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Mad Secretaries: Hildy, Allison, Lois & Olive


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#1

Constantinople

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 1:58 PM

The Rodney Dangerfields of Sterling Cooper. The get no respect. They're not on the org chart; they have to eat last when food's brought in to the office (no Ladies First there); they don't have last names (except for Miss Blankenship, who I don't believe has ever appeared on screen); even Polly & Chauncey got their own thread before they did.

Hildy: I like that gives Pete attitude from time-to-time, such as when she found out he told on Freddy Rumsen. I'm not sure if that speaks well of Pete that she's still his secretary, or just that he couldn't care less what Hildy thinks. Based on her comments to Pete about adopting a baby, and to Harry during his baby shower, I get the sense she wouldn't be averse to getting married and having children, but just hasn't found the right guy yet.

Allison: As boewyr noted in the Seven Twenty Three episode thread, she gave a great "No shit" face to Don after telling her to hold his calls while meeting with Conrad Hilton. Based that alone, I like her, but for some reason, I wish she wouldn't hang out with Ken as much. So far, she appears to be Don's idea of a perfect secretary. She doesn't need to be told what to do (the aforementioned face); she's good at her job (not Lois), but doesn't appear to be ambitious for another position (not Peggy) and she's not Jane.

Lois: Poor Lois. Crushing on Sal; getting her scarf caught in the copier; severing Guy MacKendrick's foot with a lawn mower. I hope she sticks around, but I don't see how they can keep her after that. Still, she was the perfect person to prank call Peggy about her roommate search. And she can political, albeit in small way (telling Ken, Harry, Paul & Sal what she knew about the merger in exchange for getting her off the switchboard).

Olive: A bit of a mother hen, and I still don't understand why she went into the office to help Peggy over the weekend. Still, I think Peggy's better off having Olive as her secretary than someone closer to Peggy's age, such as Lola, who couldn't be as professional. I wonder if Peggy asked for a secretary who wouldn't be the object of attention from Ken, Hooker et al., or if that was Joan's idea.

#2

Mod Suit

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 2:17 PM

I would gladly watch a spin-off about Hildy and Pete.

#3

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 2:29 PM

Hey! What about Lola?

#4

ags

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 3:50 PM

A bit of a mother hen, and I still don't understand why she [Olive] went into the office to help Peggy over the weekend.

I wonder if it is some kind of code for certain secretaries, especially executive secretaries (or wannabe executive secretaries) on The West Wing I remember Margaret saying to Leo a couple of times, "I go home when you go home," or something to that effect and Olive said a variation of that to Peggy when Peggy asked why she came into the office on that week-end.

Edited by ags, Sep 30, 2009 @ 3:54 PM.


#5

Justine2003

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 8:19 PM

Constantinople, you read my mind! I was just thinking this week about starting a Mad Secretaries thread – definitely for Hildy and Allison. I wasn’t sure yet if Olive will be permanent and if Lois will get to stick around, considering the lawnmower incident. : )
I feel Allison is doing a good job! It’s kind of nice to have a secretary there who doesn’t cause drama. (Jane seemed competent enough at her job, but definitely a mischief-maker in other ways) Seems she & Ken only get together at parties? LOL.

I like Hildy - she's snarky sometimes, sweet at other times (too bad Pete wasn't as upbeat as she was on adoption issues), and she rivals Joan as one of the best dressed-women in the office. Joan's outfits of course tend to be more sexy and show off her voluptuousness. Hildy has a really long, lean body and her clothes are more elegant/ladylike/ultra-conservative.

Hey! What about Lola?

I thought of her too but I don't know if she will be back. Unlike Olive, she didn't give a sense of being someone who works hard and takes initiative. Also, Peggy mentioned she always comes to work late. I'm not sure if she's stil there - unless maybe she's working with John Hooker (blech).

#6

Constantinople

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 7:15 AM

What about Lola?


Since this is the Mad Secretaries thread, you're free to discuss her.

