Mad Men Recap: It’s Dirty

There's really no such thing as an uneventful Mad Men. "At the Codfish Ball" is exhibit A. Nobody gives up a baby for adoption or gets busted for having a fake identity or loses a foot to a riding mower. But there's precise and fairly deep character exploration happening in every scene, and it's deftly patterned, constantly threatening to form into a simplistic "This episode is about X" thesis but restraining itself, erring on the side of mystery.

Written by Jonathan Igla and directed by Michael Uppendahl, this installment splits the difference between episodic TV's two preferred modes (the serialized novel and the self-contained short story) so elegantly that you can't say that it falls squarely in one category or another.* More so than most Mad Men episodes, it becomes complete, or at least cohesive, when you talk about it with others. To that end, I'm going to briefly summarize what happened, list some of the key themes and then jump into the comments. "Come along and follow me, to the bottom of the sea," sings Shirley Temple in the song that gave this episode its title. "We'll join in the jamboree at the codfish ball." Read More...


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