Monthly Archives: April 2013

Mad Men Recap (S06 E05): MLK Jr dies

Is there anything more notable in domestic American politics of the 60s than the death of Martin Luther King Jr? Well, aside from the JFK assassination. The JFK episode was much better, I reckon.

The assassination of MLK rips open the sheltered bubble that our Madison Avenue bunch have blissfully created for themselves, exposing them to the civil rights turmoil roiling in the rest of society. That’s why we were getting so much of Dawn, the Black Secretary last week. The Mad Ave Crowd have no idea how to deal with it. For example, we get a hugely insensitive Harry Crane who harps on about losing money because of alterations to regular TV programming. All that goodwill I had for Harry last week – vanished in an instant.

Also, there’s a lot of awkward consoling of the ‘black folk’. Bobby Draper reaching out to the cinema sweeper. Peggy comforting her black secretary. Most awkward of all, Joan’s “we’re all so sorry” to Dawn? Okay… that’s the kind of naive ignorance I expect from Betty. The MLK thing is really screwing with the Mad Ave Crowd’s minds.

However, much like the JFK episode, the assassination of MLK similarly serves as a catalyst that spurs all characters to ponder their priorities. In the face of great human tragedy, all the Mad Men can think about is themselves.

Miss Peggy

Seeing Peggy stand in the centre of that apartment felt like a giant WIN for women. Okay, so the apartment wasn’t great. It was still the Upper East Side! Okay fine, it was basically falling off the UES into the sea. The point is, it was hugely satisfying watching that realtor cow stumble all over herself when she found out that PEGGY was the buyer and not Abe. Hurrah!

One day, all of this shall be MINE.

One day, all of this shall be MINE.

Turns out Abe is quite the modern man! Honestly, he kinda skeeves me out, but it was once again thoroughly satisfying to see a man completely un-intimidated and proud of his woman’s achievements. Abe is that guy. And he wants babies with her. Did you see her JOY? All I want is good things for Peggy!

Ohmigawd, bebehs!

Ohmigawd, bebehs!

40 pts (for buying her apartment, because that’s AWESOME) + 5 pts (for showing us her gleeful girl side) = 45 pts

Allen Ginsberg’s long lost cousin

I don’t really know what’s going on here with Michael. They probably just realised he still existed and they should do something with him. I imagine it went something like this:

Writer #1: “Oh hey! There’s that short Ginsberg kid. Its episode 5 and we haven’t done anything with him yet.”

Writer #2: “OH RIGHT! Let’s just stick him in some shitty blind date.”

Writer #1: “Gee whiz! What a great idea, pal!”

Writer #2: “Indeedio. Let’s reveal that he’s a lil ole virgin too. Hah!”

0 pts (lets face it, he did nothing this episode) + 1 pt (okay, pity point for still being a virgin) = 1 pt

Sideburns Campbell 

Despite his laundry list of flaws and insecurities, the one thing I have always admired in Pete is that he is a man of modern times. Well, that’s not really accurate because we’ve still got racists and bigots festering throughout the ass-cracks of society. But the point is, Pete is a man who believes in equality and dignity for all. One can do nothing but applaud when he delivered a verbal bitch-slap to Harry’s fat insensitive face.

"Don't worry, Harry. I'm sure you can make your money back on some movie-of-the-week next fall about the death of a great man."

“Don’t worry, Harry. I’m sure you can make your money back on some movie-of-the-week next fall about the death of a great man.”

He believes in respect, dignity, and equality for all. Just not for his wife, apparently. In all honesty, I believe Pete does the best he can. Its this crippling inferiority complex that he’s nursed all his life that has led him to his worst decisions. Of course, he likes to swing his dick around the office and with the lay-deez (or at least, he tries to). How else will he assure himself that he’s just as good as everyone else? Here’s some advice, Sideburns. You already have a number of good qualities. You have nothing to prove and no one to prove it to. Be the good man we know you want to be.

I savoured the small crumb of Brie that we got in this week’s episode (Brie = Alison Brie = Trudy Campbell. Geddit? So clever.) You can tell he loves her. She is his only match in life. Stand your ground, Trudy! Demand the respect you deserve!

20 pts (“ITS A SHAMEFUL, SHAMEFUL DAY!”) + 5 pts (for pleading with Trudy like the worm he knows he was) = 25 pts

Oh, Fat Betty, slam ba-lam

If we were playing ‘Snog, Shag, Marry’, the top of my Mad Men list for ‘Marry’ would be Henry Francis. Mr Perfect Husband has decided to run for senate! Huzzah! Exactly what Betty has been pushing for. But, did anyone else notice the look of sheer TERROR when he says that he’s excited for everyone to meet her? HAHA!

Oh shitballs, where are my laxatives?

Oh shitballs, where are my laxatives?

