Monday, May 25, 2015

My What to Watch Now Thoughts blog thanks to GoDaddy coupon CJCSIGLERC

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Last night was tough. AMC, you need to do something! You are going to lose viewers! Your model of rotating through your most popular shows has come to a screeching halt. No longer do you have Breaking Bad to rotate in - ever. No longer do you have Mad Men to rotate in - ever! The Walking Dead is on hiatus until God knows when ....

What is your plan? You had years to develop good television shows during those two aforementioned shows went permanently off the air.

Miss you
Now what do you have? Better Call Saul? While it is a decent show, it's not the best. That's it. Halt and Catch Fire? Don't care. That looks terrible. Humans? Ugh. No way. Turn seems somewhat interesting but AMC makes it hard to watch the first season of that show in order to get caught up.

This is my point. Now the network is scrambling to find something to insert in the Mad Men rotation and never successfully found something to replace Breaking Bad. While AMC and FX changed cable network tv forever with some of the best shows on air -- I'm not seeing that they are able to recreate the magic.

FX has had some fantastic shows too. Justified just ended a bit ago. They also lost Sons of Anarchy that was on for 7 seasons. However, looking at FX's lineup, they are not as bad off, despite moving some of their better shows to FXX - which is so stupid, shows like Always Sunny and The League. The League will also be leaving soon, it is on it's last season. I would watch The Americans - actually have tried, but there is no good way to stream the previous seasons. Archer is good, I know people like it although I haven't watched it. Louie (I've never seen it, it's too depressing the snippets I have caught), AHS (although, it really has dropped off in quality), and The Strain (I don't know why I watch that. Only because I read the books. I actually don't like either) are all at least successful. FX seems to have more of a track record with replacing their shows with quality other shows than AMC.

Not interested
I guess what I am saying is AMC, you had a chance to fix this debacle before it started and you didn't. I realized last night that I had no Sunday AMC show to watch, nor did I look forward to watching one for quite some time in the near future. AMC, you better get that TWD spinoff series out pronto, or you will lose a massive amount of viewers.

As for readers, what shows do you watch on Sunday nights? I need suggestions. It's one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday. I completely understand the HBO has their best line-up on Sunday night. It couldn't be any better with VEEP, John Oliver, and GoT. However, I'm looking for suggestions on any other network.

Love to you all!

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Mad Men Thoughts blog thanks to GoDaddy coupon CJCSIGLERC

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Now, my thoughts on the series finale of Mad Men.

Ugh! First let me say that although this last season has been iffy, I really am going to miss this show. Mostly, because when Mad Men gets it right, it nails it.

That being said, I really think last week's episode was the better episode.

Let me start with Betty.

I thought her story arc was by far the best. She starts off as a naive, expectant woman who has it all, but doesn't. Mostly, this is Don's fault. He's not emotionally available. He's not the father he is supposed to be. He's not involved. It's devastating to Betty who is someone who was raised to get the man and have the family. It makes the innate problem of being a stay at home mom even worse -- the boredom and the lack of fulfillment is not even offset by having what you were promised to begin with.

She is obsessed with losing her good looks at the beginning of the series and even comments that she hopes she dies before she loses them.

Well, she does.

Betty also makes the comment in regards to "is this all there is" that what, is she just supposed to sit all day and smoke until she dies?

That's exact where the series leaves us. Birdie almost makes it out -- she was on the right path with school. Yet, there she is, final Betty scene, with her psychology books pushed aside for her magazine and a smoke, at the very kitchen table she dreaded dying at in earlier episodes.

By far the best.

As for Sally, oh how I hurt for Sally. Not only does she have to watch her mother die, someone she has a very tumultuous relationship with, but the expectation put on her now is one that has been told many times.

She will be the new mother figure. She will be the constant in those boys lives. Sally, her youth will be gone in so many regards -- first off with her carefree Madrid trip. More of that is to come. Over the years she will be both happy and resentful that she had to take care of her younger siblings. It's the cost of losing a parent.

Hopefully Don and the other men in their lives will step up. Another great Betty moment. For all of her faults, and misperceptions about the world, she nailed this one. There needs to be a woman in their lives, because during that age, women were the caregivers. Betty was protecting all of her children. The men were off at their jobs, or finding themselves, or any number of things. Oh, I loved this part too about the end scene with Betty at the kitchen table. Despite her situation, Henry was still late, still at work.

