|Joan and Greg Harris|
|First appearance||For Those Who Think Young|
|Final appearance||Mystery Date|
|Parent(s)||Gail Holloway (Joan's Mother)|
- 1 Season 2: Engagement
- 2 Season Three: Marriage
- 3 Season 4: Marriage and the Army
- 4 Season 5: Returning Home
Season 2: Engagement
For Those Who Think Young
We are made aware of Joan and Greg’s courtship. In this episode Roger grills Joan on her relationship, where Joan claims she “knows what day” Greg will eventually propose. It’s Valentines Day and during a Tour of The White House, we cut to Joan sneaking a watch of the telecast, despite being in the middle of a make-out session with Greg on the couch. ("For Those Who Think Young")
The New Girl
In The New Girl, we are made aware of Greg’s proposal to Joan after she is seen flaunting her new engagement ring in front of the entire office. In this episode we learn that Greg is 34 years old and during yet again another grilling session with Roger, when he asks Joan “what’s wrong” with Greg, Joan sweetly replies “nothing” with a grin.
When Joan describes Greg to the office, it makes him sound a dream, almost too good to be true. ("The New Girl")
A Night to Remember
Temporarily given additional work for Harry Crane, Joan brings scripts home to read for Broadcast Operations. When coming home from picking up Chinese-take-out, Greg proves himself a traditionalist when he claims Joan should be watching the TV shows, not reading them; while eating bon-bon’s to “soothe her cravings”. This hints that Greg one day wants a family with Joan, to which she reveals she in fact enjoys the work.
This episode we actually see the relationship dynamic, when Joan and Greg sit at the dinner table together, when Greg asks Joan, “did you get me my water, hun” this makes Greg seem like somewhat of a traditionalist, that he likes to waited on hand-and-foot by his woman; which is a role Joan does oppose to. ("A Night to Remember")
The Mountain King
With the TV on still in the background Joan and Greg are in the middle of a make-out session, where she says she is “glad [he’s] not tired anymore”. She then begins to dominate Greg sexually, by saying that he is “tired” and to let her “do the driving”. Uncomfortable Greg stops her advances claiming he is fact he is tired again. When asking if “something is wrong”, Greg replies to Joan asking where she picked up such a move, Joan simply tells Greg “Greg, I told you there is no before.” before they go to sleep.
This is an example of Joan’s sexual power. She is not afraid to take charge of her sexuality and use it, which would be in the 60’s a very unusual quality for a woman. In this moment between them, Joan’ sexual exuberance could make Greg feel somewhat emasculated. Also, when Joan tells Greg “there is no before”, this could hint that the two of them aren't necessarily honest about one another’s past relations, or possibly Greg wouldn't be open to Joan’s sexual past, which we know as the audience is quite colorful.
In an attempt to flaunt her new fiancé to the entire office, Greg swings by Sterling Cooper give Joan a bouquet of roses and to pick-up Joan before taking her to a fancy French restaurant. Stopping for a moment to talk to Roger, during a stolen glance between Roger and Joan, Roger questions Joan’s palette for French food, before picking her purse at her desk. Seeing Don’s office Greg demands Joan to make him a drink, and to “pretend [he’s] [her] boss.” Following Joan into Don’s office, Greg closes and locks the door behind him before he starts to caress Joan. Uncomfortable it isn’t her office, she asks Greg to stop, Greg then begins to question Joan about “that Sterling guy” knowing a lot about her, defending herself by saying she has been working there for “nine years” Greg carries on his pursuit of Joan, where she continues to protest, forcing her to the floor, he rapes her. Leaving the office Joan leaves the bouquet of roses Greg had given her on her desk.
Even though there is not justification for raping your fiancé, Greg’s actions in this episode could be to project his manhood, to show that he is the “man” in their relationship and could be a ploy in order to regain his masculinity. Remember that in the scene Joan is wearing multiple shades of purple, during scenes where Joan is wearing her “heart on her sleeve” per se, she is always wearing at least one shade of purple. It also shows how attitudes towards marital rape have changed over the years, as at the time there was a spousal exception to rape law. ("The Mountain King")
Season Three: Marriage
Joan and Greg have married during the interim of Seasons 2 and 3, Joan is shown finishing her last couple of weeks as Office Manager at Sterling Cooper.
