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Great "Mad Men" Moment: Miss Blankenship's Death at Her Desk

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AMC

    Yet another reason why "Mad Men" rules the television drama planet: just when you start to love Don Draper's new secretary, she dies an inglorious, lonely death at her desk.

    The scene, and the various ripple effects it caused in the office, carried what was an otherwise uneven episode of the Emmy award-winning drama on Sunday.

    Miss Ida Blankenship had been brought in for Draper because we were assured she would not end up sleeping with the boss and then quitting. Loud, brash, slow, blind and thoroughly unattractive, she was the other extreme of Draper's smooth, cool world.

    Yet, there were moments, especially in last night's episode, where it appeared she could carve out a role in the dangerous world of Madison Avenue.

    "It's a business of sadists and masochists, and you know which one you are," she said to Peggy, after she had been snapped at by Draper.

    And then, when sitting next to Bertrand Cooper, he asked her a three-letter word for a bird that doesn't fly. When he dismisses her suggestion of an emu, claiming the word should begin with an L, she replies without even looking up: "Like hell it does."

    Her rigid, face-first plunge into the desk was pure dark comedy that allowed for the office to devolve into pure mad-cap comedy -- her body had to be removed without disturbing a key client meeting across the way.

    It was also as painful as it looked. The actress, Randee Heller, told AMC that even the foam placed on the desk did not entirely protect her from the 10 takes it took to shoot the scene.

    But most importantly, it was a poignant statement about the cold business world on the fringe of which she had lived.

    “She died like she lived -- surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” said Roger Sterling, in a depressing but dead-on tribute.

    Rest in Peace Ida Blankenship.