The Joan situation, I liked. She doesn't need a man, never did. She has moved beyond being a sex symbol, the woman who once slept with a man to move up in the world. She is now her own woman. She has elevated herself. I liked it.

Joan asking Peggy to be her partner? A little bit of a reach.

Same as Stan and Peggy. Did I want to see them together? Yes. Did I like how it happened? No. I would have preferred it if Mad Men developed it more after Peggy reveals what happened to her baby to Stan, built off of that. I get, in a way, that's what happened. How Peggy can trust to tell him. Now, only Pete and Don know, no one else. That speaks volumes.

I was sad there wasn't more between Peggy and Don. They have had so many great scenes. My only solace is that Peggy says Stan is always right. Don and Peggy will have many more soulmate experiences going forward.

The least liked scenes for me was Don in his story arc. Him with Betty was great, but that's where it ended for me.

Don has been dealing with his past forever. I want him to take his own advice and just move forward. Let it go. However, like so many people in this world, it is easier said than done. Some wounds never heal.

I didn't get the whole hugging the other guy thing, sorry. I didn't like the writing technique at all. What, so Don feels like no one sees the real him? That Don doesn't feel like he would know real love if he saw it -- I believe that. Yet, he does. He knows what real love is, I just don't think he lets himself feel it.

As for the end, the enlightened yoga, and the did he or didn't he?

I think there are so many ways that it could be thought of.

I don't see Don sitting in a commune forever.

It's unclear if he did have any kind of enlightenment. He's had revelations before, and nothing has come of them.

I do think he was trying, while he was doing the yoga, to become enlightened or continue his enlightenment.

He made that ad.

The question really is, did he become a better person and make the ad, or right when he had the opportunity to become a better person he fell back into his old habits -- and became an ad man. Selling what he should have been feeling for himself?

I think the latter. He's had too much time to become a better person and for so many different reasons. If he does make strides, and I think he will, they will be so incremental.

However, if the show is any indication, all the characters improved themselves, so maybe Don will too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Mad Men Thoughts blog thanks to GoDaddy coupon CJCSIGLERC

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This episode was called The Milk and Honey Route.

Finally! An episode worthy of Mad Men!

Of course, there is only one thing to talk about and that's Betty.

Betty dying of cancer in this episode is truly brilliant. Betty, especially in the beginning of the series, really stood out to me as an example of my grandmother and mother. Betty so represents women of that age. Bored, lonely, chain smokers, not a part of the new movement to get jobs -- just stuck in this time warp. I fell in love with the show because of Betty. Watching Betty, staring off into space while smoking at the kitchen table was the epitome of my mom when I was younger. Place my mom in my grandma's kitchen and you have Betty.

Betty dying of lung cancer also represents that generation to me. Everybody smoked back then ... and a lot. It was the first real generation that was aware of lung cancer, but didn't do much to stop it. Betty, and people like her who die so young of lung cancer from smoking, changed our generation. Watching my parents smoke themselves to death definitely caused me to never want to smoke. In Betty's death, she represents that part of the generation as well.

Then there is the relationship between Sally and Betty.

I commented on it a few weeks ago, Sally and Betty sitting at the table together, having found a bit of common ground. I said, those are the moments you remember, after your mom is gone. The little ones. The small instances where Betty was actually nice to her daughter. You hold onto it, and you miss it.

Now, Betty is dying and Sally knows. Sally realizes, despite her mother's gross amount of flaws, Sally still loves her. For all of her hatred toward her mom, even having once commented about Betty being in the ground, Sally doesn't want her to die.

Plus, for all of us who have lost parents when we were younger, you ache for Sally and Betty for the loss of their future relationship. As you get older, you forgive your parents for some of their past transgressions. You move past it and forge new relationships with them. Sally and Betty will never get that chance and that's a tragedy we all learn too late.

That's also why we love this show, as Don puts in, the nostalgia. We ache for these characters because we see ourselves in them and what we have lost. We know the tragedy of Birdie, we've seen it in our own lives. It's so much harder because for those of us that lived through the 60's and 70's ... it's almost like we see ourselves sitting in those very same shag carpeted rooms. We too wish we could go back and be Sally, and hug our moms one last time.

The part that really got me was the great shot of Birdie as she is walking the stairs at school. You want to take a mental picture of her as she smiles at the young man that walks by her. In an instant you see the grace and beauty of Betty. The smile, the light ... the briefest of moments of what made this woman so beautiful, so hopeful in her youth. The smile so quick to light up her face ...  highlights the tragedy of her youthful demise. So much to live for, now so senselessly gone from the world. That was great storyboarding and great cinematography. Whomever wrote that scene deserves an Emmy. It was brilliantly done.

