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Pete Campbell: The Black Sheep of the Mad Men


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#691

SueB

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

And that it would probably be ummanly to be with a woman he admired...and yet he's actually the guy on the show who does that about his wife.


And he compliments Megan - I think sincerely. In Signal 30 there was some debate as to whether or not it was a dig but I think he was sincere. No way does he take a dig at Megan on "Don's night". At at the Codfish Ball he was sincere with "she's a natural." If anything, I think he's a little wistful. Possible thoughts:
- He's wistful or envious because Megan is succeeding so apparently effortlessly at creative work and he's a frustrated creative.
- He's wistful or envious because Don is genuinely impressed with Megan and it shows; Pete gets the "good job on Mohawk" but it's not with the enthusiasm that Don sincerely praises Megan. Sure, Don's praise could be seen from a perspective of "husband" but there is a genuineness in his voice that I think Pete understands.
I suspect Pete believes that Don looks at Accounts as a necessary evil so doing well there is just "necessary", not laudatory.

In an interview VK says that Pete admires Peggy. I really wish we'd get to see that sometime.
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#692

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 1:58 PM

In an interview VK says that Pete admires Peggy. I really wish we'd get to see that sometime.



I was rewatching old episodes, and noticed this when Freddy Rumsden is sent on sabbatical. Peggy is mad at Pete for telling Don, but Pete tells Peggy that this is good for both of them, as well as congratulating her. He treats her as a peer. It's interesting that Pete does not seem to see Peggy's success in the workplace as any kind of problem. Another example of his progressiveness?

I'd just like to see Pete and Peggy interact. They both seem to be hitting a rough patch this season, and it'd be intersting to see if they'd open up to each other, with their shared history and odd kinship.
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#693

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 2:19 PM

It's interesting that Pete does not seem to see Peggy's success in the workplace as any kind of problem. Another example of his progressiveness?


Pete seemed to turn the corner in S2. He's always been pragmatic about good business. He struggled to see why Admiral wouldn't go for targeting the African American market if it earned them more dough. Once separated from his ego, he saw Peggy's talent and was totally comfortable with it. I think he wouldn't have fallen in love with her in S2 if he hadn't been comfortable.

Also, he was perfectly fine with the German doctor's work. He even praised it.
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#694

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

It's interesting that Pete does not seem to see Peggy's success in the workplace as any kind of problem. Another example of his progressiveness?


I do think Pete is someone who admires people who go against the grain. And I think he is all about business and if a woman is the best man for the job so be it (just like if African Americans are buying a product then go for that market). He had his own issues with Peggy, obviously, but I think he admired her success. And saw it as something like his path except he was rebelling against his family not gender politics.

But I think most of the guys were pretty cool about Peggy's success. Freddy is the most traditionally minded and he was her biggest champion. Kinsey was jealous professionally but didn't have issues with her being a woman. Ken didn't care at all until he saw her at work and was then impressed and advocated for her. Don is Don. He didn't think of her much at all. And then she started to become an extension of himself for him to abuse and coddle alternatively.

She faced more subtle issues in that they woudln't invite her to strip clubs, she was given all of the women's accounts, and they would have sexually charged talk around and about her. But there were relatively few intentional road blocks once she got her foot in the door. So, I don't think it was just Pete being progressive.

Edited by Cherith, May 7, 2012 @ 11:13 AM.

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#695

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Although Pete did have that bizarre moment in season... 1, was it?, where he told Peggy that he didn't "like her that way" when she was doing the twist in front of him after their second rendezvous in the office. The hell was that about? Although considering he was all over her in season 2, he may have grown out of that bit of petulance, at least!

The more I think about it, the more I think that Beth is both Pete's perfect counterpart-- a person who seems to "have it all" but is actually depressed and living recklessly in the suburbs-- and the spark to his powder-keg. If they do have an affair-- and I'm betting she'll come back at least for next week, call it a hunch-- I think it'll spill over to his life is Cos Cob and cause a confrontation with poor, unsuspecting Trudy. I just can't see him being discrete when it comes to a longer-term liaison-- he falls in too deep, too easily! If Beth does give in and they actually end up spending time together, I think he might fall so hard that he'll end up running away with her and making a series of mistakes he'll regret afterward.
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#696

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 6:29 PM

Although Pete did have that bizarre moment in season... 1, was it?, where he told Peggy that he didn't "like her that way" when she was doing the twist in front of him after their second rendezvous in the office. The hell was that about?

