Monday, April 27, 2015

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I'm not sure what to make of this Mad Men episode. Our Scooby gang lost their company and are getting swallowed up into the parent company, despite signing that independence clause earlier? How did that get trampled over? I must've missed something.

Everyone is frantically trying to create a West Coast office so that they have some autonomy. The pitch, while invigorating everyone, fails. However, the main company states that they will all have jobs, save for Joan in a not so subtle way.

I don't know how I feel about this. They are all millionaires, in the 70's. They are not hurting. They have job security ... things change. It's the business that they are in. Yes, this company that they worked to build has been swallowed up, but not because it wasn't successful. I don't know, I'm seeing the loss, but not a series ending loss here.

The only interesting point of the show was Peggy, again. Her dealing with the fact she has a baby out there, somewhere, was touching. The narrative she spoke of is what used to make Mad Men so good. Why do men get to move on from their mistakes and women can't? Her battles in the show are about feminism. How does one have a career and a family? That has been turned over and over in the years. In her time frame, the 70's, you almost couldn't have both. In my time frame, the 80's and 90's, women were told we could have it all. We were told you could wait to have kids. Now, there is some backlash to that. Can women have a family and a career? Do women want to put off having families to have a career? Many of us in our later 30's are now realizing, hey, my body may not be able to have that baby without help - maybe we really can't have it all. Maybe, we need to have one, more than the other. Not exclusively, but the balance may shift to spending more time having a family, while part-time working, or perhaps not being the CEO of the company after all. What Peggy faces in the show in the 70's is still going on today. Feminism is one of the themes I have alway loved about the show. When we start with Betty in season 1, her smoking despondently at the kitchen table. I tell you what, that was my mom.

I don't have high hopes for the ending of this show. What started off as consistent, all encompassing magical writing, now just gives us crumbs.

Monday, April 20, 2015

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I have to admit, I'm kind of tired of Mad Men.

They need to stop announcing that there is only 3 episodes left. Nothing is happening! Who cares if there are only three left, they could very well end it next week and I wouldn't care. Just tell me what happens so I can move on.

The thing is, existential crises are fine, except for the fact that all these characters are doing nothing to begin with.

I used to like that the series showed the mundane, but under a microscope. This seems more like someone forget where the microscope is at.

Glen was kinda of cool, if it had been more flushed out. How many boys do you think signed up for Vietnam because they had nothing better to do, or they wanted to be heroes like their fathers were in WWII? I, of course, am referring to early on in the war, not so much when it got so out of hand. I know my dad tried to sign up and my grandpa told him he would shoot him in the family room before he let his son go off to war.

I liked the scene with Betty and her daughter. I liked that they had found some common ground. It was really nice to see. Betty certainly still isn't going to be mother of the year, but what I liked about this scene (especially if you have lost a parent) is that when you look back, once your parent has died, those are the times that you remember, that you hold onto. You know your mom wasn't the greatest, but the part of you that still loves her? That part of you remembers that time at the kitchen table ...

As for Don, I don't know why we are beating the empty apartment over the head. We get the symbolism. His life is just as empty as his apartment. Stop patting yourselves on the back.

I think that is the problem with the show, they are so used to everyone patting them on the back, they don't realize that now it is just "yes men" who are doing the patting. The show has teetered on the edge of being too full of itself for awhile, and I think this episode just caused them to go over the edge.

We get it. Don is supposed to be a miserable, lonely, washed-up person. Betty is a bad mom. Looks fade. Men are pigs. The higher ups are so used to having everything that they could want that they don't actually know what to do with themselves anymore. Peggy's dreams of accomplishing something in a man's world is lost on Don and other men in the episode because they have forgotten what it was like to not be allowed to do anything that they want.

What I want, is three better episodes to finish off this series.

Update to my post ...

I also wonder what will happen to Sally and Bobby. I would really like to see some closure on their two lives, however, I know this is difficult because then we would have to a time jump, or flash-forward or what not. I'm not a huge fan of those. They rarely work well and it almost seems like a too easy writing technique to skip over the difficulties with ending a series. Personally, I would love to see a show that picks up 20 years down the road. Sally in her first job, Bobby dealing with mom issues. I think that would be really, really cool.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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The most recent episode of Mad Men is titled "New Business".

This episode seemed to me to be about the lies that people tell themselves. Megan lies to herself that she doesn't want anything from Don, that she doesn't need him. She wants to think of herself as strong enough to not need to rely on him.