My Old Kentucky Home
Joan and Greg are preparing for a dinner party for Greg’s boss Dr. Ronald Ettinger and his wife, along with another colleague and his wife. Before dinner Joan and Greg get into a tiff about the seating arrangement, before coming to a compromise. During dinner it is reveal Greg had a mishap during surgery, where Ronald reassures him that every doctor “gets a bad result” every once in a while. Unknowing to Joan, who is shocked by her husband’s withdrawal of serious information, Greg diverts the attention from himself by making a hesitant Joan share one of her many talents by playing an Americanized version of the French song, “C’est Magnifque” on the accordion. Joan does so, while staring at Greg embittered.
This is one of the many times we see cracks in the marriage between Joan and Greg, Greg hasn’t shared a vital part of his experience as surgeon with Joan, which begs the question how honest are they to each other? ("My Old Kentucky Home")
Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency
A drunken Greg stumbles home, waking a sleeping Joan on the couch. Knowing he is drunk, she demands to know where he has been. Joining her Greg shares the bad news that he didn't get the Chief Resident of Surgery promotion, citing that Ronald Ettinger told him that he had “no brains in his fingers”; probably diminishing any chance of Greg ever getting a job that involves being a surgeon. In a bind, Greg tells Joan that she’ll have to keep her office job, to which she replies “Greg that’s done” – Greg then demands she gets another job. Joan then reassures him that he is still a doctor and that she loves him for his “heart not, [his] hands”. ("Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency")
Pete runs into Joan at Bonwit-Teller as a Retail Supervisor, shielding her embarrassment she claims she is working there temporarily, while bragging to Pete that Greg is now going into psychiatry to save face. After Pete leaves the store, a humiliated Joan stands at the counter face in palm.
Remember that in the episode Joan is wearing a jewel-shade of purple dress, already stated that when Joan is wearing purple its usually when shes stripped right down to her emotion, in this scene Joan would ultimately be feeling "defeated", to go from the leader of the harem to a surgeons wife to a sales supervisor, is not a step in the right direction, socially speaking. ("Souvenir")
The Gypsy and the Hobo
While helping Greg prepare for his psychiatry interview Greg shares the fact that his father underwent psychiatric treatment and that his mother also had a mental breakdown, surprised Joan advises him that psychiatry is a profession about talking intimately and he should be as open as he with her during the interview.
Coming back from the interview, revealing it went badly Joan attempts to comfort her disappointed husband. In a moment of self loathing Greg snaps at Joan, claiming she doesn’t know what it’s to “want something your whole life and to plan for it, and not get it!” And in a moment of heated frustration Joan smashes a vase over Greg’s head, before retiring into the other room, while Greg calls her “insane”.
Returning home with a bouquet of flowers admitting he was “feeling sorry for himself” Greg springs on the unforeseen news that he has in fact enlisted in the Army as a surgeon, without Joan’s consent. Joan pretends to be happy with and for Greg, before turning away from him revealing she is feeling uneasy.
Greg’s enlisting in the Army without consulting Joan is one of the many examples of Greg consistently putting himself before their marriage, and is a prime example of his selfishness towards her. Joan has demonstrated her generosity by helping her husband find another profession while lending her time and expertise in trying to solidify his chances of getting something that is vital to the working of their marriage. It’s an example of Joan’s persistence in trying to make the marriage work. ("The Gypsy and the Hobo")
Season 4: Marriage and the Army
Joan has returned to her post as Office Manager at the newly formed Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
The Good News
The episode opens with Joan visiting her OB/GYN consulting when she and Greg can start a family. We learn that Joan has had two abortions in the past, which wont effect her chances of conceiving.
It’s the turn of the New Year and Greg is preparing to leave for basic training, finishing up his residency at the hospital. In an attempt to go away with her husband, Joan is denied a few days off after the New Year. The couple get into a fight about the uncertainty of their future and whether Greg will eventually get called up to Vietnam after basic training.
In attempt to patch things up, Joan prepares an early morning breakfast for her and Greg saying they can celebrate the New Year in Hawaii as she puts lei around his neck. Preparing freshly squeezed orange juice Joan cuts herself badly on a knife, spurring Greg to spring to action, ejecting her with aesthetic and stitching her up. Calming her down with light humour, Joan breaks down to her emotion and begins to cry.