You can read it in different ways--as "I don't want to see you having a good time that I can't share" or as "You're changing and I don't like it" or as "I don't like to see you trying too hard to be a party person, because I prefer the way you are when we're alone." It's kind of like Joan telling Lane that his not being like the others is a good thing. The message both times is that not all groups are worth fitting into, though of course Joan expresses it much better.

I'm betting that Pete will take an apartment in the city, especially if he doesn't want to see Howard on the train any more or risk running into Beth. At the end of the season, he will either decide he wants to continue his marriage and either he or Trudy will give way on where to live; or he and Trudy will split for good.
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#697

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 9:58 PM

I had the feeling that Pete was trying to get caught with Beth. Maybe he wanted to be found out so he could be all "Hey look at me! I can get the ladies! I'm sleeping around, just like a big shot ad exec!" He was being awfully careless, calling her, kissing her at that awkward insurance emergency. Pete definitely is self-destructive, but why? Does he feel like he doesn't deserve what he has?
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#698

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 11:31 PM

It's an interesting idea because it's kind of anachronistic, isn't it? I mean, the idea that a woman could be flattered the way men can, by someone treating them like they're important and the things they're doing are very important to the world and make him admire them. Everything he's been taught probably tells him that won't work with women except to flatter their looks, which is slightly different. And that it would probably be ummanly to be with a woman he admired...


I couldn't help thinking, if, after Beth had said "[men] don't listen, they just watch my lips move", Pete had said something along the lines of "then they were fools", things might have turned out a little differently for him. But I think what hampers him is that, in his personal life, he can't stop making it all about himself. He wants to be the hero, the Don Juan, "the king".
He wants a big emotional rush for himself and he apparently wants Beth to feel one too but he's too self-centered/too much of a romantic that he thinks her feelings should just spontaneously emerge as well, that there's no art to evoking them at all (which, perhaps, is why he's failed at the creative end of things in advertising?).
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#699

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 12:09 AM

There is one thing he shares with Don, though: Just like Don, he makes all of his affairs with women all about him. Don would never be gauche enough-- or clumsy enough-- to need to say something like: "Why do women have the power to say no and stop you?" But they both share that massive sense of entitlement-- and both hold onto a deep sense of rage when they feel they've been denied of what they want from women as well.
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#700

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 1:32 AM

I had the feeling that Pete was trying to get caught with Beth. Maybe he wanted to be found out so he could be all "Hey look at me! I can get the ladies! I'm sleeping around, just like a big shot ad exec!" He was being awfully careless, calling her, kissing her at that awkward insurance emergency. Pete definitely is self-destructive, but why? Does he feel like he doesn't deserve what he has?

Reminds me of that Roger line an episode ago about how he was just trying to blow up his life.
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#701

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 10:53 AM

I couldn't help thinking, if, after Beth had said "[men] don't listen, they just watch my lips move", Pete had said something along the lines of "then they were fools", things might have turned out a little differently for him. But I think what hampers him is that, in his personal life, he can't stop making it all about himself. He wants to be the hero, the Don Juan, "the king".


But "Then they were fools" is actually the Don Juan line imo. What Pete said was something about how he wanted to hear what she had to say. Which could be the same idea, claiming that he alone is the person who would listen to her. Except that it seems like as played at least in that moment, he really was listening to her when he said it--very carefully, even asking for a (slightly jokey) explanation of what she said. And the next day he brought up what she said to Harry. He was trying to analyze what she said/did to understand the meaning.

I mean, I'm not disagreeing that Pete wants things to be all about him, to "be the king." And one could easily bring it back to that by saying that Pete just wants to be the white knight who's better than other men--he's never completely altruistic. But in this case Pete was confused by Beth, he was trying to understand her. He was frustrated, but I don't think in this case it's quite accurate to just say that he feels entitled to women's attention and angry when he doesn't get what he thinks he's deserved. He can be like that, absolutely. But in this case he really was getting some mixed signals and the woman really was the one who took what she wanted for her own purposes and then cut him off--but not completely, because that heart was a total "WTF does that mean??!" moment.

It can get difficult to talk about something like that because they live in a wider culture where the men are absolutely entitled and have all the power--that was definitely a big part of Pete's encounter with the nanny, for instance. But in this case, despite the fact that this woman was in an emotionally dark place, I think she did manipulate another person (also in a dark place) emotionally. She doesn't owe Pete more sex just because he wants it. But it's not just male entitlement for a person to want a relationship after being approached for sex. Someone someplace said they never liked Pete because he was "like a girl" and not in a good way, and while I don't know completely what that meant I thought in this ep he was the one in the traditional MM girl role. (Interesting since Peggy is often trying on the traditional male role this season.)

