Red in the Face

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"Red in the Face"
Mad Men episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 7
Directed by Tim Hunter
Written by Bridget Bedard
Original air date August 30, 2007
Episode chronology
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Mad Men (season 1)
List of Mad Men episodes

"Red in the Face" is the seventh episode of the first season of the American television drama series Mad Men. It was written by Bridget Bedard and directed by Tim Hunter. The episode originally aired on the AMC channel in the United States on August 30, 2007.

Plot

Roger invites himself to dinner with Don and Betty. After dinner, Roger drunkenly makes a move on Betty when Don leaves the room. When Betty admits to Don what happened, Don lashes out at her, calling her childish. The next day, Roger attempts to apologize to Don, but Don pretends to not know what Roger is talking about.

Meanwhile, Pete attempts to return a "chip-and-dip" that he and Trudy received as a wedding present, claiming that they were given two by mistake. At the department store, Pete feels emasculated when he is unable to charm the store employees into giving him a cash refund. He uses his store credit to purchase a rifle instead. Later, it is revealed that Trudy did not want him to return the chip-and-dip, and is furious with Pete for purchasing the rifle. The next day, Pete brings the rifle to work and shows it to Peggy. He tells her about a fantasy he has in which he uses the rifle to kill a deer, then drags it to a tree where he skins, dresses and carves the animal and then returns to a cabin in the woods where a woman cooks the meat for his dinner and watches him eat it.

Meanwhile, Betty has a chance encounter with Helen Bishop at the supermarket. Helen confronts Betty about the lock of hair she gave to Glen, telling her that the gift was inappropriate for a young boy. Betty responds by slapping Helen in the face. Later, Francine tells Betty that the other housewives are on Betty's side, and they agree to shun Helen.

Don and Roger go out for a lunch of oysters and martinis in preparation for a meeting with executives from Richard Nixon's campaign. Before they leave, Don subtly bribes an elevator attendant. At lunch, Don pushes Roger to eat and drink more and more. When they return to the offices, the attendant tells them that the elevator is out of service. They decide to walk the 23 flights of stairs to the office instead. Roger is in noticeably worse shape than Don, and struggles a great deal with the journey. When they arrive, Roger promptly vomits in front of the men from the Nixon campaign. Don asks if Roger is okay, then walks away smirking to himself.

Cultural references

Bert refers to discussions between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler leading to the Munich Agreement in 1938. Pete's secretary tells him that he and his wife are having dinner at The Four Seasons Restaurant. Multiple references are made to Richard Nixon's political career, including an incident when a mob threw rocks at his car in Caracas, Venezuela, the Checkers speech, and the campaign against Helen Douglas. Pete compared John F. Kennedy's appeal to that of Elvis Presley. Paul Kinsey makes a reference to the novel The Naked and the Dead. At lunch, Roger and Don discuss Soviet space dogs and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's divorce. Rosemary Clooney sings "Botch-a-Me" in the closing credits.

Reception

The episode was received positively by critics. Alan Sepinwall, writing for New Jersey's The Star-Ledger, wrote that the episode captured the generational divide of the era.[1] Andrew Johnston, writing for Slant Magazine, praised the episode's sense of humor.[2] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club graded it an "A" (the highest possible), praising its "audacious character writing."[3]

References

  1. Sepinwall, Alan (August 31, 2007). "Mad Men: Stair Master". The Star Ledger. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  2. Johnston, Andrew (August 30, 2007). "Mad Men Fridays: Season 1, Episode 7 "Red in the Face"". The Star Ledger. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  3. [1]

External links