Mad Men Writing Prompt: Season 1, Episode 9

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“Shoot”

shoot

Perhaps the best scene in Season 1. Don’t mess with Betty.

Episode Summary: 

Don’s being courted by the huge firm of McCann Erickson. (Side note: Jim Hobart tries to lure Don by talking about the big accounts they have, including Coca-Cola. A foreshadow to the last season? Or just coincidence?). Part of the carrot that Jim dangles for Don is to offer Betty a modeling gig. Jim perhaps sees Betty as the deciding factor, and if this firm can give her a brief return to her former life as a model, maybe she can sway Don to jump ship.

In short, the modeling gig doesn’t work out. When it’s clear that Don isn’t going to take the job, McCann Erickson sees no need for Betty anymore. She’s unceremoniously dumped, but once she gets home she tells Don it was her decision to not continue working. After all, she just couldn’t stand the idea of him coming home to no dinner on the table.

The final scene is one of the best of the entire season. Betty takes out her frustrations — at losing the modeling gig, at being trapped at home, at functioning almost solely as a wife and mother — on her neighbor’s pigeons. With a gun in her hand, she’s in control, if only for that brief moment.

Writing prompt:

A natural conflict occurs when a character is trapped. Perhaps the character has made decisions that have unknowingly led to the trapped life. Maybe those decisions looked like good choices in the beginning, but years later prove to be constraining. How does your character react to being trapped? What will he/she decide to do about it? Can you write a scene that represents a breaking point, much like the scene in which Betty shoots the pigeons?

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