Mad Men: “Souvenir”

This episode kicks off with Pete sitting at his desk, reading a copy of Ebony. Hildy comes in to drop off some papers, and only then does he realize that it’s 5:00 and time  for her to go. He asks what she’s getting into that weekend; she replies that she’s gotten a cabin in Saltaire with some friends. Pete mentions mosquitoes’ Hildy says that they don’t bother her. Harry and Paul then walk in the office, and ask her if Pete’s making her work since he’ll be alone this weekend. She says no, then leaves. Pete wonders why a man alone is something to be pitied, while Hildy is really the one you should feel sorry for. Harry says that he doesn’t feel sorry for her, since “those girls” get to do what they want. Ken then walks in, and asks Pete if he’s still working, and if so not to, since none of the senior partners are in town. Pete says that Don isn’t on vacation, that Conrad Hilton sent him to “Dallas or Denver or something… every armpit he has”. Harry wishes he could get out of New York in August just once. Pete says that he likes the quiet. He then offers to take the boys out for a drink.


At the Draper home, we see Betty going through some Junior League paperwork about saving the reservoir. Don walks by with some dirty laundry, and Betty mentions that she’s poured him a beer. Don stops to have a sip of beer, then looks at all of Betty’s paperwork and says that she should be getting paid for her work. Betty says that there’s a hearing about the reservoir coming up, and that she’s “paid” plenty. Hearing a commotion outside, Don asks what’s going on. Betty says that the kids are catching fireflies and that he should join them. Don puts his beer down and walks outside to play with the kids.

We then see Pete walking into his dark and empty apartment. He takes off his shirt, turns on the radio and sits on the sofa.

We’re then taken back to Betty, who is busy making calls for the “Save the Reservoir” campaign. Conrad Hilton’s office calls between Betty’s calls. Hilton wants him to fly to Rome on Tuesday night to inspect a hotel there. Betty laments all his traveling over the summers, then says that she should have just taken the kids to the beach. Don suggests that she accompany him to Rome. Betty objects (they do have a two-month old baby, after all), but Don says that she has a passport and should go. When it’s clear that Betty doesn’t want to go, Don leaves the room, saying that he needs to catch up on sleep.

The next morning, we see Pete eating cereal and watching Davey and Goliath on TV. We then see him fully clothed and asleep on the sofa with the TV still on. He wakes up, and seems confused and possibly bewildered that his Saturday has come and gone. We then see him taking out the trash and finding a girl crying in the hallway. She is Gudrun, the European au pair of his neighbors. She is crying because she has ruined one of Mrs. Lawrence’s expensive dresses. Apparently she had a party and wore the dress, and somehow got what looks liek red wine on it. Now she’s afraid that the Lawrences will fire her. Pete offers to help; although Gudrun is reluctant at first, she eventually accepts Pete’s offer of help.

Monday rolls around and Betty runs errands and prepares for the meeting. Sally watches her mom get ready:


At the meeting, Henry arrives at the last second and convinces the board to delay the project, thanks in large part to a proclamation from Governor Rockefeller himself which declared that the study which concluded that the reservoir’s water water was unclean was itself suspect. Betty, Francine (and the other Junior League woman) are all excited, and after the giddy Francine leaves, Betty and Henry are alone in the parking lot. Henry comments on Gene’s Lincoln Continental, which Betty says she drove for good luck. He then offers to buy Betty some coffee, but she demurs, saying that she must get home. Betty gets in the car, and Henry leans in the window. He says that he noticed her happiness at the meeting, and hopes that he played a part in it. When Betty says that he did, he leans in and kisses her.

Back at home, Betty is over the moon. It’s unclear whether her political success or Henry’s kiss (or both) is the reason. Don asks how the meeting went, and Betty breathlessly explains what happened. “That’s real politics”, Don says. Later that night, Betty wakes Don up and says that she wants to go to Rome with him.

The next morning, Pete goes to Bonwit Teller to exchange Mrs. Lawrence’s dress. After an amusing discussion with a sales clerk, Pete demands to speak with her manager. The clerk disappears and the manager approaches a few minutes later:


Joan is working at Bonwit Teller as a manager! She says that she’s “filling in” because the store needed some extra help. She’s sure that they have a few of the dresses in storage (it’s from last year), and so she approves Pete’s exchange, and also agrees to keep their meeting a secret (Pete says that he accidentally ruined Trudy’s dress; Joan knows that it’s not Trudy’s size). The two then have some small talk in which Pete says that “Moneypenny” (John) hasn’t self-destructed… yet. Joan says that Greg is tired of surgery and wants to move into psychiatry.