Look at Beth's hobo story, for instance. She doesn't like New York--which Pete takes personally and gets defensive about. She's bothered by the homeless while he can think of New York and "not see them" (just as he enjoys the sound of traffic that bothers Trudy and Trudy doesn't hear the faucet that bothers Pete). But then she gets into that whole story of how her trouble is she "makes eye contact" with them and gives them a nickel and they follow her. So Pete's the hobo she made eye contact with. Except she didn't give him a nickel, she used him for something she needed. She didn't sleep with him because she felt sorry for him.

Then there's the whole question of why the homeless follow her. One could say she's an easy mark. But the reason eye contact means something to the homeless is they are treated as invisible. Someone actually seeing them is a big thing, and they're desperate for that nickel. So it's just a really interesting and kind of ambiguous story that both does and doesn't map onto her interaction with Pete.
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#702

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 11:43 AM

@ChromaKelly. I think Pete is in what I would call the Purple Passion Phase (as opposed to the lavender haze). I had a work buddy (male) who was an otherwise normal guy go thru this. Yes he was in mid-life crises but when he met a married woman that he fell for (she's perfect!) it was like the rest of his life was in shades of grey and everything about her was exhilarating color. He eventually "sobered" up, got things back in perspective, and squared away his own life but for a while he was taking awful risks- it was like dealing with a drug addict - and nothing I said could snap him out of it. Pete felt like that to me this week. My friend use to describe it like he felt his ego was being blown up like a helium balloon. It was hard to keep his feet on the ground.
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#703

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

The scene where Beth and Pete first kiss and then have sex seemed really stilted and artificial to me - jarringly so. Maybe I'm giving the show too much credit, but I'm wondering if that was too indicate that Beth was role-playing a bit. She astutely puts out the bait designed to appeal to the fish she has caught - a slight suggestion of suicidal impulses that's perfect for awould-be "chevalier blanc" who is fighting depression. Not to say that she really isn't desperately unhappy; she is, but she's definitely manipulative as well. She's playing a game with a stranger to act out her real feelings and to pay back her husband.

This is her roleplay - like Megan's roleplay with Don after the Zou Zou Bisou debacle - the difference being, of course, that Pete doesn't know that he's playing a role. It's another instance of Pete getting into a situation that Don would understand instinctively, but in which Pete is totally out of his depth. The danger in the scenario is that Pete doesn't know he's playing somebody else's game until he's too caught up to quit.

That's why I saw the intentional ambiguity of her final action as being really stupid on Beth's part. Drawing in the heart on the window is encouraging him, when she's already tried to reject him. The message she makes by rolling down the window isn't clear at all. Is she saying that their "love" can never be, or just trying to hide her "love note" from her husband? The game is over, and Beth should just be clear about what she wants. I guess she finds Pete's attention flattering rather than threatening, but she's playing with someone who's unstable, and that isn't smart or kind.
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#704

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 1:16 PM

But "Then they were fools" is actually the Don Juan line imo.


True, but saying it would show that Pete understood the Don Juan role as opposed to just desiring it.


What Pete said was something about how he wanted to hear what she had to say. Which could be the same idea, claiming that he alone is the person who would listen to her. Except that it seems like as played at least in that moment, he really was listening to her when he said it--very carefully, even asking for a (slightly jokey) explanation of what she said. And the next day he brought up what she said to Harry. He was trying to analyze what she said/did to understand the meaning.


I don’t think he was trying to analyze it objectively, though. I think he took it very, very personally – that that Earth, as seen from space, is somehow sad and vulnerable, and it upset him that she thought of him that way. I think she was looking for a kindred spirit – someone who is also vulnerable – and he IS, but he wasn’t capable of hearing that because it conflicted too much with how he wants to be perceived by women / in sexual relationships.


I mean, I'm not disagreeing that Pete wants things to be all about him, to "be the king." And one could easily bring it back to that by saying that Pete just wants to be the white knight who's better than other men--he's never completely altruistic. But in this case Pete was confused by Beth, he was trying to understand her. He was frustrated, but I don't think in this case it's quite accurate to just say that he feels entitled to women's attention and angry when he doesn't get what he thinks he's deserved. He can be like that, absolutely. But in this case he really was getting some mixed signals and the woman really was the one who took what she wanted for her own purposes and then cut him off--but not completely, because that heart was a total "WTF does that mean??!" moment.