However, she blames him for everything that went wrong in their marriage, and while yes, he cheated on her, she too changed the game plan by not being his partner. She chose acting over him. I can't help but think when Mr. Disgusting (Harry) questioned who would pick California over New York, was in a way, who would pick acting over Don and all he had to offer.

Megan also takes the check after stating she didn't need him. Oh, how her morals crumbled when she looked at one million dollars. She talks a big game, but she can be just as easily bought as the rest of them.

As for Diana and Don, that was just so sad on so many levels. Don wants to connect with a woman who he views as needing help. Someone who needs saving, someone like his mother that he couldn't save maybe? He wants to see himself more as who he was with this woman, he wants to reinvent himself. However, she is stuck in Dante's Inferno, a lost soul who wants to stay in a tortured place. She wants to keep torturing herself. Unlike Don, she's not looking for redemption, so Don needs to leave. I just found that whole thing very, very depressing. Not poorly written, just depressing.
Why is he always casual around Betty and the Kids? Does this mean something?

Also, how gross is Harry? I mean, really. On so many levels, he is just so disgusting. He's a horrible coworker, he's full of himself, and just so blech.

I hate him. I may hate him more than Pete, which is saying ALOT!

The thing with Megan was so slimy. Then to go to Don and try and pretend like Megan was going to slander him. I'm super happy Don saw right through that.

Looking forward to next week.

Monday, April 6, 2015

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This episode is called Severance.

It's so crazy how much you can miss a show. As soon as the characters were back on the screen, it was like coming home. All that nostalgia that Don Draper is always talking about.

Don looks very, very confident as he is parading around town with all of his new friends. Yet, as an audience that has seen this man over the years, we know inside he is struggling. He is filling his loneliness and his fears of identity with what he knows how to do, have sex. To woo. It took me awhile to realize that he imagined Rachael. He has a sense of these things, as his did with Anna Draper before her death. Rachael was, for all intents and purposes, the one that got away. The one that was his equal. Her death hits him hard, for this reason, and because he is deeply lonely inside while desperately wanting to connect. He wants to stop hiding, but he seems to be hiding even more than usual. The best scene in the episode was the emotion that Don shows at the funeral. It's true emotion, he can't hide his sense of loss over Rachael. The sense that he didn't really know her, that she was the one that got away, that she moved on, that people die, that he will die -- it is inevitable. He tries to connect with the waitress, but he misses his mark there, too. She has sex with him because she thinks she owes him something for the large tip. He is still lonely. He "just wants to sit there". I loved the panning back of the camera, of the other people at the counter, lonely as well.

There was still some great Mad Men humor in the show. Everything to do with Ken was awesome. I swear, the reason the show has been so good over the years is the mixing of what is ultimately so sad with the beauty in life. They are often two emotions and states of being that are entwined. Ken and Pete have a history of being pitted against each other and this was no different. They are like a great basketball game where the lead changes constantly. You can never be sure who is ultimately going to walk away with the championship. It's almost like Dante's Inferno. They will live this horror out for eternity.

I also really liked the scene with Peggy and Joan. Women have a history of being meanest to each other when they should really band together. The men in the meeting were horrifying to Joan. That was a terrible position to be in. While we all would like to jump up and say something, we have to remember how difficult it was back then. It was the early 70's. Women for the most part still didn't have jobs like Joan and Peggy did. Peggy and Joan probably could have done something to curb the remarks but didn't. They were in fear of escalating the situation and of losing the pitch. Plus, they really were trying to keep some level of professionalism to the meeting. However, after the meeting, Peggy could have
just said what she should have said, which was, yes, those guys were assholes and I wanted to strangle them. I tried the best I could to keep redirecting the conversation back to the facts of the pitch. Peggy absolutely did not need to then turn it around as to be Joan's fault. Also, Joan does not wear the most revealing outfits in that office I might add. Joan is just an extremely beautiful woman. On the other hand, while I agree that Joan had every right to be mad at Peggy, that did not give Joan the right to attack Peggy's plainness. Peggy can be beautiful. Joan and Peggy just have different types of beauty, like all women do. They did not need to go at each other when really what made both of them so mad was the men's behavior. Yet, that is so like what women have a tendency to do, attack each other. Peggy was angry to for the men's disparaging remarks. It was so classless. I reiterate, band together next time ladies!

I can't wait for next week's episode. I have to find out if Betty will ever be happy, although the answer is and should be no. What will happen to Sally? Love, love, love this show.