An Affair to Remember

MM_603_MY_1128_1028I’ve always wondered how one goes about life knowing he or she has got something going on on the side. “It’s horrible,” a friend once told me. “No matter where you are or what you’re doing—we [he and his wife] will be at the movies—and you’re thinking about it.” And feeling guilty knowing something your wife doesn’t know about. (SPOILER ALERT) For Pete Campbell, affairs are a given, and he’s got no problem reconciling his trysts at his Manhattan pied-à-terre with his Connecticut home life. We don’t see much rationalizing here. For Don Draper, there’s a lot more going on: This isn’t happening. This has to end. I grew up in a brothel. And when he comes home to his wife who is not only faithful (we presume) but has suffered a miscarriage (which she has mixed feelings about), Don comforts her and is sincere and the only thing he wants, he says, is what she wants. But even he has that look in his eyes. Somewhere inside he’s thinking, this can’t go on. But it will.

In Pete’s case, the woman is a neighbor who seems a bit less discreet and becomes a victim of domestic violence. The difference here, of course, is that his wife finds out and wants a divorce—not because he was unfaithful, mind you, but because he was not discreet. Trudy was willing to live the lie—she was comfortable in her suburban home. This is all part of the show’s long-running theme, at least in my opinion, which is that the center cannot hold. And it’s all going to end horribly around 1970.

Three lingering questions: Does Cutler Gleason and Chaough win Heinz ketchup? Is it just me or is Stan Rizzo turning into very late Jim Morrison? And are those fake smile wrinkles on Linda Cardellini?

Photo credit: Michael Yarish

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