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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 08/ 2/2010

'Mad Men': Why it's great to see Freddy again

By Jen Chaney

On last night's "Mad Men," Freddy Rumsen -- the joke-cracking copywriter who drank his way out of a job at Sterling Cooper -- made his triumphant return to the AMC series's advertising world by bringing the Pond's Cold Cream account straight to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and (kinda sorta) getting his job back.

It was fantastic to see him again, especially since the last time he appeared he had just gotten fired after wetting his pants and passing out at the office. You know, a typical Monday on the job. Such treatment, especially after Freddy -- played by Joel Murray, brother of Bill -- had clearly demonstrated his numerous, invaluable talents to his colleagues:

Suffice it to say, Freddy's return was more than welcome and we hope he sticks around for many episodes to come. Here are five reasons why.


Freddy's straight-forward rapport with Roger.
Even though Roger Sterling was ultimately responsible for letting Freddy go, he clearly has a fondness for the man, who worked for Roger's dad back in the day. And that's why Freddy can walk into Roger's oh-so-mod office, dangle a multi-million-dollar account in front of the silver fox and then point out that the polka-dot, vaguely psychedelic painting on Roger's wall appears to be sucking both of them into its vortex.

As he demonstrated during last night's episode, Freddy can eat a heaping roast beef sandwich while simultaneously smoking a cigarette. Granted, that's par for the '60s-era course as far as unhealthy "Mad Men" behavior goes. Still, there's something impressive about watching that much cholesterol and nicotine enter the same middle-aged body all at once.

The fascinating dynamic between Freddy and Peggy. When Freddy took his "extended leave of absence," Peggy slid into his job and his office. When the two of them got to collaborate on the Pond's account in last night's episode, the discussions of cold cream appeal revealed the many layers in the relationship -- a bit of father/daughter, mentor/mentee, friend-to-friend and old school vs. new school. "You're old-fashioned," Peggy told Freddy rather meanly, while he duly noted that Peggy still harbors some traditional values since she clearly wants to get married.

The back-and-forth between the two is far more fascinating than anything that's happening between Peggy and her frisky boyfriend Mark, aka Karl from "Lost." Hey, maybe that's part of the problem. Mark clearly belongs with Danielle Rousseau.

Freddy's newfound sobriety. The reformed Freddy Rumsen has been sober for 16 months and is doing his best to keep it that way, even if it means avoiding the company Christmas party. He even provided support for his fellow alcoholic friend at Pond's, who got knocked completely off the wagon courtesy of a boozy lunch with Roger. For Freddy's sake, I am totally hoping he stays sober and on the right track. For the sake of great television, I can't wait until he too falls off the wagon and has another "accident" at work.

More zipper music! As demonstrated above, Freddy can play Mozart with his pants zipper. If he is again a permanent part of the "Mad Men" crew, one can only hope he gets the opportunity to further explore his talent. Maybe he can play something by Frank Sinatra? The Beatles? The possibilities for Freddy, the Man With the Musical Trousers are endless, especially now that he seems capable of getting through an entire day without accidentally wetting them.

By Jen Chaney  | August 2, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture, TV  
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Comments

Don't forget the return of Pete's wife, who, as of last nite, I realized is the Alison Brie, the girl who plays Trudy on Community!

And that creepy kid Glen, who is also Matthew Weiner's son.

Posted by: wadejg | August 2, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

After Freddy's dig at Peggy (something about how she objected to his sexist ideas on how to pitch Ponds because it "hit too close to the mark" or something like that), he deserved her telling him off. And I didn't feel that bad when he was fired--that's kind of what happens when you piss in your pants because you're too drunk to see straight. That said, good on him for pulling himself together and even better, helping out the Ponds guy. He and Peggy do seem to have a healthy relationship and it's nice to see some continuity with the past.

And yay for creepy Glen! The lanyard of love in Sally's bed was too adorable--kind of like a modern version of the favors medieval women would give their knightly admirers to wear during tournaments.

Posted by: NYC123 | August 2, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's Freddy Rumsen, not Romsen. Also, it's Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Posted by: koenigeducation | August 2, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I was happily surprised to see Freddy back, but I would also like to see Michael Gladis, aka Paul Kinsey back on the show.

I was laughing when Glen was messing up Betty's house. Kind of shocked but laughing all the same. Not that Betty would have to do any of the clean up herself.

Posted by: jtsw | August 2, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Freddy's arrival signaled all kinds of uncomfortable things--the difference between the new/old guard and ways--his old fashioned, out of date thinking about selling vs. Peggy's--Don might call her sweetheart, but Freddy had a hard time taking her seriously as an equal. It was nice to see how much she's grown that she could stand up to him so definitively.

I was seriously creeped out by Lee's appearance at the Christmas party and how, since he now controls such a huge proportion of their business--which he seems to understand--he seemed nearly sadistic in his glee to see how high they would jump.

Posted by: auntiemare | August 2, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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