Look at Beth's hobo story, for instance. She doesn't like New York--which Pete takes personally and gets defensive about. She's bothered by the homeless while he can think of New York and "not see them" (just as he enjoys the sound of traffic that bothers Trudy and Trudy doesn't hear the faucet that bothers Pete). But then she gets into that whole story of how her trouble is she "makes eye contact" with them and gives them a nickel and they follow her. So Pete's the hobo she made eye contact with. Except she didn't give him a nickel, she used him for something she needed. She didn't sleep with him because she felt sorry for him.

Then there's the whole question of why the homeless follow her. One could say she's an easy mark. But the reason eye contact means something to the homeless is they are treated as invisible. Someone actually seeing them is a big thing, and they're desperate for that nickel. So it's just a really interesting and kind of ambiguous story that both does and doesn't map onto her interaction with Pete.


Pete wants to be admired as an alpha male, and he’s constantly comparing himself to people (Don) he thinks are genuinely admired and loved in that way, whereas he believes he’s not appreciated by anyone. Yes, Trudy appreciates him, but she’s a bit of a steamroller (or, perhaps, a domineering mother), and while on one level he truly values her, her feelings for him don’t fulfill his fantasies of how he wants to be loved. He struggles to maintain what he sees as his appropriate gender role in that relationship – yes, he’s the provider, but her parents have supported their home purchases, and he can’t do manly things like fix the plumbing.

When Beth seemed very willing, for a few minutes, to accept his “rescue” from her emotional and sexual loneliness he was able to feel like the hero he wants people to see in him, but what Beth wanted wasn’t a white knight; she wanted a soul mate. I believe, in her mind, that she’s the hobo – she’s looking for the person who’s going to understand her, and Pete gave off that vibe (the vibe of invisibility? or maybe a big-eyed lost puppy look?). Then, when she realized Pete wasn’t what she was looking for, when they couldn’t bond over the vulnerability of life on Earth together, she decided that Pete wasn’t worth risking her personal financial insurance (her husband). Manipulative, maybe, but I don’t think consciously so. I think she took a risk, didn’t get her expected outcome, and decided not to double down on her bet. The heart on the window was, I think, a repeat of her “I’ll remember you fondly, I’ll even fantasize about you” statement on the phone. But then she erased her heart and went on with her life. It made me wonder if she has, perhaps, been in this situation before.


Someone someplace said they never liked Pete because he was "like a girl" and not in a good way, and while I don't know completely what that meant I thought in this ep he was the one in the traditional MM girl role. (Interesting since Peggy is often trying on the traditional male role this season.)

Well, what I find interesting about Peggy and Pete is the difference in the way they react to their assigned gender roles. Peggy has never seemed to me to be comfortable in a traditionally feminine role. I don’t even think she enjoys trying it on. She doesn’t like babies, seduction is a mystery to her, and she’s incapable of suppressing her own opinions in order to butter up a man’s ego. Nor does she really seem to understand that women who are able to negotiate that role are real people: Her comment to Joan that “someone dumped you?” and that Megan was “one of those girls who are good at everything!” to me mirror the way Pete admires but doesn’t understand Don’s masculinity and all its problems. The difference is that Peggy doesn’t seem angry that she’s no good at being feminine*, whereas Pete’s very conflicted about not being the type of man he wants to be.


*Until recently. She’s been getting a lot of messages lately that she’s not “the wife” – Abe didn’t want to marry her; Joan told her she’s not the kind of girl that Don Draper marries; she failed at being his fake wife in the test kitchen, etc. I suppose we’ll begin to see if she goes through some kind of crisis to parallel Pete’s later this season.
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#705

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:00 PM

Although Pete did have that bizarre moment in season... 1, was it?, where he told Peggy that he didn't "like her that way" when she was doing the twist in front of him after their second rendezvous in the office. The hell was that about?


Pete preferred Peggy when they were alone together and letting their rather odd, socially inept selves show. When Peggy manages to interact socially with others, it removes her from their odd little private bond, and - I think- he also knows it's an act (or at least an effort for her). There's a very similar scene when she gets all dressed up and goes to the strip club. Pete looks at her like he knows she is putting on an act.

But in this case Pete was confused by Beth, he was trying to understand her. He was frustrated, but I don't think in this case it's quite accurate to just say that he feels entitled to women's attention and angry when he doesn't get what he thinks he's deserved. He can be like that, absolutely. But in this case he really was getting some mixed signals and the woman really was the one who took what she wanted for her own purposes and then cut him off


I agree. I think if Pete were really just looking for some casual encounters to make him feel more like Don, then he would have been happy for the encounter with Beth to be a one-time thing. Another notch on the bedpost, and a sense of smugness every time he met her husband on the train. However, Pete is so chronically needy for a sense of connection that he fell very fast and very hard and started obsessing about her. She was a possible lifeline. He was genuinely enjoying their intimate talk on the floor, and he mulled over her comment about the earth for a while afterwards (mentioning it to Harry) - suspecting that there was some hint there about why he had been rejected that he had missed (Pete seems aware that he is not very skilled socially).