We next see Don and Betty arriving at the hotel in Rome. Betty calls the lobby “beautiful”, but complains about the diesel fumes coming from outside. Up in their room, the bellboy compliments Betty on her Italian, while Don tips him $2, which Betty says is what he makes in a week. Betty then swoons about the view out the window. The phone then rings, and Betty picks up. She answers in Italian, which confuses Conrad Hilton, who is on the other end of the line. He says that he’s please to talk to her for the first time, and asks her to put his staff through their paces. He then says that he’d normally given them a suite, but he wanted Don to see “how this works for most people”. Betty says that the room is lovely. Later, we see Don napping in the room, and Betty calling front desk to make an appointment at the hotel’s beauty salon.

Back in Ossining, Francine asks Carla to look after her son Ernie for a while, as the Board of Trustees has called an emergency meeting.

Meanwhile, in Rome, Betty (sporting a glamorous Euro-beehive hairdo) takes a seat at a table in an outdoor café. Two Italian men at a nearby table start flirting with her almost immediately (in that typically subtle Italian fashion, one of them says “if I were that cigarette in your mouth, I would die of happiness”). Don walks up and, seeing the situation, sits alone at another table. He pretends not to know Betty, and the two of them start flirting. Don gets up and sits next to Betty, which causes the Italians to leave. The two continue flirting until Connie walks up. He takes one look at Betty and says

“By golly, you are an indecently lucky man.”

Back in their room, Betty says that Conrad adores Don. The two kiss, and Betty walks over to the bed and the two begin undressing. Love is in the air.

It’s also in the air in Ossining, where Sally and Ernie are “playing adults”, by pretending that the bathtub is a car. Bobby spies on them as Sally plays the wife and Ernie plays the husband. Sally impulsively leans over and kisses Ernie, which causes Bobby to start singing the “sitting in a tree” song. Sally takes off after Bobby and tackles him, whaling on him without mercy until Carla can break them up.

Next, we see Pete in the hallway of his apartment building with a box from Bonwit Teller. An amazed Gudrun is grateful… until Pete asks her to have a cocktail. Obviously looking uncomfortable, she says that she has a boyfriend. She nevertheless kisses Pete on the cheek in thanks. Pete goes home and fixes himself a drink, then walks out to his balcony. He then reappears at Gudrun’s door. It’s late, and he’s woken her up. He says that he should at least see her in the dress. Gudrun agrees, but only if Pete keeps it quiet. He steps into the apartment and is led to her bedroom. Gudrun turns to get the dress, but Pete closes the door and says that he’d like to kiss her. She doesn’t appear very excited at the idea, but quickly wraps her arms around him at the two begin kissing passionately.

In Rome, Betty steps out of her morning shower just as the phone starts to ring. Don picks it up, to find out that it’s Conrad, who wants them to join him for breakfast. Betty shakes her head, and Don tells him that she’s already ordered room service. Betty climbs in to bed and snuggles up next to Don as he tells Connie that they’ll meet up after breakfast. Connie asks him tell him what he thinks of the room service. Betty, with a glow on her face, asks if he heard the doves outside the room that morning. Don says that he did, and that he likes sleeping on that side of the bed. The two kiss, but Don says that he has to get up. He half-jokingly tells Betty to order something from room service and give him a full report.

We next see the Drapers returning home. Carla is waiting for them, and hands Eugene to Betty as soon as they walk in the door. Carla says that everything is fine.. but that Betty might want to talk with Sally. She mentions Sally’s temper, which causes Don to say that he’s going to check the mail. Carla then explains the incident between Sally, Ernie and Bobby.

That same evening, we see Pete eating dinner alone when his neighbor, Ed Lawrence, rings the doorbell. Ed asks if his wife at home, then asks if he can come in for a moment. Pete offers him a drink, but Ed says that he has a martini waiting for him next door, and that he’ll “make this quick”. He tells Pete that he knows about what happened with Gudrun. Although Pete denies it, Ed tells him to relax. Come to find out, Ed doesn’t really care what Pete did with Gudrun, but he likes that his wife and Gudrun get along, and he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Ed even tells him that there are plenty of other nannies in the neighborhood, and that if he were smart, he’d find someone “outside the building”.

The next morning, Bobby plays with a toy Pam-Am plane that Don and Betty brought him while she talks to Sally. Betty says that Carla told her about the fighting that went on while they were gone. Sally says that she didn’t do anything. Betty orders her to apologize to Bobby and control her temper, or else she will have to start taking things away from her. Sally apologizes and Bobby accepts. Betty walks to the sink just as Don walks in. He says that he called the office and that Hilton apparently sent Don more work before they even left Rome. Don then asks the kids if they’re going swimming. Sally asks Betty if they are, and she says yes. Betty pulls out a cigarette and Don lights it, the two of them still acting like giddy schoolkids.

