Sunday, August 22, 2010

Did You Get Pears?

"Did you get pears? Did you get pears? Did you get pears?" "We'll discuss it inside."
- the last lines of last Sunday's episode of Mad Men

What the heck was that all about? Were they showing us that Don has sunk so low that his decrepit old neighbors don't trust him enough to discuss produce purchases in front of him? Were they telling us that Don has returned to his roots - left upper middle class suburbia for a low-rent dump? Was this Don observing what he might have become - a whiny, dependent old man - if his marriage hadn't ended? Were we seeing that even when he's sunk into alcoholism and isolation, Don is always observing things about people that help him be a great ad man (as opposed to the focus groups he dismissed earlier in the episode)? Was it a comment on the paranoia in America during the 60s? Or was it a coded message to the audience, with pears really being "pairs" - telling us to observe the dualities in the episode?

Could it possibly be that all those meanings were packed into that one, brief, seemingly pointless little segment? Or is this show so enigmatic that we can create our own meaning?

Sometimes Mad Men seems more like a poem than a novel.



Anonymous said...

It's a reference to Pear's soap:

One of the first products with illustrated packaging, with connections to the 'father of modern advertising'.

Anonymous said...

i thought it was the theme of keeping things private, like don had said to his market research director. some shit is none of people's businesss.

but i thought of the pear's soap thing too. that's what makes the show great.

who the hell is lyle evans?

Anonymous said...

Why think it was 'pears' rather than 'pairs', or even 'pars' [as in golf]? Or 'Pairs', famous detective of that era?

Cammie Novara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thin Cammie is subtly suggesting that it isn't pears but 'peres'. 'Did you bring the fathers.'

Anonymous said...

It's an anagram:

Grey, pious, dated
Go, persuade, tidy
Pity us dogeared

Anonymous said...

Repetition, and in particular saying something three times, is indicative of ritual. The response from the wife ("We'll discuss it inside") is a clear indication of mystery.

Don overhears this conversation while standing by his door, key in hand. Poised between the public realm and the private realm, he observes this secret ritual that he is not privvy to, signifying his fundamental lack of connectedness with humanity.


Anonymous said...

started watching mad men recently and have systematicly made my way through episode after episode. after watching the 'did you get pears' bit, i felt compelled to google. I really love your host of possible explanations! They all work! Mad men is period piece poetry!!! :)

Anonymous said...

What years were the comments? Anyway, I'm here in 2014. My Madmen marathon continues. I just knew others would write about this. It is like we converge across some vast landscape, seeking to find answers. Maybe some of us wished we had fellow inquirers sitting next to us as deeply interested in this amazing series.

fet said...

I feel the same way, wish I could discuss it with someone.

Anonymous said...

Just as important as the dialogue is the sound of Don locking the door behind him.

Google returned a couple hundred results when I searched for this scene, but of them all you've written by far the most subtle and illuminating analysis. Thank you.