As for Pete and Trudy ... I love the way that ended. I know people on the forums keep saying the characters are doomed to repeat all of their same mistakes, but I just didn't see it that way. Maybe Pete is one of the lucky ones. Maybe, unlike Don, he "gets it" at a time he can still do something about it. He gets that he keeps looking for better things out there when he had something great all along in Trudy. His statement about how cheating on his wife felt good at the time, then didn't, is true. Is it worth it? Was it worth it to Don? To cheat on Betty? Did it make Don happier in the end? No. I for one, root for Pete. Perhaps Pete is not making the same old mistakes -- destined to repeat. Maybe he's actually getting off of that train of constantly feeling like there is something better out there only to be continually disappointed. Maybe he gets the old adage the grass is always greener on the other side.

As for Don, I don't know. He finally lets loose and tells people about really happened, trying to free himself from his past. He's been doing that for awhile. I'm not entirely sure his storyline can end in a fashion that I care about.

For next week's episode we need to complete Peggy. She has been such a central part of this show. I also want to see Harry get hit by a car -- wait, no. He needs that smirk wiped off his slimy-ass face. He needs to be fired and be seen trying to find a job but no one will hire him because he is a turd ball.

For as much as I have hated this whole season, I loved this episode. Plus, it only highlights the writers really can put out good television in the Mad Men world. It kind of, in a way, now that I'm putting my thoughts down, makes it kind of worse that the last few episodes have been so severely wasted.

I want to know about Peggy, Roger, Sally (although I guess we kind of already know), and Don. That's a lot to put into one episode. Especially with all the nuance that I am used to from a good Mad Men episode.

Until next week!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

My Mad Men Thoughts blog thanks to GoDaddy coupon CJCSIGLERC

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This week we focus more on what the lives of our Scooby gang are like at McCann. The big flashy office is at first exciting to Joan and Don. They feel like maybe things will really be okay.

But it is jus a mirage. It is the horror that they thought it would be.

Don gets sweet talked by Jim -- eluding that Don is going to be the star at the company. That Jim chased him and finally has him and he couldn't be more excited.

Don walks into the Miller Lite room with his chest puffed out -- the star is here! He is quickly deflated as he realizes he is not special. He is one of a dozen ad men in the room. All rank and file. All with very sad lunch boxes. Jim just wanted him off the competition's roster. The despair in the room is palpable for Don. He stares out the window looking for freedom -- perhaps the same freedom he looked for in Korea when he took on his new identity. Don, in great Draper fashion, simply stands up and leaves. Ted takes notice and smiles. Ted knows that he himself will be happy there -- he doesn't crave the spotlight. Ted doesn't want to be in charge. Don does. That's why the smile from Ted, he knows exactly why Don gets up and leaves. He doesn't fault him for it. He doesn't judge him for it. It is just Don Draper.

Then there is poor Joan. She has been cut down most of all. She is completely unvalued at McCann. She is a prize, much like Don, but for her beauty, not her talent. Joan is completely discredited by all she crosses paths with. Her work is misrepresented by a man who can't do it as well as her, but despite knowing this,  he is the one given the leniency. He is a man, after all. How could he possibly be expected to answer to Joan, a woman? A woman who looks like she does no less.

To Joan's credit, she tries to go through the proper channels, but she is essentially laughed at for even trying. Worse, she is put in a sexual harassment situation in which the only reason someone is helping her is to sleep with her.

When she tries to assert herself, she is quickly rebuffed, chastised for having even considered herself a talent at the company. It inflames Joan's anger, as it should, for being spoken down to. She has been put in her place. She fights like hell to win the battle, but in the end, she can't win. Roger is the one that gets through to her. Yes, she has a right to be mad, but being right doesn't always mean that it is in your best interest to fight. She will lose more than she will gain from taking on the men at McCann.

The women's revolution wasn't won overnight, nor has it really, even in this day age, completely won out. Women still get paid less than men for the same job. Roger really does have Joan's best interests at heart, despite whether or not it is right for the women's movement that Joan steps down from the battle. It's a tough call. $250,000 is a lot of money in the 70's to just walk away from.

As for where we left it with Don, he is not making his way back to New York City, so what does this mean?

Who knows, but with two episodes left, I hope we find out and that it makes sense.

On a side note, it really does seem like slippery Pete always comes out on top ...

Until next week.