She's not in the thread title because, as Justine2003 noted, we don't know her long-term connection with Sterling Cooper. As far as I know, she's only appeared in one episode. Moreover:
  • A thread title can only be so long.
  • Adding her would mess-up the H(ildy) A(llison) L(ois) O(live) acronym (because they're the unsung angels of Sterling Cooper)
  • Anyone who flirts with Hooker -- and Lord knows what else -- doesn't deserve to be in a thread title

Even if Lois doesn't come back, she has become part of the Sterling Cooper mythology that will live on far beyond which campaigns were good or bad, which clients were won or lost. Even today, people would be talking about her.

#7

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 11:38 PM

I like Hildy, as she doesn't take any shit from Pete or from Hooker. In the topsy-turvy "virtually everyone's an asshole" world of Mad Men, she comes across as a good person, though she has made some unwise choices (banging Harry, for starters); I liked the scene where she sweetly (and drunkenly) congratulated him and assured him that he was going to make a great dad (we'll see). With her flaming red hair and fashion sense--though she wears bright pink a lot more than I would think anyone above the age of 10 would--she would in fact make a good proto-Joan, although she seems more earnest and less savvy than Joan.

Lois is hilarious; she tries so hard, but she's so incompetent. She's the anti-Joan: hopeless and frumpy. The actress is gorgeous, but you'd never know it when she's styled to look utterly dowdy.

I thought Allison's tryst with Ken in Nixon v. Kennedy was a one-off, but having seen Allison on Ken's lap at the party, I have to wonder if they have some sort of thing going. Maybe Allison got a version of Joan's spiel to Peggy on her first day as well and took it more to heart.

#8

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Posted Oct 2, 2009 @ 9:46 AM

she comes across as a good person, though she has made some unwise choices (banging Harry, for starters)


Well, it was unwise for Harry. We haven't seen anything that would show us whether it was wise or unwise for Lois.

#9

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Posted Oct 4, 2009 @ 12:01 PM

I remember thinking the girl with the blue panties at the election night party was really cute. And I thought Don's season 3 secretary was really cute too. Didn't put them together until someone mentioned it here. Love the voice and her character's ease and competence. I'm thinking she's too normal to play a big part in the series, though.

#10

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Posted Oct 18, 2009 @ 10:33 PM

Allison is just wonderful as Don's secretary; she fends off the boys like a pro, she offers eavesdrop on the Pryces when Don expresses interest, and she seems completely unfazed by any of the odd hours and behaviors Don seems to have. She's totally low key and brilliant, I love seeing her whenever she shows up.

#11

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Posted Oct 19, 2009 @ 8:57 PM

Totally agree about Allison! She seems fun and personable, yet still professional and responsible. (<--Most of the time, anyway)

It's kind of weird with her & Ken though. It seems she's his "party girl" yet they never really go out.

Looks like Lois is still around! (since she made an appearance in "The Color Blue"). As my friend pointed out, by all rights she should be fired by now, but I'm still glad to see her. :) She brings the funny.

#12

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Posted Oct 19, 2009 @ 9:23 PM

Paul's scene with Lois was cracking --

Paul: Did you touch anything in here? You do that sometimes.
Lois: Silent, guilty expression

Lois: Blathering on about retracing your steps
Paul: Good god, woman, would you please shut up?

#13

Constantinople

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Posted Oct 21, 2009 @ 9:16 AM

I honestly don't know how Lois could be kept on after ruining Guy's golfing career, but I'm glad she's still there. Mad Men needs some humor.

I think Allison is sharper than Ken since she realizes it wouldn't be a good idea for her to attend SC's 40th anniversary party as Ken's date.

#14

varcinie

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Posted Aug 5, 2010 @ 8:50 AM

I could've sworn Allison had her own thread but I guess not, so: interview with Alexa Alemanni, who plays her.

#15

Limbonaut

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Posted Aug 7, 2010 @ 7:06 PM

If this storyline with Don continues she should get her own thread with the subtitle:"I know this world is killing you".

#16

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Posted Aug 8, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

After Don treated poor Allison like a two-bit whore in last week's episode and she meekly sat back down at her typewriter, I was hoping she had typed one of the following messages:

Take this job and shove it.

All meaningless sex and no respect makes Allison an angry girl.

Sleep with one eye open and your legs crossed.

That was the Don Draper treatment? I've gotten more pleasure on a see-saw.

