Wednesday, May 30, 2012


 Update! Check the bottom of the post for the best 3 minutes in Mad Men history...

Think of this as the opposite of a Secret Boyfriend of the Week post. Think of it as an Obvious Scumbag of the Week. And this week's recipient is the repellent Pete Campbell from Mad Men.

This season, Pete has really been floundering. He has basically worked his entire career to become Don Draper 2.0, but instead of trying to emulate the good parts of his mentor (like say, the awesome Peggy Olson does), Pete has followed the more icky of Don's examples. Sure, he's done things right on paper: marrying a good girl from a good family, having a kid, moving to the suburbs, but now he feels trapped! By his own life! It's so sad!

Except it's not. As Pete gets more and more depressed he gets more and more gross. This season he's slept with prostitutes, and even seduced the desperate housewife of one of his commuter buddies. The fact that the housewife was played by Rory Gilmore (ok, I mean Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls) makes it even more icky. She was America's sweetheart for goodness sake! It was like a twisted version of that episode when she dressed up as Patty Duke.

Let us never speak of this again.

And now we come to Pete's latest trek through the filth. If you've seen the latest Mad Men episode, The Other Woman, you know of what I speak. During a business dinner with a man who can score the agency an account with Jaguar, Pete learns that the key to their success lies in whoring out Joan. And by whoring I don't mean, "the symbolic trade of one favor for another," I mean full-on "sleep with this guy for money." So of course, Pete being the winner he is, immediately goes to Joan and lays the proposition before her. In terms of shock value, I would rate this turn of events somewhere around the "client gets his foot cut off by a lawnmower" level.

I'm going to forgo all the discussion that has accompanied (SPOILER) Joan's decision to go through with sleeping with the creepy guy in exchange for a partnership and 5% stake in the agency (END SPOILER).

That has been discussed to death already on the internet, and frankly isn't a conversation I really have a desire to take part in. This post is concerned with just talking about how gross Pete Campbell is. And that's something we can all get behind, right?

Ugh, I can't even look at his smug stupid face.

There's no doubt Pete has done a lot of nasty things even from the beginning of the show, but for some reason him sliding into Joan's office (and practically leaving a trail of slime behind him) was the worst for me. Maybe it's because I love Joan, or maybe it's just because I have ABSOLUTELY NO PATIENCE for any kind of "male-life crisis trapped by own choices" bullshit that seems to be a popular theme on tv these days, but I just...can't handle Pete anymore. All season I have been thinking that someone is going to fall down that empty elevator shaft that Don peered into, or that someone might even kill themselves, and frankly I am now rooting for Pete to get the shaft (literally). Everyone on Mad Men has a bit of the villain in them so I don't think we "need" him for character purposes. And just once, it would be nice for someone to get their just deserts. And yes, falling down a high-rise would be an appropriate punishment here.

So, congrats Pete! You are the first person to be highlighted in an Obvious Scumbag post. I'm not sure if this is going to be a regular thing, but it just felt like the timing was right.

Oh, and I should probably take the opportunity to mention that I think Vincent Kartheiser has really done an amazing job with this character and has shown Pete's descent throughout the series with a level of skill that I never expected. I can separate the art from the artist and I am sure Vincent is a super nice guy. This is definitely one of those "hate the game not the playa" situations.

And I totally forgot to include the best scene ever: Pete Campbell gets taken to the cleaners:


Monique said...

Srsly, I wanted to punch his character in the face. And I also have to point out Lane's role in the whole thing. Do we really think he was trying to help Joan when he suggested the partnership over the money? No, it was because he could not go back to the banker for another extension of credit, an extension that the other partners are not aware of. Leaving Joan with little immediate return for her very high output (pun not intended).

Scienter said...

Yes, he's gross. I keep hoping that his wife finds out about his affairs and kicks him to the curb.

PC said...

I'm way behind but couldn't help but read this post. Looks like Vincent found a character more annoying (and apparently more foul) then Connor.

Maggie Cats said...

All the partners really showed their true colors this episode, didn't they? I cannot BELIEVE that Roger was in favor of this. Ick. Say what you will about Don Draper, he was the only one who stuck for Joan. Who (along with Peggy) is probably one of the few people--not just women--that he truly respects.

Monique said...

I don't know about Roger being in favor of it. He seemed more shocked that Joan was considering it - and then said that he wouldn't block it, but was not going to pay for it either (i.e. give up his bonus to support it). I think he feels fairly shunned by Joan, and if she did not care about having him in her life, then he could not outwardly be outraged by this. He also may have been hurt personally that she was considering it. I am not a huge Roger fan, but I didn't think he was the worst in the room.