New Amsterdam (Mad Men)

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"New Amsterdam"
Mad Men episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 4
Directed by Tim Hunter
Written by Lisa Albert
Original air date August 9, 2007
Episode chronology
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Mad Men (season 1)
List of Mad Men episodes

"New Amsterdam" is the fourth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Mad Men. It was written by Lisa Albert and directed by Tim Hunter. The episode originally aired on the AMC channel in the United States on August 9, 2007.

Plot[edit]

Pete's new wife Trudy surprises him with a visit to the office for lunch, and she then surprises him again by taking him to see an apartment she wants to buy. The one she takes him to is far too expensive for Pete's salary of $75 per week, at $32,000. Trudy wishes to ask her father for the money, but Pete rejects the idea.

Pete has drinks with his parents, providing a view into his privileged, elite upbringing, where his family live a life of leisure with clubs, yachts, and summer homes on Fishers Island. Pete's father looks down on Peter for his job, saying he's "taking people out to dinner, wining and whoring" and "that's no job for a white man." Pete's father criticizes everything about Peter, including his choice of profession, Trudy and the neighborhood (83rd and Park) where Trudy would like to live. The purpose of Pete's visit becomes clear—despite his misgivings, he is there to ask his father for money for a down payment. His father rejects it, saying it's "not a good idea." He also tells Peter, "we gave you everything. We gave you your name, and what have you done with it?"

In the office, Pete, Don, and Sal meet with a prospective client, Bethlehem Steel, to pitch a new idea. He doesn't like their idea, and Don blames Pete for not properly preparing the client for liking the idea and convincing him of it. Echoing Pete's father, Don denigrates Pete's contributions. Pete feels unappreciated and insists he has good ideas. Don says "I'm sure you do. Sterling Cooper has more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich."

Pete and Trudy have dinner with Trudy's parents, and Trudy goes against Pete's wishes and asks her father for the money, which, in sharp contrast to Pete's father, he proudly agrees to give them. Pete seethes impotently, to which Trudy is oblivious. After dinner, the two quarrel in the taxi and Trudy, again obliviously, redirects the cab to a new route, ignoring Pete's desire to go directly to meet with his client.

Meanwhile, Betty begins a tentative friendship with Helen Bishop after helping Helen to evade her ex-husband. Helen asks Betty to babysit her kids while she is gone for the evening working for the Kennedy campaign. Betty is shocked when Helen's son Glen Bishop deliberately walks in on her in the bathroom. Later, he asks her for a lock of her hair, which she gives him.

After dinner, Pete has a late meeting with Bethlehem Steel, during which he pitches his own advertising idea, without the knowledge of anyone else in the office. The next day, meeting with Bethlehem Steel in the office, Don is enraged when the client expresses great enthusiasm for, not Don's new idea, but, seemingly out of nowhere, Pete's unauthorized idea of the previous evening. Once Pete and Don are alone, Pete expects to be recognized for his brilliance and initiative. Instead, Don is livid, and Pete is annoyed because he feels he saved the day but Don got the praise for it. Pete is reading the situation completely wrong, however. It was grossly inappropriate for an Account man to go behind Creative's back to pitch an idea, while at the same time not supporting Creative's efforts. Don fires Pete, leading to Pete melting down and getting drunk in his office. Don and Roger meet with the company's senior partner, Bert Cooper, who tells them that they cannot fire Pete due to his family's connections with New York's hereditary wealthy elite—Pete is a Dykeman and his family owned everything in Manhattan above 125th Street at one time. Don and Roger go see Pete and Roger, putting on a show, angrily tells Pete that he was fired, that he and Bert wanted him fired, but Don fought for Pete to have a second chance and Pete owes Don a great debt. A grateful Pete obsequiously thanks Don. That night, Pete and Trudy begin moving into their new apartment. When a new neighbor says how impressed she is by all that Trudy has been telling her about Pete's Knickerbocker connections, Pete suspects the true reason for his remaining at Sterling Cooper, and wanders away to stare dejectedly out the window at the New York City skyline.

Cultural references[edit]

Pete and his co-workers listen to the comedy album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which Paul Kinsey compares unfavorably with Lenny Bruce. Don discusses an ad that will play during commercial breaks of Bonanza. Pete offers to take a client to a production of Bye Bye Birdie. Helen Bishop volunteers for John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign. Roger reads a copy of the New York Herald Tribune in one scene.[1]

Reception[edit]

The episode received positive reviews from critics. Alan Sepinwall, writing for New Jersey's The Star-Ledger, praised the episode for developing and "humanizing" the character of Pete Campbell"[2] Andrew Johnston, writing for Slant Magazine similarly praised the episode for its development of Pete's character, as well as John Slattery's performance.[3] Todd VanDerWerff, writing for The A.V. Club in 2013, claimed that the episode was an example of how the series was "capable of such remarkable transcendence."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://thomascrampton.com/newspapers/madmen-revives-the-new-york-herald-tribune/
  2. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (February 11, 2008). "Mad Men: Mo' old money, mo' problems". The Star Ledger. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ Johnston, Andrew (August 10, 2007). "Mad Men Fridays: Season 1, Episode 4 "New Amsterdam"". The Star Ledger. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  4. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (November 27, 2013). "Mad Men: "New Amsterdam"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 

External links[edit]