Edited by marxfan, Aug 8, 2010 @ 8:16 AM.


#17

queen of mean

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Posted Aug 8, 2010 @ 2:42 PM

If this storyline with Don continues she should get her own thread with the subtitle:"I know this world is killing you".


Agreed - Don's aim surely isn't true.

After reading the interviews posted on the media thread I think the Don Draper Treatment was probably overwhelming - not that the sex was great for her but just her amazement that it happened. She's probably been privy to at least the existance of Don's extra-curricular activities - normally she'd be looking out for Don's best interests and presumably her own. So interesting that they already had a certain level of intimacy in their work relationsip (e.g., going thru his mail and doing the xmas shopping for his kids) but adding the physical component kind of puts things over the edge and they both know this probably isn't good for either of them.

Am wondering if Don's downward spiral will continue and if so, if his antics will continue to include Allison - and if so, whether or not she'll continue to participate?

#18

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Posted Aug 16, 2010 @ 3:15 PM

How long is Blankenship going to last at Don's desk? She seems like too much of a joke to stick around for more than a handful of episodes.

It feels as though Megan is being set up for some sort of larger story development, but I'm not sure what direction it's going to take, yet. She reminds me a bit of Jane, in that she's in the same generation and also represents a different sort "sexy ideal" than Joan. Wasn't there a blond woman at the front desk in the first episode, though?

I would like it if there could be some diversity in the secretarial pool before the series ends. I'm not sure if it would be totally realistic for SCDP in particular (though other real-life ad firms of the era that were somewhat more progressive).

Edited by Ashes of Roses, Aug 16, 2010 @ 3:18 PM.


#19

Justine2003

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Posted Aug 16, 2010 @ 8:57 PM

Yeah, I don't think Blankenship will last long, Don needs someone there who will get his calls through smoothly, speak quietly, and just be all-around discreet and efficient.

Not sure about Megan. Yes, there is a stunning blonde that they've showed a few times - she looks a lot like a younger version of Betty, IMO. They showed her again at the Christmas party -- Joan took a bow or clip or something out of her hair, and said "Remember - it's a party." Maybe the office has floating receptionists or she's the fill-in receptionist when the main receptionist is out.

I'm already mourning the loss of Allison -- I'd love it if she could come back, but I'm guessing that it's a Sal Romano-type situation where they realistically can't bring the character back. Although, possibly Allison could come back and work for someone else, other than Don. I know it probably won't happen, I just feel like I miss her face and voice already. She was always a nice, cheery presence around SCDP, before recent events happened.

Also -- if Don really does need a new secretary, how about Hildy????? I actually thought the same thing last week when Joan fired Lane's secretary Sandy. I don't know if Hildy's at McCann these days or what, but I'd like to see her back.

#20

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Posted Aug 18, 2010 @ 1:53 PM

Allison said her new job was at a magazine. Perhaps it is with Life magazine, where Joyce(?) works, so it would be in the same building as SCDP.

#21

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Posted Aug 18, 2010 @ 2:41 PM

Also -- if Don really does need a new secretary, how about Hildy????? I actually thought the same thing last week when Joan fired Lane's secretary Sandy. I don't know if Hildy's at McCann these days or what, but I'd like to see her back.


I was thinking the same thing! I was surprised that Pete didn't try to poach her when Don poached Allison.

#22

Constantinople

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 11:18 AM

I think the writers have screwed-up in how they're portraying Miss Blankenship as loud and incompetent. It's not credible that Cooper would put-up with that for years, if not decades.

I would have expected someone more discreet, quiet and efficient. The Joan of her day in terms of running the office, who at the old Sterling Cooper gradually ceded those responsibilities because she didn't feel like doing them anymore. Brought back now perhaps because she's a little bored, and as a favor to Cooper.

#23

bluecrayon

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 2:48 PM

I'd like to see Lois on Don's desk, but she's probably driving a NYC taxi in "Mad Men World"...

Edited by bluecrayon, Aug 24, 2010 @ 2:49 PM.


#24

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 8:49 PM

[Miss Blankenship was] brought back now perhaps because she's a little bored, and as a favor to Cooper.


Constantinople,
I disagree. I think Miss Blankenship was brought back precisely because of her no-nonsense attitude. She refuses to put up with or cover up other people's BS, including Don's, making her the polar opposite of a secretary who'd be wooed by the Charm of Don Draper et al. It was a deliberate move on Joan's part to bring her in, even if Miss B's a more comic character in her old age. Actually, she reminds me slightly of Cooper's sister.

#25

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 8:59 PM

I'm annoyed at how Miss Blankenship is portrayed as an incompetent old biddy. It just seems like a mean-spirited jab at older women, IMO. Why not have her be super competent, tough and no-nonsense? Having an awesome secretary who isn't some dumb young thing who readily genuflects to Don's supposed charms? That's what I'd rather see!

#26

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 9:46 PM

It wouldn't have been as funny, though. I genuinely laughed at her wrestling with Pete for the saki and her saying loudly that Don's daughter was seeing a psychiatrist.

#27

Justine2003

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Posted Aug 24, 2010 @ 10:16 PM

I think the writers have screwed-up in how they're portraying Miss Blankenship as loud and incompetent. It's not credible that Cooper would put-up with that for years, if not decades.

1) Possibly she was better when she was younger, and also 2) he's pretty eccentric himself, so maybe her odd personality meshed well with his.

I agree that a discreet, quiet, efficient secretary is what Don needs. Someone who anticipates his needs before he has to ask for things. Joan/Peggy as secretary/Allison were all very good at this. Someone elsewhere said they thought Don was suffering through with Blankenship because he is doing penance. Perhaps so. He lets himself gets slapped by a callgirl and drinks too much because his marriage ended in ruin. Maybe he blames himself for the Allison fiasco so he's putting up with Blankenship for now because he knows he ruined his working relationship with Allison.

I'm annoyed at how Miss Blankenship is portrayed as an incompetent old biddy. It just seems like a mean-spirited jab at older women, IMO.

But Lois was pretty spacey, and she was young. I think for right now they are mostly keeping Blankenship around for comic relief. When she talks, she reminds me of a female Garry Marshall.

#28

Constantinople

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Posted Aug 25, 2010 @ 8:27 AM

Why not have her be super competent, tough and no-nonsense?


I agree. There's no reason she can't be both.

That being said

I genuinely laughed at her wrestling with Pete for the saki


I couldn't exactly blame her for this given Pete's history of opening Don's mail (not that Miss Blankenship would know about this).

#29

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Posted Aug 27, 2010 @ 9:58 AM

There was some talk in the episode thread about how the fact that Allison came over from the old SC meant that some how she was some super competent secretary and that they made a point to bring her over, but personally I don't see it. I mean when SC/PPL got sold to McCann I imagine that McCann would have probably laid off a bunch of people that they thought were redundant. A secretary who was the assistant to the creative director who is no longer with the company would pretty much fit the definition of a redundant employee. So really after the merger Allison would have probably been out of work, and if she had applied for a job at SCDP the fact that she already knew the names of the major people who worked there would have given her a big advantage over hiring any secretary who walked in the door. So as far as Don’s relationship with her I don’t see him having her move over from the old company being that big a deal. I just can’t see him saying to the partners “I have to have Allison as my secretary, do what ever it takes to make that happen”. It was probably more like “my old secretary is out of a job, or is very soon going to be out of a job, why don’t we hire her?”.

#30

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Posted Aug 27, 2010 @ 3:30 PM

Oh, but Don had a long series of incompetent secretaries at SC. Well, Jane was OK--until Don fired her for being a husband-stealing homewrecker! (Not for immorality, but for causing him to get caught in the Mona versus Roger battle.)

Otherwise, after Peggy's promotion, Allison was the only "regular" secretary who was competent. So I could see Don (& Joan) glad to hire her for the new company, whether she applied or they had to "poach" her.

I think Miss Blankenship's main problem is failing hearing. That would account for her over-loud voice & the stuff she misses. Also: she doesn't give a crap for the antics of the boys she's been observing for all these years.

Surely she'll be sent back to semi-retirement as soon as Joan can find somebody good. And Don has done sufficient penance.