Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mad Men and Drinking, Season Four, Episode 9: French Toast à la Sally Draper

Not much interesting drinking going on in "The Beautiful Girls," episode nine of season four of "Mad Men," which focuses on the disappointing and frustrating choices women had to make in 1965. Among those women—Peggy and Joan, of course; but also Don Draper's latest squeeze, career gal Dr. Faye Miller; increasingly interesting, bird-like, reception desk secretary Megan; and poor old Ida Blankenship, who, after filling in her last crossword puzzle, takes a nose dive into her desk—is none other that little Sally Draper. Sally's not happy at home with brittle Betty, we know, so she hops the train, sans moolah, to visit dear old dad.

Don isn't too happy about this, understandably, but he does get treated to a particularly wonderful breakfast the next morning. Sally gets up early and fixes French toast. Don takes a bite, scrunches up his face and asks "What's on this?" "Mrs. Buttersworth's," lisps Sally, who's trying to prove herself a grown-up to pop. "Let me see it," says Don. Sally shows a brown, tiki-like bottle that does, indeed, resemble the popular maple syrup brand. "That's rum!" says Don. "Read labels."

"Is it bad?" asks Sally. Don considers. "Not really." And takes another bite.

I predict French Toast à la Sally Draper will grace many Sunday morning tables this coming weekend.

Otherwise, Peggy goes on a date with radical journo Abe, who met her during the downtown loft party several episodes ago. Abe order Johnnie Walker rocks. And Roger Sterling has a Gibson in a water-like glass with two huge cocktail onions, at a bygone deli called the Tip Toe Inn, which used to stand at 86th and Broadway.

Abe and Peggy go to P.J. Clarke's, the set of which looked nothing like the real P.J. Clarke's. I, frankly, am getting fed up with Matthew Weiner's refusal to shoot any of "Mad Men" in New York. There hasn't been a scene filmed in Manhattan since the pilot four years ago. Certainly, the show is popular enough and has a big enough budget for Weiner to demand some time in Gotham. Places like Clarke's, Keen's Steak House and Barbetta—all depicted this season—still exist and would make great backdrops. They're really no excuse for not using these resources.

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