It hits him somewhere between the moment when the debate about advertising standards and community expectations goes from the studio to a nearby restaurant and the the first time he finds himself catching a glimpse of the commercials for the show that it hits Todd that shit, this is real. This is happening. He's on TV, talking about his job and it turns out, juggling two sets of expectations at once. Shareholders versus the ABC. Client base versus keeping some sense of ethics. Uneasy mental voice versus well, the public face he needs to be.
It's about that point that Todd admits he starts to think what the fuck am I doing? because the doubts have a new face. Somehow hearing them aired on national television is different to well, the way they used to be aired. Talking to Coco (because he always talks to her, not at her), talking around the dinner table. Even when Will snarks at them in the various restaurants or other places they take their debates to, it's different when it's on TV. It's very different when you can see things played back and suddenly, there's more of an opportunity for second guessing because the viewing public is involved.
Not that he doesn't do it himself, Todd would admit.
Because when he can hear himself talking about his daughter who knows the brands and he can see her in the near future, worrying over her weight, over her acceptability. And there he is , Todd thinks, on TV. Talking about how to sell fear and how you tie that in to sex, in to being lesser, in to being ugly. In to being less than an ideal consumer.
And being on TV, he can forget wearing a suit to work. Because these days he can wear t-shirts to work and looks oddly at Will when he's doing stand up because the t-shirt and suit is reversed and lately that makes even less sense than seeing himself in a suit, as a CEO. He sees Russell and wonders about his certainty. Todd knows he's never had that, not even when he started out.
Interviews. Press. Television Lights. Ratings. His agency has a huge spike in business. People start asking after his t-shirts. Coco starts to point out Daddy on the TV. Todd starts making lists of client accounts he'd like to say no to and then crosses them out. Selling fear is not the whole story, he knows that, he does. Even Will has said that, in between exasperated bewilderment at this group of advertising people.
It's just hard to remember the work with charities, the work on public service announcements, the mentoring scheme he's been trying to develop when he considers he's selling McDonald's and cigarette companies. That's the reality - suits and accounts, not t-shirts, charity and TV.
But TV just got real.