This is an example of Greg not knowing Joan at all and not understanding her. Joan at this time is 34 years old, the time for her to have a family is running out, for those times it was considered middle-age. Joan in Season 4 is desperate to start a family with Greg, and the fact that Greg is leaving her to work, is counter-productive to her life plan as opposed to his. Even Joan’s doctor finds it odd that Greg is leaving her to be in the Army, citing “I only went to Korea because, they made me”. ("The Good News")
The Summer Man
In the summer of 1965 Greg is days away from being sent away for basic training. An emotionally flawed Joan comes home early from the office to sigh bereaved at Greg’s packed suitcase. In pursuit of Joan sexually to try and make her feel better, Joan claims it “doesn’t make it better it, makes it worse.”, when she asks “what am I going to do? Who am I going to talk to?” Greg replies that she’ll have her friends at work to talk to. This makes Joan succumb to her emotions once again breaking down into tears.
An example of Greg yet again not understanding Joan, at work Joan does not have friends; she merely has colleagues and superiors. Later in the Seasons though we do see her warming up to associates like Don and Lane. ("The Summer Man")
The Beautiful Girls
While Greg is about to be called up to Vietnam, Joan and Roger reconnect sexually for one night.
This one night eventually results in Joan getting pregnant with Rogers child, it isn’t until the episode, Tomorrowland we realize Joan has decided to keep the baby. ("The Beautiful Girls")
In the early stages of her pregnancy Joan is seen with a tiny baby bump around the office. After a tumultuous day Joan is seen talking on the phone with Greg about her pregnancy, passing it off as his child. ("Tomorrowland")
Season 5: Returning Home
Joan is finishing up the last couple of weeks of maternity leave; she has given birth to a healthy baby boy named Kevin. It isn’t until the episode Signal 30 where she eventually returns to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
This episode marks the day Greg finally comes home after a year in service. Preparing anxiously for his return Joan makes sure everything is perfect, with the help of her mother Gail. When Greg returns Gail takes Kevin out, so Joan and Greg can “visit a spell”, they spend the entire afternoon in bed.
During lunch Joan and Greg sit together and have a serious conversation on the fact that Greg has to return to war for another year, only leaving them ten days together. Outraged Joan calls the Government a “bunch of liars”, when Greg takes her hand citing “nobody lied to anyone.”
Later at dinner with his folks, Joan, Kevin and Gail at fancy French restaurant, Greg’s mother accidentally reveals Greg wasn’t forced to go back, but rather he volunteered, a devastated Joan stares at him absolutely dumbfounded.
Returning home, Joan and Greg get into a huge fight, with a screaming Kevin in the background, where Joan is furious Greg would pick responsibility in the Army over his responsibility as a father. In his defence Greg compares the War in Vietnam to World War II, leading Joan to exclaim “soldiers wanted to come home from World War II also.” In a moment for heated frustration Greg storms out, leading an exhausted Joan to say that Greg doesn’t care for Kevin, until she eventually goes to bed.
The next morning, with Greg at the breakfast table, Joan joins him after a sleepless night. Gail withdraws herself from the room when Joan says to Greg she’s been thinking about his situation and she “wants him to go.” Thinking that Joan has come around Joan explains to Greg, she wants him to “go and never come back.” Leading a tempestuous Greg to grab Joan by the arm and claim that the doctors and medics “need him” for his “skill and leadership”, to which Joan replies that she’s “glad that the army makes [him] feel like a man” because she is “sick of trying to do it.” In a moment of defence Greg makes the pretension that the Army makes him feel like a “good man” and offering a rebuttal, Joan replies that Greg is “not a good man” and that he never was, and he “knows what [she] is talking about” before snatching her hand away from his grip. When Greg stands giving Joan the ultimatum that if her “walks out the door, that’s it” to which she replies “that’s it.” With that Greg leaves Joan.
This is the episode where Joan reaches her precipice. She has finally had enough of consistently time and time again, trying to make her marriage work, whereas Greg just resists, while constantly putting himself and his need to feel like “the man” between them. Things have also changed in the dynamic of the family, with the arrival of Kevin – Greg also should be thinking about him too as well as Joan. But the reality is that Joan has been rearing the marriage on her own since day one, and ultimately she’s decided that she’s going to go at it alone, because its better than waiting for him. It’s the revelation that Greg has provided nothing to the relationship, and certainly no love and devotion towards her. It is also the episode where Joan acknowledges the fact that Greg had raped her, therefore can receive closure on that dramatic time. ("Mystery Date")
Greg eventually serves Joan with divorce papers, to which she claims makes him feel he has the “moral high-ground” ("Christmas Waltz")