Back at Pete’s place, we see Trudy and Pete get into the elevator… just as Gudrun and the Lawrence children do as well. Trudy talks to the kids on the way up. Once inside the apartment, Pete suddenly begins acting out of sorts. At first, Trudy thinks it’s because the children on the elevator reminded him that they can’t have children. Pete doesn’t say anything, nor does he respond to her playful advances. She then asks him if anything happened. Pete looks at her with guilty eyes, but doesn’t say anything. Trudy gets up off the sofa, storms into the bedroom and slams the door.


We then see Betty at home. She stares at the chaise longue for a few moment, then calls Sally down. Betty sits on the sofa and calls her over. She tells her that she thinks that Ernie is a “nice boy”, but that she doesn’t want her running around kissing boys. “You don’t kiss boys. Boys kiss you,” she says. Betty goes on to say that the first kiss is very special, and that Sally will have lots of first kisses, and that that moment is when you go from being a stranger to really knowing them. She also says that every kiss after that is only a shadow of that first kiss. She asks Sally if she understands, and she says taht she thinks that she does.

Later that evening, we see Pete come home from work. Trudy engages in small talk about the salad she’d made and where the vegetables came from, but Pete interrupts her and says that he doesn’t want her to go away without him. He reaches for her hand. She doesn’t pull away from him. Instead she says that she won’t. After a moment’s silence, Trudy asks what happened at the office that day.

Betty and Francine walk through the kitchen door. Francine gives Betty $5 to give Carla for watching Ernie. She also says that she thinks that the board reversed the position on the reservoir. After asking Betty about Rome and not getting any answers, she goes back to the reservoir issue. Francine says that this would be an excuse for Betty to see Henry again. Betts says that she’s “done with that”.

Don walks in, so Francine gets up to leave, saying that “you two must be very tired” in a tone of voice which tells Don that Betty’s been talking smut with Betty. Don pours himself a whiskey.

Later that evening, Betty walks in to the bedroom as Don is undressing and tells him that she hates “this place”, “our friends” and “this town”. Don tries to reassure her by telling her that they’ll go away again soon. He then tells her to look on her pillow. She walks to her side of the bed and find a box. She opens it, to find a small charm of the Coliseum. Don says that he saw it in the gift shop as they were leaving so he had Conrad send it to him. Betty unenthusiastically says that it’s lovely. Don says that he’ll have it put on her charm bracelet. Betty says that she’ll “have something to look at when I tell the story about the time we went to Rome”. She then turns and walks away, leaving Don with a confused look on his face.


– Pete’s reading Ebony? Is he a fan of “black culture” now, or is he still sticking to his “race-based advertising” approach?

– Hildy and “some of the girls from the Travelers Insurance” got a cabin in Saltaire, a village on Fire Island, New York. The tiny little town was incorporated in 1910, has a total area of .3 square miles (.9 sq. km), and boasts 43 full-time residents in 14 households. That population swells in the summer months due to tourism. The village has a hilariously dated website here.

– I guess that Travelers Insurance has offices in the same building as Sterling Cooper? We know that there’s a travel agency in the building; what other companies are in the building?

– Ken says that Cooper is at his ranch in Montana (something we learned he owned in “The Mountain King”), Roger’s “in Jane”, and Don is on vacation.

– When sorting his laundry, Don says that “there’s a Hathaway in there”, because a hotel laundry service gave him the wrong shirt. Hathaway was once one of the most respected names in men’s clothing in the United States. They made shirts at their factory in Maine for 165 years, even making shirts for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Sadly, they weren’t able to compete in today’s global marketplace: after years of declining sales, the company tried using lesser fabrics to save money, which only drove away what loyal customers they still had. The company’s factory, the last mass-market dress shirt producer in the United States, closed in 2002. Read more about the brand’s demise here.

– Strange coincidence? One of the names on Betty’s call list is “Mr. and Mrs. H. Bruce Campbell”. I don’t know what that Bruce Campbell does for a living, but Bruce Campbell the actor became a cult favorite after his role as Ash in the Evil Dead horror\comedy films (he currently plays Sam on Burn Notice). The thing is, Campbell’s first wife was named Christine… as is “H. Bruce Campbell’s” wife.

– In comparing pictures on the website to the background of the show, it’s a pretty safe bet that Don is going to inspect the Rome Cavalieri Hilton, which is now known as the Rome Cavalieri under Hilton’s “Waldorf Astoria Collection”. The hotel is located 1.36 miles from the center of Rome.

Davey and Goliath was a stop-motion animated children’s TV series produced in the early 1960s by the Lutheran Church in America. The series was produced by Art Clokey, creator of Gumby. While the show was aimed at children, it touched on adult topics like death, religious bigotry, racism and vandalism. It was one of the first TV shows to feature black lead characters. The show was syndicated, and TV stations either ran it with their Saturday cartoons or with their Sunday religious programs. Amusingly, the show was aired simultaneously on three different networks in New York: WOR-TV, WABC-TV, and WPIX.

