19 November, 2009

More Mad Men (do I ever stop?)

I'm having a boring argument on Television Without Pity about how Trudy is "enabling" Pete or whatever. I didn't even know how to properly argue about this because enabling is this word with a bunch of connotations that don't actually have to do with the definition so you can't just look it up in the dictionary and argue against that. Because enabling technically means making someone more capable and prepared for things, which is what Trudy is doing. But the way this person means it, I think, is that Trudy is shielding Pete from the consequences of his actions, and (in the poster's words) treating Pete like he's her child.

Okay, number one, who cares if she's treating him like her child? They both seem to like it. They both seem to be doing a lot better than they were in seasons one and two. What's the problem? It's weird? You wouldn't like it? Well, awesome, nobody's forcing you to have that kind of relationship.

Number two, this person seems to have this attitude that help is something you should get because you're a good person and you deserve it, not because you need help. I said, "Pete clearly has some kind of social impairment and has a lot of trouble controlling his emotions, I'm glad Trudy is helping him because he seems to be doing a lot better." The person said, oh, so Pete needs Trudy to keep him from committing rape and adultery?

Well...apparently. I guess I would argue that a combination of ASD and growing up with lots of privilege but no love (actually someone said it really well the other day--Pete was raised to believe that he's entitled to everything, but doesn't deserve anything) have created a person who has a very hard time relating to people, caring about them, understanding cause and effect/delayed gratification, and containing the pretty massive amount of rage that arises from his feeling that he has no control over his life. So, yeah, it's not that unbelievable to me that Pete needs Trudy--a person who genuinely cares about him and understands him, and has very good social skills and can explain to him what's going wrong--to keep from doing things that are fucked up.

Hopefully this won't always be the case. He seems to me to be growing up. He didn't yell at Pryce in 3x12 for example. He is displaying actual affection and loyalty and stuff to Trudy, which makes me flail my hands around with excitement. PETE IS BEING A PERSON!! YAY!!

But, according to this TWoP individual, Pete doesn't deserve to get the help he obviously needs in becoming a person, because he isn't a person now. Okay, cool, he doesn't deserve it, but can't we just be happy for him and the people around him? Trudy wouldn't be wrong to tell Pete he's a shit and she wants nothing to do with him, but everyone else already tried that and it didn't work. Not helping people who need help may be fair in an Ayn Rand sort of way, but I can't bring myself to criticize Trudy for being willing to help Pete grow up.


  1. I haven't seen any of Season Three yet, so I don't think I've yet seen much of Trudy helping Pete. (Well, there was her father agreeing to give Sterling Cooper his company's account, just because Pete was family, but I'm not sure how much of that was due to any petitioning on Trudy's part. From what I've seen, though, she does often try to recruit her family members to help her and Pete pay for things, though, which Pete resists).

    I definitely agree, though, about there being nothing wrong with a romantic partner helping you become a better person, and trying to teach you things. I also think there's sometimes a fine line between infantilizing a person and meeting them at their level --- I suspect the TWOP poster might think Trudy is doing the former, while you see her doing the latter.

    (Also, my feelings about Pete are ... complicated. I like him sometimes, I can certainly sympathize with him, but he does such shitty, backstabby, cowardly things. He bullies whomever he can get away with bullying, and I really hate bullies. I also can't tell how much of the sympathy I do have for the character would evaporate if he were played by anyone other than Vincent Kartheiser...)

  2. dude you have to watch it, it's so wonderful. Their s3 relationship is the best thing ever:


    A lot of the time I talk out loud to Pete while I'm watching the show--which I guess means that while I think he's awful, I also feel closer to him than I do to anyone else.