I thought the suicide reference was a bit ominous. I also noted that the traffic noise seemed very loud when he was waiting for Beth in the hotel room - which straightaway made me wonder if the window was open and how many floors up he was. On the other hand, I wasn't sure if the increasing noise was supposed to be saying something about Pete's mental state.
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#706

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:02 PM

When Beth seemed very willing, for a few minutes, to accept his “rescue” from her emotional and sexual loneliness he was able to feel like the hero he wants people to see in him, but what Beth wanted wasn’t a white knight; she wanted a soul mate.


Did she want that? I'm not so sure. Or at least I'm not so sure she was so sure. She seemed to pick up Pete because she wanted to have sex with someone for revenge/stimulation. She played the part of damsel in distress to bring out the White Knight in the stranger she was talking to. In their conversation about the earth, I suppose it could have gone differently if Pete had turned out to have had the same feelings about the pictures of the earth as she did, but I don't know if he tipped his alpha male hand that much. I mean, saying he would listen to her isn't understanding the alpha male role, but if she wasn't looking for that it wouldn't be a problem. It's an invitation to hear what she has to say. Asking "So you don't like my eyes?" showed he wasn't that tuned in to what she was saying, but it also echoed Pete's vulnerability throughout the episode in terms of being so desperate to know if he had a chance or if she liked him. I assumed she'd decided beforehand that she was going to sleep with this guy once and send him on his way.

Basically, I can't totally get a bead on how they came across to each other. The actress who played Beth said that she felt she connected to Pete but that she didn't think she could risk the affair. Pete's lamentations about her giving him hope were all about him, but he was also pretty nakedly vulnerable in his desperation to have her. He definitely did it all wrong if he was trying to be Don or Roger with their bit on the side, but I didn't get the impression that Beth was looking for a soul mate and Pete didn't pass the test because he was too stuck in his role of savior or alpha male.

If I could ask somebody at the show a question, I would absolutely love to know what decisions went into Pete's look in their afterglow scene. It seems like it just couldn't be unintentional that he looks so young, happy and unguarded there. I guess that's why to me it seems like if Beth was looking for vulnerability in him she would have found it.
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#707

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:05 PM

When Beth seemed very willing, for a few minutes, to accept his “rescue” from her emotional and sexual loneliness he was able to feel like the hero he wants people to see in him, but what Beth wanted wasn’t a white knight; she wanted a soul mate. I believe, in her mind, that she’s the hobo – she’s looking for the person who’s going to understand her, and Pete gave off that vibe (the vibe of invisibility? or maybe a big-eyed lost puppy look?).

I'm sure Pete initiated the encounter to play out his typical white knight thing, but over the course of it I think he decided he'd found a soulmate too. After all, the story about watching the hobos is something Pete can certainly relate to -- his blessing and his curse is that he's so far on the outside of normal social convention that he sees all the things other people take for granted and he can't figure out why they do.

The difference between them, I imagine, is that Beth was just looking for solace, while Pete was looking for rescue. That seems like part of the subtext of their postcoital talk about Pete's eye. Beth was all, "It's amazing! You're all alone in the universe, just like me!" whereas Pete was hoping for "We're not alone anymore! We have each other!"

Edited by Dev F, May 8, 2012 @ 2:07 PM.

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#708

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:32 PM

I thought Beth was feeling a bit desperate about her husband's affair and Pete - unfortunately for him - just happened to be there. He could have been anyone. For Pete, though, it was different. I think Sister Magpie's earlier comment is relevant here:

When he sees the chance for somebody liking him personally he gets too needy and demanding.



And how! Pete misreads the situation totally due to a number of things: some mixed signals, his usual problem in reading social situations, and his chronic unhappiness - and dives straight in. Calling her, engineering the visit, inviting her to the hotel - his sudden obsessiveness is quite scary.
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#709

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 3:07 PM

The difference between them, I imagine, is that Beth was just looking for solace, while Pete was looking for rescue. That seems like part of the subtext of their postcoital talk about Pete's eye. Beth was all, "It's amazing! You're all alone in the universe, just like me!" whereas Pete was hoping for "We're not alone anymore! We have each other!"


