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Recap / Mad Men S 1 E 4 New Amsterdam

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"Why is is so hard for you people to give me anything?"
"We gave you everything. We gave you your name. And what have you done with it?"

Pete Campbell and the boys are in his office listening to a Bob Newhart recording when his wife Trudy arrives to surprise him. She steals him away to look at a two-bedroom apartment in the city. The unit, spacious by Manhattan’s standards, is also pricey. Pete, despite earning a decent salary, would not be able to afford such a place, but his wife is not worried.


Don Draper, following another meeting, bumps into Rachel Menken. She's accompanied by Harry Crane, the new person tasked to handle her account. Sensing the attraction that still exists between them, Don continues to pursue the woman, but Rachel Menken goes by her better judgment, and turns him down. Meanwhile, Betty Draper is at home reading a book to her children before they go to sleep. Don, like always, is still not home to tuck them in. With the kids in bed, Betty takes the dog out for a walk when he notices an infuriated man banging on Helen Bishop’s door. The man turns out to be Helen’s ex-husband, and he asks to use her phone. Betty politely refuses, and nervously turns away. Later, Helen Bishop drops by the Drapers’ house to apologize for the rather embarrassing incident. She explains that Dan, her ex-husband who once could not care less about his children has been demanding to see his kids, a request she eventually gave in to. Knowing that the other wives have already been gossiping about her, she thought it best to divulge the reason for her divorce — infidelity. The arrival of Don interrupts their rather awkward conversation. It was an interruption that Betty welcomed. She was never the one to find comfort in learning about other people’s personal lives for she like her husband is a very private person.


Pete Campbell pays a visit to his parents, something he clearly would rather avoid given that he and his father do not get along well. Pete’s old man disapproves of his profession, and he expresses his frustration ever so often. The young man risks having the displeasure of asking his parents for help with the down payment of the uptown apartment to fulfill his wife’s desire. Unfortunately, his visit was for nothing. His father refuses to give in to his request, but Pete keeps this to himself ashamed to tell his wife that his own parents would not provide help at their time of need.

The next day Don Draper presents a new set of ads for their client Bethlehem Steel. It was, however, not pleasantly received. Moreover, Pete Campbell provided little support to the team. In fact, he did just the opposite. This upsets Don, seeing that the young man did not even come to their defense. He argues that it was Pete’s job to prepare their client to like the idea that he contests they have agreed on months before. Pete continues to push the ad man’s buttons implying that the ads presented were less than favorable. The truth is the young man is annoyed that his talent is not recognized, and his full potential not realized. The two men yet again end their conversation on a sour note.


That night, Betty Draper who is busy preparing dinner for his family receives a call from Helen Bishop. The woman with no babysitter to watch her children, and is expected at an engagement has no other person to turn to but her neighbor. Feeling for the woman, Betty agrees to watch over her kids for the night leaving her own children in the care of her husband who has come home earlier than usual to make revisions on the Bethlehem Steel ads. Meanwhile, Pete Campbell is at a restaurant having dinner with the in-laws who appear to be more appreciative of his work than his parents. His wife knowing that her parents would give her anything she asks brings up the matter of the uptown apartment they found. Pete, unaware of his wife’s plan, immediately deters any hope of acquiring it knowing that their budgets won’t allow for it. Tom, his well-off father-in-law, determined to provide his daughter the luxuries of life insists on helping them get the apartment. Seeing how Trudy yearns for the house, Pete could do nothing else, but accept the offer though he disapproves of it. Only a few days married, and already, Pete appears to be henpecked.

Betty Draper true to her word looks after Helen Bishop’s kids. With the baby asleep, she looks after the boy as they both watch television. Glen Bishop is a rather awkward boy. He sits in front of the television barely uttering a word, but when Betty goes to the powder room he follows her inside. Infuriated, the young mother scolds the boy, and explains the severity of his mistake. Having made her point, and seeing the fear in the boy’s eyes, Betty comforts the child in the way she would hers. However, Glen appears to have become smitten with the beautiful young mother, and makes a strange request so bizarre yet harmless that Betty is unsure whether to reject or allow it. The boy had asked for a lock of her hair. Thinking through the request, and finding it all innocent, Betty cuts a lock of her hair, and gives it to the boy.

Like Betty Draper, Pete Campbell too is tasked with babysitting, but his was with a client Walter Veith, the owner of Bethlehem Steel. His job as an account executive includes making the client happy even if it means having women to keep them company. Frustrated at this side of his work, Pete tries to make the late meeting appear more about business than pleasure by sneaking in one of his own ideas about the ad campaign, but their client wouldn’t hear any of it for Walter Veith clearly is not in the mood to talk business. Meanwhile, Helen Bishop returns from the Kennedy campaign extremely grateful to her neighbor. Betty returns home to find his husband fast asleep with his notepad that has his latest idea still on the bed.

