The Orange Couch, Episode 4 of Mad Men: “Mystery Date”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 9, 2012 15:27 EDT
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I wasn’t in town to record for this episode of “The Orange Couch”, but I helped write it and find the “Mystery Date” video. Oh, the marvels of digital communication!

Like Marc, I’m not too fond of the dream sequence crap. They’ve been escalating the amount of time we spend in Don’s head on this show, and it’s my least favorite part of the show. We don’t need to have direct access  to Don’s mind to understand what he’s going through. The show is better when it sticks to surfaces and makes the audiences work for our understanding. 

Outside of that, the episode was masterful at playing with the various ways we understand crime and violence, from the titillating fantasies to the soul-destroying paranoia to the grim realities. It’s a difficult subject to handle without sensationalism, and I think the trick of using people’s reactions to a sensational crime worked marvelously. The use of The Crystals song “He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss)” worked really well, too. The song’s history is one of the more interesting pop music stories. Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote it for Little Eva, who babysat for them and whose screwed-up rationalizations for her boyfriend’s violence provided the inspiration for the lyrics. Phil Spector’s choice to play it straight, as if it’s romantic and not messed up to think this way, certainly fits with everything else we know about his controlling, misogynist, murdersome personality. But despite all this, the song does provide a fascinating glimpse of how violence against women is framed in romanticized or titillating ways, and that does, whether we like it or not, make it much harder for our society to deal with the whole problem honestly.

What did you think of this episode?

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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