“Mad Men” Interlude

Pete and Trudy

In last Sunday's episode, Pete Campbell, at the hospital awaiting the birth of his daughter, gets a visit from rival ad man Ted Chaough, who's hoping to woo Pete away from the struggling Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. 

Chaough tells Pete that his newest client is Alfa Romeo, and that Pete will really love getting behind the wheel of an Italian sports cars. Pete replies, deadpan, "I don't drive." The line was a perfect fit for Pete, an Upper East Side-bred brahmin who can trace his ancestry back to the Dutch colonialists who first settled Manhattan. Why should he drive? That's what limos and taxis are for. (Pete is too well-bred to salivate at sports cars. He leaves that to strivers like Chaough and Don Draper.)

But it turns out the line is also a bit of an inside joke. "Mad Men" is filmed in Los Angeles, where Vincent Kartheiser, the actor who plays Pete, is infamous for not owning a car, making him one of just 10 percent of Angelenos who don't drive! Instead, he relies on the city's public transit system.

Kartheiser tells the New York Times about his lifestyle:

“They’ve done a study and they’ve found that people under 30 no longer view cars as status symbols or even positive things,” Mr. Kartheiser said. “They look at them as pollutants.”

Earlier in the evening, on the way to the restaurant, Mr. Kartheiser had ruminated about his choice to be carless. “I like that my life slows down when I go places,” he said. “I have all these interactions with the human race and I can watch people living their life and not just in their car.”

Swoon.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled wonky programming.

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