Just had to look at their dialogue again. If you take all their lines and separate them into two monologues, there's a really clear difference in what they're saying and the different tones. Beth's is a monologue about the world, things outside herself: her behavior, men, the earth in space. Her questions to Pete often use that structure that makes the question a statement about her own opinion. Pete's is nearly all questions, confusion and entreaties to her. If you put it all together, she's resolved. He sounds, well, desperate.

Beth: I used to be like this. Just reckless. I’ve had men paying attention to me since before it was appropriate. They don’t care what I say. They just watch my lips move. Your irises are so blue and round. Have you seen those pictures of the earth from space? It didn’t bother you to see the earth tiny and unprotected, surrounded by darkness? This can never happen again. No, I mean it. You should get home. Why [don't you want to leave me here in my house]? I’m fine now. I’m going to have a snack and go to bed. Thank you for the ride home.

Pete: What do you mean? I can’t believe that happened. Say something. I’m listening to every word you say. I have [seen the pictures of the earth from space]. I’ll take that as a compliment. So you don’t like my eyes? What? No, of course. I– Okay. I don’t want to leave you here. I don’t want to leave you.
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#710

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 6:51 PM

This week, Pete Campbell discovers what generations of suburban teenagers have always known: Car = Sex. He doesn't even have to get an apartment in the city now that he's got wheels. He can take whatever train he wants without making plans with Trudy. He's freeeeee! And he is generally behaving like a suburban teenager this week.

I don't think it's inappropriate to compare Pete and Don in this situation, because I imagine that is what Pete does. The big difference between them (besides their looks, which is not an insignificant factor) is that Pete has always felt wronged. He grew up in a world of high society where his family name is highly revered, but he never had the money to keep up the lifestyle. He felt personally wronged by his father's failure to provide him what he considered his due. Don (whose childhood dream was indoor plumbing) wanted the big time, but has never shown that he felt entitled to it. Part of what I see when Don looks at Megan is his realization of how well he has done for himself. All his years of hustling and scheming have paid off in this beautiful woman in this beautiful home. I think part of what this season is about is Don learning gratitude and appreciation for his achievements.

No matter how much Pete achieves for himself, it will never be enough, never fill the hole of need he's carried all his life. Pete believes he deserves a beautiful woman and a beautiful home, and beautiful mistresses, and getting his short stories published. Whatever he has for himself, he always envies what other people have even more. He's always measuring his success against others. But because he believes that he inherently deserves success, Pete is blind to how hard Don has worked to achieve it, what risks he has taken, and the cost that he's paid for it. He has no patience, no long game. Don wooed Megan, pacing himself, flattering her, showing his appreciation, charming her into his bed. Pete attempts a manly role, telling Beth she shouldn't be home alone, but then bolts and begins kissing her without any warm-up. He is still very much a little boy, and it's not pretty. Don never had a chance to be a little boy. He may not be admirable, but he has a kind of self-control and determination that Pete will never match.
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#711

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 7:04 PM

He grew up in a world of high society where his family name is highly revered, but he never had the money to keep up the lifestyle. He felt personally wronged by his father's failure to provide him what he considered his due.


Pete didn't know his father was broke until after he died. Pete "lived the lifestyle" growing up but Pete made the decision to pursue advertising rather than go into the financial business like Bud. So I think Pete chose to break with his father in that regard. He didn't want to ask his Dad for money but did because Trudy wanted the apartment. I think his disappointment was far less about the money than about his father's continue contempt for who Pete was. And when his father died and they were talking about inheritance Pete said "we were never going to get that" and his brother replied "YOU weren't". So I think Pete was his own version of a self-made man. Of course he would want the money if he got it but he was not counting on it. His first thought about the apartment was how to pay for it on $75/week. It's JMO but I don't think:

Pete believes he deserves a beautiful woman and a beautiful home, and beautiful mistresses, and getting his short stories published.

this is his dream anymore. I could be wrong. YMMV.
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#712

JudyObscure

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 7:22 PM

What worries me about Pete is the anger toward women that he revealed in his scene with Harry.

Pete:

They do whatever they want, even to Draper. They work it over in their minds, turn it off and on when they feel like, and we're just there, waiting at attention. It's not the way it's supposed to be.

Why do they give you a glimmer of hope in the midst of rejection? A little thread to hang on to, a misplaced word, a suggestion of the future. Under a court of law it would look like an accident, but it's not.

Why do they get to decide what's going to happen?


