Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MORTIFIED BY MORTICIA (NSFW)

I mentioned yesterday that the season finale for 'Mad Men' gave us two Zonks. I decided the second one needed a bit more thinking on my part, and even now I'm not entirely happy with this splainin I came up with. But for now, 'twill serve.....

Peggy Olsen was visited at her SCDP office by her lesbian friend Joyce Ramsey, who brought along a model named Carolyn Jones. "Like Morticia," Joyce added during the introductions.

That was a pop culture reference for the home audience, a timeline touchstone for the show's era. If it happened today in that New York atmosphere, a reference to Morticia might bring Bebe Neuwirth to mind, or Angelica Huston from the movies. Those would have been preferable than pointing out that 'The Addams Family' was a TV show, when Wednesday Addams and Sally Draper should be sharing the same TV dimension.
'The Addams Family' aird from 1964 to 1966, and this season of 'Mad Men' covered 1965. So even if there was a TV show about the Family Addams, it wouldn't have been made while their "real life" was playing out at the same time. (This is a general rule, but there are exceptions - like when Kramer was cast in an episode of 'Murphy Brown', as seen on 'Seinfeld'. But Murphy Brown was in the public eye as a newswoman; the Addams family were "quietly" living in the private sector.)

Whatever happened in the lives of the Addams family to thrust them into the public eye and eventually see their lives fictionalized in the movies must have happened after the show's cancellation (in the real world, that is. In Toobworld they just kept right on going with their lives, unseen by the TV audience in the Trueniverse.)


Carolyn Jones could conceivably be Morticia in the Toobworld version of 'The Addams Family' as well as in the real world, but that show wouldn't be around in time for Joyce to make the reference.

But what if, within the framework of Toobworld, the reference was reversed? What if Joyce meant that it had been Morticia who played Carolyn Jones?

It's a standard principle of Toobworld, that we don't get to see every moment in the lives of TV characters. Who would want to? Did you really need to see Hurley taking a dump in the jungle on 'Lost'?

My classic example of this - Pavel Chekov was never in the 'Star Trek' episode "Space Seen", but we know he met Khan Noonian Singh. They both admitted as much in the movie "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan".

And we already have an example of a member of the Addams clan having a life outside of the TV show. There was an episode in which Gomez kept getting whacked over the head, giving him multiple personalities. At some point it was clobberin' prime time again, even though it went unseen by the TV audience. They did, however, see its effect: Gomez Addams took on the role of the Riddler while the real Prince of Puzzles languished behind bars on 'Batman'.
So what if a similar situation happened to his wife Morticia?

What if, in a storyline never filmed for the TV audience, Morticia Addams embarked on an acting career? And what if she gained notoriety playing a character named Carolyn Jones? That would have to happen at some point between episodes, most likely during the summer hiatus leading into the 1965 fall TV season, but before August of that year (which is when the fourth season finale of 'Mad Men' took place.)
Having it happen so close to the "Tomorrowland" episode of 'Mad Men' would have made Morticia's role as Carolyn Jones fresh in the mind of Joyce, who also knew that Peggy would have picked up the reference. A few minutes later, we saw that Harry Crane recognized the significance of her name as well.

So when Joyce said, "This is Carolyn Jones... like Morticia", what she was saying was "Like Morticia Addams who played a character by the same name."

Now it makes me wonder what was it about the role of Carolyn Jones that made it so memorable/notorious when Morticia played her?

I'll bet it was nudity!

BCnU!

PS:
Hopefully Gomez Addams never had reason to visit the offices of SCDP. We know what would have happened if he met Don Draper's secretary/fiancee Megan Calvet - women who speak French drove him wild with desire!

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