5 pts (for reminding us that she will always be superficial, vapid, Skinny Bitch Betty, no matter how chubby she gets)

El Douchebag Draper

The list of douchebaggery committed by El Douchebag this week:

1. Forgetting to pick up his children (whom he rarely sees)

2. Pawning off his children on Megan

3. Undermining their mother (regardless of how batshit Betty is, you shouldn’t do that)

4. Calling to find out about his married neighbour mistress while Megan is out taking care of his kiddums

5. Being a no good drunk that admits he never loved his children until maybe now

Mad Men has always managed to preserve a cold detachment to its characters. We see them without sentimentality – we seem them as they are. But this week, swelling orchestral music when Don admits his guilt over his lack of love for his children does little to win me over. In fact, I find it a little distasteful. Let me hate El Douchebag with all his flaws because he, of all the characters, deserves my loathing.

– Infinity pts (as usual)

WINNER: MISS PEGGY OLSON

BONUS reminder that Jon Hamm is NOT Don Draper (something I can’t be reminded of enough):

 

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Pious Prius Driver

Prius: helping you lord your decisions over other people since 1997. Let’s jack that up a notch. Prius: assisting home invasions and harassment since 1997. You know you want one now:

 

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WHCD: The Nerd Prom

The annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner happened over the weekend. The best, most awesome stuff always comes spinning off when the planet’s two most narcissistic worlds collide: Politics and the Movie Industry. Technically, this is meant to be a dinner hosted for the media industry, but its basically devolved into a parade of who can bring the coolest celeb to their table.

Item #1: Sarah Palin hates ‘DC assclowns’

I guess no one wanted to invite the bitter debate geek to The Nerd Prom.

Item #2: Conan being Conan

That is, being awkward and awesome. Eat it, Fox News!

Item #3: The Prom King being smooth

That’s why he’s been voted Most Popular.

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Game of Thrones Recap (S03 E05): Pickled babies

Yes, pickled-in-a-jar, preserved-in-fluid, BABIES:

Break glass in case of desperation and/or insanity.

Break glass in case of desperation and/or insanity.

THE BREAKDOWN

Dragonstone

Its pretty obvious why we’re starting here, with The Man Who Would Be King (were it not for The Red Skank). We find Stannis at Dragonstone, licking his wounds. Alas, we are introduced to  his much-neglected wife – Lady Selyse of House Florent.

Lady Selyse and Lysa Tully (breastfeeding lady) should become BFFs because within the space of about 5 mins, we find out she’s ten kinds of kookoo.

Firstly, when Stannis comes to her in repentance for sleeping with The Red Skank – he’s so so sorry that he has wronged her, he has shamed her etc etc. What does Lady Selyse say? “You’re doing God’s work. […] When [Red Skank] told me, I WEPT WITH JOY.” — Yup, she cried happy tears when she found out her husband was banging the help.

Secondly, Lady Selyse is crazy because PICKLED BABIES.

Look, Stanny! Look at how they've grown!

Look, Stanny! Look at how they’ve grown!

On the brightside, we get to meet Stannis’ only child, little Lady Shireen. She has greyscale on her face, so of course, everyone’s all ‘gross’ and ‘the shaaaame’. But she turns out to be a kind-hearted girl who happens to be the only likeable kid in Westeros. How sweet was it when she started to teach Davos (“Ser Onion Knight!”) to read? What a darling!

The Handsome Twosome

Ser Jaime Lannister & Lady Brienne Tarth shall henceforth be known as The Handsome Twosome, because, let’s face it, they’re both quite handsome (he’s Prince Charming after all). 

Okay, so I’m a total space case because I thought the guy who cleaved off Jaime’s hand was Roose Bolton. But, he’s not! We meet Roose Bolton! And he’s so much cooler! Hehe how embarrassing… they said he was a Bolton so I just assumed. But alas, all I did was make an ass out of you and me.

For those who have read the books, Jaime Lannister becomes a character we all can cherish. It seems that they’re starting the ‘We Believe In Jaime Lannister’ campaign in this episode. He’s always been a tragic hero of sorts. At first, all he was was ‘the poor little rich boy’. Now, we’re privy to the fact that Jaime is a man of un-mined depths. It’s good to finally see where the root of his nonchalance and callousness comes from. It is as it always will be – a coping mechanism for a less-than desired life.

Please give Nikolaj Coster-Waldau the courtesy of viewing this splendid scene:

The NOOORTH

Did you read it with the proper baritone? I want to hear the BOOM!

Whoo! Jon Snow and Ygritte get up to some hanky-panky! About time, Jon. He was starting to remind me of Edward Cullen and his century-long virginity. I knew it was coming, but was anyone as shocked as I was when Ygritte got completely buck-nekkid? OMGAH, Gwen! Cover up! One does not conduct one’s self this way at Downton Abbey!

Lady Sybil does not approve.

Sadly, no Mance Rayder this episode. Where are you, Caesar!?