What the heck, Pete? Is he talking about Beth, Trudy, Peggy or his mother? His mother's lack of love, (glimmer of hope in the midst of rejection?) Trudy's take charge nature, Beth acting out her own fantasy on Pete without considering his feelings, Peggy having his baby and giving it up without letting him know about it. It may all be about to blow up in an act of violence.
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#713

Sister Magpie

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 7:39 PM

No matter how much Pete achieves for himself, it will never be enough, never fill the hole of need he's carried all his life. Pete believes he deserves a beautiful woman and a beautiful home, and beautiful mistresses, and getting his short stories published. Whatever he has for himself, he always envies what other people have even more. He's always measuring his success against others. But because he believes that he inherently deserves success, Pete is blind to how hard Don has worked to achieve it, what risks he has taken, and the cost that he's paid for it. He has no patience, no long game. Don wooed Megan, pacing himself, flattering her, showing his appreciation, charming her into his bed. Pete attempts a manly role, telling Beth she shouldn't be home alone, but then bolts and begins kissing her without any warm-up. He is still very much a little boy, and it's not pretty. Don never had a chance to be a little boy. He may not be admirable, but he has a kind of self-control and determination that Pete will never match.


I don't think either Don or Pete appreciate the struggle has had equally. Pete has shown a lot of hard work and patience at his job, and while he does have problems with bitterness and envy he has dealt with disappointments at work and worked around them.

I have a hard time seeing this season as Don learning to be grateful or appreciative at all. He's been letting the entire office down while he focused on Megan, who he didn't woo at any pace at all. He slept with her once when she offered, later hit on the opportunity for a babysitter and then got so carried away at how nice it was having her fulfill the role of wife he proposed on the spot. There was little to no wooing involved. This season he's been working hard to make the marriage work, certainly, but that doesn't seem about appreciation so much as him needing to make it work for himself as much as her. And he's announced that if only he'd been married to the right girl the first time he'd have succeeded then too--Don didn't appreciate his wife, kids and house in the suburbs at the time. It's easy to say nice things about it all now that he's got a different life in the city. Just this week he took out his anger on Peggy who's been picking up his slack and he hasn't shown any other appreciative gestures to anyone but Megan.

What the heck, Pete? Is he talking about Beth, Trudy, Peggy or his mother? His mother's lack of love, (glimmer of hope in the midst of rejection?)


I think in context it's very much his experience with Beth where he's not getting what he's want, but beyond that he's probably talking about life in general. He doesn't seem to have that much anger against Trudy or Peggy.

Edited by Sister Magpie, May 8, 2012 @ 7:41 PM.

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#714

SueB

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 7:47 PM

Beth's is a monologue about the world, things outside herself: her behavior, men, the earth in space. Her questions to Pete often use that structure that makes the question a statement about her own opinion. Pete's is nearly all questions, confusion and entreaties to her. Sister Magpie


Excellent observation. I thought his "so you don't like my eyes" was half joke/half confusion. He didn't seem upset. He wanted to understand.


Is he talking about Beth, Trudy, Peggy or his mother? His mother's lack of love, (glimmer of hope in the midst of rejection?) Trudy's take charge nature, Beth acting out her own fantasy on Pete without considering his feelings, Peggy having his baby and giving it up without letting him know about it. JudyObscure


e. all of the above

But I don't get how Pete feeling powerless about women translates to anger or rape culture (as Sister Magpie referenced...somewhere...). Pete's arc this year is all about powerlessness and inability to control his life. I don't think it's just a focus on women. As mentioned multiple times, Pete is not alpha male, he's beta male. And he's drawn to strong women. He didn't truly fall in love with Peggy until after he saw her strength and then he called her "perfect."

While MW likes to zag while I'm expecting zig, I don't see violence against women as his thing. "No ... of course" was his instinctual reaction when Beth said it couldn't happen again. Of course then he got needy and pushed but I never felt Beth was physically threatened. And she responded ever so briefly to his insta-kiss when Howard stepped out of the room IMO. No, he was trying to take "control" but violence did not enter my mind.


In sum, Pete's identity crisis and trying to figure out his role in life covers a wide spectrum IMO. His relationship with women is just one aspect.

BTW I DO think there's no surprise we are seeing Pete's infidelities on screen while Don is tame-boy. Roger is only moderately interesting because he's not really all that passionate with anyone but Joan. That leaves Pete's character to take on adultery duty this year. Not that I think this meta topic actually drove storyline this year but in the ebb and flow of what is going on, I think it fits neatly in the MM model.

I'd also like to point out how much MW kept emphasizing last year and pre-season how Pete and Trudy had the only good marriage. Ha! Pull my finger again Mr Weiner.
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#715

JudyObscure

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 6:09 AM

e. all of the above


That would have been my answer.