Morning came, and Walter Veith is back at Sterling Cooper ready to hear what the ad men has come up with. Don Draper’s new idea did not sell well with the steel magnate. Fortunately, Pete’s attempt at getting his idea through the previous night was not fruitless in spite of the client’s seeming disinterest at hearing it. Mr. Veith believing it as one coming from Don was extremely happy about the new concept enough to seal the deal, and keep his account at Sterling Cooper. Despite being furious at Pete's insubordination, Don congratulates Pete on his work. Pete knowing full well that it was his is all grins despite Don getting the credit. Unfortunately, he did not just let this pass, and made a mistake at rubbing this in on his superior, pushing one too many buttons. Don then tells Pete to get a box and put his things in it, effectively firing him. Shocked at the turn of events, Pete Campbell walks to his office throwing out the colleagues who had been hanging out in it listening to The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart recording. Don Draper, on the other hand, storms inside Roger Sterling’s office to tell his boss about the young man’s little escapade.

Having spent a few hours babysitting for Helen Bishop, Betty Draper spends a session with her therapist talking about her single mother neighbor. Betty pities Helen who according to her masks the exhaustion, and difficulties of being a single mother. Moreover, she has come to believe that the woman is jealous of her. Also, Betty worries for the woman’s son whom she is convinced is not getting the nurturing that he deserves.

Following the incident with Pete Campbell, Roger Sterling and Don Draper pay a visit to the older, and wiser named partner Bertram Cooper. Roger explains that the young man had overstepped the firm’s rules, and pitched his own copy to a client, which eventually cost him his job. Mr. Cooper explains that Pete Campbell’s mother Dorothy Dykeman Campbell comes from an affluent family. Though not as rich as they were before, the Dykemans still maintain a circle of wealthy friends. He explains that word of the unceremonious termination of Pete Dykeman Campbell reaching the Dykeman’s influential friends could not be good to Sterling Cooper. This worries Don Draper whose work, however valuable it is to the company, could not compete against the young man even if it is only his name that’s worth anything. Don is asked to swallow his pride, and put his ego aside for the good of the company.

With his things already in a cardboard box, Pete, still in a daze at his termination, lies on the couch of his office, pondering at the events that led to his current situation. Roger and Don barge into his office. Roger reprimands the young man at what he has done, and makes his disapproval clear. He then makes up a story of how Don defended him against him and Cooper who wanted him fired. This surprises Pete as much as it stunned Don, but Roger’s little scheme appears to have worked. The young man has found new respect for the creative director whom he now thinks had fought for him. Little did he know that it was his name that saved him. Later, Don Draper despite Roger Sterling’s successful scheme is still annoyed at how Pete Campbell dodged a bullet. Though he will not admit it, Roger could see through the accomplished ad man that he is competing with the young junior account executive.

That night, Pete Campbell and his wife are with the realtor to finalize the purchase of the apartment when his in-laws and a member of the co-op board arrive. It appears that the young couple already has gained favor with their neighbor after his mother-in-law told her that his great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Dykeman, was a farmer with Isaac Roosevelt. The woman was so thrilled to learn that their new neighbor is a Dykeman. It appears that his in-laws, and his wife are too. His father was right. His family gave him everything. They gave him his name.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Trudy's father at one point refers to her as his "jellybean".
  • Blatant Lies: In a way of saving face, Roger tells Pete that it was actually Don's idea to keep Pete at Sterling Cooper, rather than Bert's. This actually leaves Don stunned.
  • Creepy Child: Glen exhibits this, walking in on Betty while she's in the bathroom and asking for pieces of her hair.
  • Doting Parent: Again, Trudy's father, who is very open in his willingness to help pay for her and Pete's apartment.
  • Get Out!: After getting fired, Pete quickly heads to his office suite and throws the rest of the guys (who had been listening to the Bob Newhart record) out. Then, he throws out the Bob Newhart record.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Pete, newly fired, takes to downing some scotch while in his office.
  • Nepotism: Cooper extensively explains why Don has to backtrack his firing of Pete, saying that his family has far too many connections for them to sever.
  • Shout-Out: Bert whistles to the tune of This Old Man as Don and Roger leave his office.
    • Pete's officemates are listening to a Bob Newhart record all throughout the episode.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Pete yanks the Bob Newhart record off the turntable and throws it out the door in a rage after Don fires him.
  • Tranquil Fury: Don's reaction to Pete going behind his back and rubbing it in how successful the pitch went. He fires Pete right afterwards.
    Sal: (to Pete) You picked the wrong time to buy an apartment.
  • The Un-Favourite: How Pete seems to view himself when compared to his brother Bud. He notes how his parents seem stingy to provide monetary support his way with buying space for an apartment, when they were more than willing to pay off a girl that his brother wronged in the past.
  • Villainous BSoD: Pete's reaction post-sacking can count as this, depending on how one views him.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Helen Bishop's ex-husband is seen angrily pounding on the door of her house in an attempt to visit the kids. Betty happens to walk by during this and awkwardly rebuffs his attempts to use her phone.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The relationship between Pete and his father is obviously quite testy.

Example of: