Please, Roger Sterling, Don't Judge All Canadian Women By Your Experience With One Québecoise!
As America finishes up with Mad Men, one Canadian woman is told to finish up with Canada. ...Well, Canadian-ish.
Of all the characters whose fate Mad Men viewers most wanted to see resolved, Marie Calvet probably placed higher in the rankings than Glen Bishop for most viewers, but...like, just. This was a lady who hadn't even shown up until the show was practically over, and whose position as one of the show's other most divisive characters' mother doesn't exactly elevate her to the upper echelons of anyone's list of faves. (We couldn't have checked in on what Sal was doing? Drawing ads for a free weekly newspaper in San Francisco, maybe?) But for one segment of the Mad Men viewing audience, Marie's penultimate scene may have become very important for an important reason: she let the show give Canada one last shout-out, and this Canadian, at least, was listening.
Roger's "package" (hee hee) having been delivered from the airport to his hotel room, he and Marie are post-coitally canoodling, sharing a cigarette she's imported from Montreal, from whence she's just returned. "DuMaurier," grunts Roger. "They taste like le shit" -- which, according to my informal focus group this morning, is a view shared by 100% of Americans. Marie, still in her afterglow, allows this slam on her adopted homeland (she's FRENCH-French by birth), chuckling that she misses them. "Too bad," drawls Roger. "You're done with Canada." Roger Sterling, my GOD. Even emigrants are never truly "done with Canada," and may continue to receive, with excitement and gratitude, shipments of (superior) Canadian Twizzlers, Canadian Oh Henry! Eggs (after Easter, when they're cheaper), and Kraft Creamy Cucumber salad dressing -- which STUPID American Kraft doesn't make at all -- as many as eight years after they've left their home and native land! I hear!
Roger's anti-Canadian declaration proves to be just a prelude to a spat between this very international couple, ending with Marie ordering Roger to sleep on the couch in the other room with the TV: "That is your friend." It's understandable that she would be dismissive of the medium if her only exposure to it was Canadian shows -- which are still pretty crappy today and certainly were even worse then. But who knows how serious Marie really is about throwing over Roger in a permanent way and returning to Montreal? Around Hallowe'en of 1970, Montreal was in the middle of the October Crisis, and separatist fervour was on the rise. From what we've seen, Marie (unlike her now-ex-husband Émile) doesn't have any especially strong political convictions; if her reaction to Megan's divorce is anything to go by, she's loyal to the Catholic Church above all...or, that is, as loyally Catholic as a married lady who'd give a handsome ad men a blowie in public can be. On the other hand, if she is sympathetic to the Separatist cause, when Roger tells her that she's done with Canada, her private reaction might be "Duh."
The challenge in rating the Canadianosity of this mention is, how Canadian are the Québecois, anyway? As the rest of this scene proves, their constantly simmering resentment and quickness to rage makes them a lot more like their French ancestors than like the mild-mannered Canadian neighbours who politely surround them -- so politely, in fact, that they even tolerate Quebec's intermittent secessionist impulses.
Then again...Marie's attitude in this scene kind of mirrors Quebec's provincial character: Marie makes a lot of noise and hassle and acts all pissed, but not even she really believes she's going to secede from her relationship with Roger. In the end, she's happy enough for him to prove he's willing to learn as much French as he needs to order in a restaurant, much as the rest of Canada has learned, by osmosis, the French words on the packaging of the food that lives in their kitchens. Like Quebec and the rest of Canada, Marie and Roger are deux homards, mated for life, as far as we will ever know.