I know he was thinking about Beth when he was talking to Harry but I also think there was a subconscious text toward all the women he's cared about. He hasn't shown any anger toward Peggy for keeping his son a secret, other than "Why are you telling me this?" which spoke to her cruelty in telling him when it was far too late, but I think he must have resentment about that.


Pete's arc this year is all about powerlessness and inability to control his life.


I agree with that. I don't think Pete was at all violent with Beth and he has allowed Trudy to have control of most of their domestic life, so I'm not suggesting that he has been violent up to this point, with the possible exception of what happened with the au pair, but I do think I see it simmering. He sounded very angry during the speech to Harry and the focus of his frustration was women.
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#716

Sister Magpie

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

I don't think Pete was at all violent with Beth and he has allowed Trudy to have control of most of their domestic life, so I'm not suggesting that he has been violent up to this point, with the possible exception of what happened with the au pair, but I do think I see it simmering. He sounded very angry during the speech to Harry and the focus of his frustration was women.


That's true--though I do think, also, that part of it is that the culture puts a target on all women like that. Don said he wouldn't have ruined his marriage if his first wife had been Betty. Greg expects Joan to make him feel like a man. Pete looks to Peggy and Beth to give him some meaning in his life. I think a lot of times with most of the men women become a symbol or something that's supposed to give them something in themselves, so it's all too easy for Pete's frustrations about everything to get translated into a metaphor about a beautiful woman teasing him with the possibility of happiness and then taking it away. Or just stringing him along.

It's interesting, btw, that I read another interview with Alex Bleidel where they asked her about the heart on the window. The word she used was "torture." That she was essentially torturing the guy by confusing him, and maybe she'd done that before. She didn't seem to be saying that Beth was a villain, but she did seem to feel that she got something out of having this guy pining for her. So while it's wrong to project this kind of attitude on women as a group, they can have bad impulses just as anyone else can.
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#717

Lollia Pollina

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

Although I didn't agree with Pete's misogynistic speech at all, I thought it reflected his situation with Beth. He was being manipulated by her. He generalized his experience with her to "all women".

She used him to assure herself that she was still desirable and to get some minor and hidden revenge on her cheating husband, which reminded me a lot of Betty's action in Meditations in an Emergency. The difference, of course, being that Betty was a lot more obvious about what she wanted in that situation (sex) and the limits of what was going on (once only, no emotional connection, etc.) Beth was never so clear.

Pete may have wanted a "side-dish" to start, but he fell for Beth. He convinced himself that he had found a soulmate, someone as lost in suburbia as he was himself. And having found his damsel in distress, she turns away from him. The princess doesn't want to be rescued! From his point of view, she gave him a glimmer of hope and then rejected him.

It's interesting, btw, that I read another interview with Alex Bleidel where they asked her about the heart on the window. The word she used was "torture."


I pretty well agree with her assessment there, though I don't think Beth actually intended to torture him.
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#718

WaltzinSpringTm

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 11:13 AM

As men have been looking at and wanting Beth since before it was appropriate, and her husband is that schlubby insurance salesman, I seriously had trouble buying into the story because I don't buy her married to him. I can see hubby cheating, but with the hot types he describes, nope.
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#719

Sister Magpie

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 11:22 AM

Just watched The Orange Couch review of this ep, and they had an interesting take on this ep contrasted authenticity with its opposite, and people trying to be true to themselves. Megan wants to act, the Beatles wanted to make art vs. Roger counseling routine, Joan referring to the second wive's 'playbook' and Don being ambivalent. Cool Whip is fake whipped cream (just taste it!), the guys listened to fake Beatles that sounded nothing like the real thing and the Thomas Pynchon book is about what's real.

I mention it here because they put Pete on the 60s side of things. He knows Beth is playing games with him--he says this out loud when he tells her she just wants to get back at her husband and when he talks to Harry (repeating her words about the earth word for word proving once again that he was listening), but he still feels compelled to play along because it feels right to him. Even if he's going through stop signs and heading for a crash, Pete was basically being authentic in this ep, which is maybe why he looked so different with Beth.

I think the authentic characters were therefore the ones focused on in the montage, the ones who were turning off their minds and floating downstream: Megan, Pete and Peggy (with Stan).
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#720

Inquisitionist

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Posted May 11, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

her husband is that schlubby insurance salesman, I seriously had trouble buying into the story

Use your imagination. :-) Howard may not have been "schlubby" when he and Beth met. The actor playing Howard has vivid blue eyes and can look much more appealing than we've seen him as Howard. Besides, attractive women often marry (or step out with) men of lesser-looks for other reasons: charm, power, sense of humor.
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