– Pete and Trudy live in apartment 14G.

– Ossining does, in fact, have a Board of Trustees.

– In this episode, “Andrew Johnson” is the mayor of the town (according to the name plate). I couldn’t find a complete list of former Ossining mayors, so I sent an email to the folks at the Ossining Public Library, who will hopefully be able to shed some light on the situation.

UPDATE: “Cheryl” of the Library’s Adult Services Department got back with me to say that a man named Jesse A. Collyer was mayor of the town in 1963.

– Betty says that they should build the water tanks “up in Newburgh” as it’s “already disgusting”. Confusingly, there is both a city and town called “Newburgh, New York”, and although they’re right next to each other, they have totally different governments. This was apparently due to the area once being mostly farmland: the area that would end up being the “city” and the area that would become the “town” were separated by several miles, so the larger one became a city while the smaller one became a town, and since then they have both expanded to fill the gaps in the former farmland. Amusingly, 2005 Census figures show that population of the town (30,508) is now larger than the city (28,101).

Bonwit Teller was a high-end department store on Fifth Avenue in New York. The store eventually had additional locations in Beverly Hills, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Miami and Palm Beach. At a time when most stores whee diversifying their product lines, Bonwit Teller was known for providing only the highest-quality merchandise to its customers. Sadly, the chain declared bankruptcy in the late 80s and was sold in 1990, and the new owners never fully recovered – although in 2005 River West Brands bought the name and has plans to bring back Bonwit Teller boutiques in New York and Los Angeles. The original Bonwit Teller store in New York was demolished to make way for Donald Trump’s Trump Tower.

– More product placement for Hermés at Bonwit Teller…

– Betty was a model before she married Don (he met her on a modeling shoot). As mentioned in previous episodes, she spent some time modeling in Italy, and there’s where she picked up the language.

– The song that closed the episode is “There’s a Small Hotel”, a song made popular by the 1936 musical On Your Toes. The song is about the Stockton Inn, in Stockton, New Jersey. The song’s lyrics are as follows:

There’s a small hotel
With a wishing well
I wish that we were there together
There’s a bridal suite
One room bright and neat
Complete for us to share together

Looking through the window
You can see that distant steeple
Not a sign of people — who wants people?
When the steeple bell says,
“Good night, sleep well,”
We’ll thank the small hotel together

And when the steeple bell says,
“Good night, sleep well,”
We’ll thank the small hotel together


As you can probably tell by the relative brevity of this review, I didn’t care for this episode much. As you might know from past reviews, I have a “thing” for Betty, and I hate to see her cheating on Don (even though I don’t feel the same the other way around; I know – life isn’t fair). I also didn’t like how Betty turned on Don once they came home. The poor guy is thinking that everything was great… and suddenly a bitch-fit just comes out of nowhere… and not just a normal “why can’t you pick your dirty clothes off the floor” bitch-fit, but one of those “I hate everything about my life!!!” rants. It’s not that I didn’t see it coming – I just didn’t like how it was handled.

I also didn’t like Pete in this episode at all. Yes, Pete was a pretty big jerk in season 1, and people have been calling him such ever since. However, no one ever seems to want to look at things from his perspective. Yes, Pete is a jerk… but Trudy is a rich girl that runs to Daddy anytime mean ol’ Pete doesn’t give her something. Remember whey they were apartment hunting and Trudy fell in love with their place but Pete said that they couldn’t afford it? What did she do? Run to Daddy for the money. Now, I’m not saying any of this to defends Pete’s behavior (especially with the au pair, that was just creepy). I just want to remind people that Trudy isn’t some prefect angel while Pete’s the devil. Still, what was he thinking? The two had been getting along so well this season! And we’re still waiting to find out what happened between the seasons, as Pete and Trudy’s marriage was basically over at the end of season 2.

There was no Peggy in this episode, and that’s another reason I didn’t like it. I get that perhaps there wasn’t enough time to write in a storyline for her, but I’m dying to know how things are going for her now that she’s moved into the city. We haven’t seen her apartment, nor have we seen Carla Gallo again… I want to know how things are going for her outside the office.

Liked seeing Joan, though, although she’s looking a bit rough, huh?

Anyway, this episode seemed like filler to me, and that’s something Mad Men doesn’t do. There’s no place for “filler” in a show where every scene and every line is important.

Oh well… hopefully we’ll have better luck this Sunday!

3 Replies to “Mad Men: “Souvenir””

  1. To correct a portion of the article – The original Bonwit Teller store was not on Fifth Ave where the Trump Tower is now located. It was down around 23rd St and Sixth Avenue. In 2001 I came upon the original sign from the original store in an antiques shop in Newport, RI and resold it at an antique show in PA. To my knowledge the sign has remained with the buyer ever since.

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