Posted Sep 5, 2007 @ 6:44 PM

So I saw the pilot episode the week after it premiered, but didn't catch up on the rest of the series until this weekend. And honestly, Pete's growing on me. He's weird as all get out, but I usually feel bad for the characters that most of the other characters trample upon, and I think Pete fills that bill, given the lack of respect from his co-workers and higher-ups. Then there's the whole business with Trudy and the apartment and her parents' money, and, yeah, Pete rather strikes me as the Charlie Brown of the show. If Charlie Brown had potentially homicidal tendencies.


I have to say that is my main reason for rooting for the character too. That and the fact that I also rooting for him to be trampled upon. Itīs weird. I want two wayīs with Pete. I want him to keep the anxiety and low selfasteem (or high selfasteem. Canīt really get a grip of him) But I also want him to keep falling on his face and get completely ridiculed.

I would love to see him be friendīs with a woman. Of all the characters I think he has the most potential to go there. Although I doubt that Peteīs and Peggyīs connection will be just friendly.

As I said before, I donīt know if Pete really knows how it is to be loved. He is trying hard to and fails miserable with that. Which I enjoy watching, even if it also make me sick. On a personal level, if you peel away all the smarmyness and the assholeness and the brattyness and crazyness and the creepyness I actually see myself in him. My own parents was really cold and preferred one of my siblings over the rest of us. I didnīt quite understand the concept of love until I had my first son.

And I donīt think he understand the concept either.

Edited by Dregel00X, Sep 5, 2007 @ 6:46 PM.

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#23

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 3:59 PM

Based on the way Pete's parents were dressed (I believe his mother was wearing a Christmas sweater well past Christmas and his father's clothes had seen better days.) and the remark about their name, I'm going to guess that his parents are old money who don't have much money left. As such, the father would be too proud to tell him there isn't much money regardless of whether or not he wanted to give him money. It also explains why the father would spend what he had to to protect their name.
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#24

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 4:13 PM

There has been a lot of talk about his mother being a Dykman and the fact that they used to own everything north of 125th St, but lost it all in the Depression. I assume the name prestige was the only thing they had left.

Does anyone know if there was a real Dykman family? I assume Dykman St. in Inwood was named after some Dykman, but haven't found out who it was.
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#25

Dregel00X

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 5:12 PM

I kind of wondering what will happen to Peteīs job when it getīs out. If itīs true. Interesting point ohmgrrl, I actually didnīt catch that! I really hope they go there.
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#26

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 5:21 PM

Does anyone know if there was a real Dykman family? I assume Dykman St. in Inwood was named after some Dykman, but haven't found out who it was.


I wondered this as well; I assume they would not use a real family because then they would be sort of married to that family's history. I think they picked Dykman becauSe it seems to be a common Dutch surname, appropos of Pete's old, old NY family, dating back pre-Revolutionary War, as referenced in Trudy's story told to the new CoOp Board lady. (Also referenced in the title "New Amsterdam")

Count me in as one who thinks Pete will kill someone before this is all over...what's that old rule? About "If you introduce a gun in Act I..."

When he told Peggy that hunting story, I thought for sure she would run screaming from the room. Imagine my surprise when she started that heavy breathing!
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#27

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 6:09 PM

Count me in as one who thinks Pete will kill someone before this is all over...what's that old rule? About "If you introduce a gun in Act I..."

When he told Peggy that hunting story, I thought for sure she would run screaming from the room. Imagine my surprise when she started that heavy breathing!


If he snaps, I could see him grabbing his gun and Peggy and them taking off cross-country Starkweather/Fugate style.

Edited by jackiecarr, Sep 6, 2007 @ 6:12 PM.

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#28

cocamars

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 11:09 PM

Can I be shallow for just one second? All character flaws aside, everytime Pete walks into the room I think "Man he's pretty." Seriously, capital P Pretty. Pretty. Pretty. Pretty. Prettier than me, and I'm a girl. I mean, he's a pathetic creep. In real life, that's not something that I would ever look past, but I'll forgive it on TV for the prettiness. I hope the character lives up to your high expectations. I'd like so see him pitching advertising to the hippies...while looking pretty.




Please allow me to be even more shallow.

Look up Vincent Kartheiser at IMDB.com. He was a teen actor. If you want to see pretty check out his early photos.

We're talking real perddy. Rob Lowe circa 1980's perddy.
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#29

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 11:21 PM

I like the way Pete pulls hair. Hee. Be as shallow as you like.
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#30

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Posted Sep 6, 2007 @ 11:41 PM

Oh god yes, that hair pulling is hot. But if he makes her cry again, I hope someone punches him in the face. Maybe Peggy has a brother.

cocamars, I'm a little old to be oggling pictures of teenagers. But, I also had a crush on VK back in his Angel days, so I know that the pretty isn't new.
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