Hey, Matthew Weiner, You Ruined Goodnight Moon

You know how you can’t give your baby the same name as someone you hate, or someone ugly, or someone you (or your significant other) slept with or someone with bad hair or flinty boogers hanging out of her nose?  Totally ruins the name right?  That’s why Sadie isn’t named after me, because I have a dry nose issue and you know how I feel about my hair.  Associations run deep, strike meaningful chords, and can ruin something beautiful (like the name “Noah,” which was vetoed for one of the above reasons before we settled on Simon).

Well, I would like to thank Mad Men for putting the final nail in the coffin for a little timeless “treasure” known as Goodnight Moon, or as we call it at my house, “That Peculiar Book About Nothing That Simon Is Obsessed With.”

Simon's Primary Lovie: Goodnight Moon

Simon’s Primary Lovey: Goodnight Moon

I have been suffering through daily readings of GM, and Simon never tires of pointing out the balloon or making a quizzical expression on that page where you say goodnight to “nobody.” It’s not so much that I dislike the book, but something about the randomness of the “narrative” gives me the creeps.

But Sunday night, as I watched the breath-taking episode of Mad Men (that I am still thinking and talking and blogging about), I sat upright on the couch (note: it takes a great deal to get me to sit up once I am prostrate on the couch) during the scene where arch-scoundrel Peter Campbell read GM to his daughter.  Matthew Weiner, the genius  behind Mad Men, has now ruined the book forever.

Man, I hate Peter Campbell– his moral turpitude (hey, all my lawyer readers, remember that word from law school?), his arrogance, his too-short pants, and his shiny forehead.  If you don’t watch this show, let me sum up Campbell by explaining that he cheats on his wife repeatedly with co-workers, prostitutes and the wife of his commuter-train buddy.  He’s arrogant, thoroughly avaricious, spineless, and mal-contented.  In short, Campbell is J.R. Ewing without the twang and the fraternal baggage.  Thank God Weiner didn’t depict Campbell reading a book that I truly love, because Campbell’s dirty paws on a book will ruin it.  I am so glad that Curious George and Babar and Suzy The Squirrel remain untarnished.

But as soon as Simon’s ardor for GM diminishes, that book is going the way of The Hunger Games, (which, incidentally, is a book that someone like Campbell would read to his little daughter).

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9 thoughts on “Hey, Matthew Weiner, You Ruined Goodnight Moon

  1. Ditto. Will never be able to read GM again without thinking of that nasty Peter Campbell. I am in Advertising and have worked with many a Pete C. There’s at least one at every agency. Hence, why I am now fortunate enough to be a freelancer 🙂

    • They still have Pet C’s running around? Funny. I always thought that only law firms had guys like him. Free lancing seems to be the way to go…that way you know what your boss is really up to!

  2. So glad I don’t watch Mad Men because I love GM. I read it every night to my daughter when she was an infant 20 years ago and now I’ve started reading it to my 3 month old. Maybe it’s because it is a really quick read. I think I mostly like the cute little bunny and the old bunny woman whispering hush.

    • Ha! You are right; it’s short. Now that Simon loves it and it’s part of our routine for about 5 weeks running, I know I will always look back with love on it. The bowl full of mush….I will probably be sobbing when Simon decides to move on.

  3. Listen, I’m not defending the scum of the earth Pete. I dislike his character immensely. However, I do see a bit more to him than you describe. He is always second best to someone else, he garners no respect, his father thought he was a loser (“I gave you my name and what have you done with it?”), his father-in-law has to carry his dead weight often, Trudy made him move out of the city despite him saying he’d rather die than move, Lane beat him up, he couldn’t get anyone excited about Jaguar even though he got them back in the running, meanwhile Don gives a rousing speech and everyone is instantly inspired.

    He’s a wet noodle in a world of fabulously dynamic people. He has absolutely no self-esteem. The guy is depressed as all hell. Even his infidelities are an attempt to fit in, to win someone – anyone’s – undying attention. He’s such a loser he can’t even get Rory to want to be with him despite the fact that she has an uglier, fatter, even more philandering husband. This man has nothing left of any sort of ego (and I mean in the self-identification way, not in the cocky way). Not that it makes me like him, I just recognize his severe depression and for that I choose not to completely hate him. Of course, I wouldn’t miss him for a moment if he was gone and fast forwarded through all his parts during the inside the actors studio.

    • Interesting. I did tap into some compassion reading your comment. You are right that he is always playing the second or worse fiddle to someone else. Funny, I read an article about Vincent K., the actor who plays PC, and he seemed very interesting. He lives in LA and does not own a car, which is practically impossible for me to fathom. Maybe he was trying to see cool and green or whatever, but overall, he impressed me as being not only NOT like PC, but fascinating and quirky in his own right. And I forgot about Lane beating the tar out of him. The whole Peggy baby thing didn’t put me on the right foot with him. But as always, Weiner gives us enough to see the complexities. In this case, you did a better job assimilating them than I did!

  4. Oh wow, I could have never imagined those things about Vincent K. I always just think they are exactly like their characters. I cannot even explain how impressed I am about the car/LA thing. We lived in LA for a few years and I couldn’t stand the car culture. People would live in shitty apartments in shitty neighborhoods and dump all their income into a car lease. It was the saddest and most shallow thing.

    Trust me, I have a lot of practice playing devil’s advocate, Ian hates Pete with a passion. And let me state for the record, I really can’t stand him myself. He’s the worst character.

    Remember a few episodes back when he was all proud of himself in the middle of the night when he fixed that drip in the sink? Turns out he did the absolute worst thing you could do and almost blew up the house. Thank god Don was there to quite literally save them all. Even if he deserved one (which he doesn’t), the guy couldn’t catch a break with a fishing net.

    I was impressed by the actress that plays Sally while watching Inside the Actor’s Studio. She seemed cute and upbeat and not at all like Sally.

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