Brotherhood without Banners

As excited as I was to see The Red Priest raise Beric Dondarrion from the dead, how cool was his FLAMING SWORD?! Did he use HIS BLOOD as FLINT? COOLNESS.

I might be coming round on Beric Dondarrion. He’s climbed up a notch on my cool-o-meter. Okay, maybe two notches.

Riverrun

It seems King Robb of the North is destined to repeat the mistakes of his father – the noble and inarguably stupid Ned Stark.

I admire his innate need to do what’s right and the courage he has in his convictions. It’s why I started crushing on him in the first place (and why I turned into a green rage-monster when he married that Volantis nobody). But at the same time, somebody needs to tell this boy to STOP LOSING THIS WAR WITH ONE POOR DECISION AFTER ANOTHER.

Okay, so Karstark murdered two Lannister boys. Its really freaking bad. I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with it (because I am not King in The North, sadly), but I’m pretty sure executing your distant relative, who also happens to have supplied you with half your army, is a terrifically DUMB MOVE. Its slightly hypocritical that all his mother got was a slap on the wrist, whereas Uncle Karstark got his head lopped off. Yeah, murder is significantly worse, but I’m sure there is a wide range of choices within the spectrum of mild scolding and taking off someone’s head with a broadsword.

I’m really NOT looking forward to The Red Wedding.

King’s Landing

Yess! I’ve wanted to see Lady Olenna Tyrell and Tyrion Lannister duke it out since the beginning! This week, we see them throw verbal bitch-slaps over the upcoming Royal Wedding. Tyrion is hopelessly, hilariously outgunned. She walks ALL OVER HIM. She really is the batty old bitch version of Tywin Lannister. I am seriously going to start shopping my pitch for GoT offshoot Tywin & Olenna: The Golden Years’ to all the major networks. HBO, you can have first dibs. You’re welcome.

Sorry, I can’t adequately summarise the awesomeness of Lady Olenna. Please watch the following as she unloads zinger after zinger on Tyrion (and poor Pod):

It’s a bad week for Tyrion, because not only does he get dominated by an old lady, he gets sold off into an arranged marriage by his daddy-kins to the adolescent Sansa Stark. Tywin and Olenna are tag-teaming already.

I can’t understand the obsession both Cersei and Tyrion have with gaining their father’s love and respect. This is a man who repeatedly shames them and berates them for all their failings. Never once does he acknowledge their accomplishments. Never once does he show them any inkling of love. Not only that, but he selfishly uses them to further his own agenda time and time again. Beware, Lannister cubs, that’s how you end up on a stripper pole.

(ps. Honestly though Cersei, it won’t be so bad being married to Loras. He won’t mind that you’re a brother-humper, and you won’t mind that he’s a glittery rainbow. It might actually work out well!)

“I am The Khaleesi, and you will do as I say.”

Week after week, I am being won over by Khaleesi. Once, she was a silly girl with a superiority complex because of a title she gained from her husband (“I am The Khaleesi, and you will do as I say!”). Then, she was an entitled girl with a superiority complex because of an inherited legacy (“I am Daenerys Stormborn, and I will take what is mine!”).

NOW, she is a self-possessed woman with cunning to match her charisma.

…and she has an army.

I would bow down to Khaleesi if she were on The Iron Throne. Wouldn’t you? Only if she insisted that they kept calling her Khaleesi though.

Her interaction with the new Unsullied leader, Grey Worm, choked me up a little. She is so inspiring. Screw being a princess – all the little girls will now want to grow up to ride dragons and massacre slave-traders!

(Sidenote: How beautiful does Valyrian sound? Its like a Germanic-Slavic-Spanish mix. So gorgeous.)

BONUS – Game of Thrones, if it were on The CW. Watch until the end for an excellent surprise pairing:

 

 

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Jaltoid: Cats smell like poopoo

My opinion is tha trooth! NO ACCEPTIONS!

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Hannibal Recap (S01 E04-E05): Moronic metaphors and Jessica Pearson

Tonight is a Hugh Dancy night, it seems! Je t’aime, Mr Claire Danes.

For all those following Hannibal, its been revealed that NBC refused to air Episode 4 in the wake of the Boston Bombings.

At first, I thought it was for fear of offending their viewers’ delicate sensibilities. Oh dear, how are all those Republican housewives who watch Hannibal going to keep from fainting? Now, I feel like a bit of an asshole. At the same time though, if we didn’t air a series known for its explicit content because of some human tragedy, you might as well just shut down all TV stations permanently. There is a freaking WAR going on, NBC.

There’s not much to recap with the Episode 4 webisodes. There are lots of obscure conversations between Hannibal and Mr Claire Danes, Hannibal and Morpheus, Hannibal and other Psychiatrist Chick (what’s-her-face?), as well as Hannibal and Psycho-killer’s Daughter. Just A LOT of confusing conversations interlaced with poorly-executed metaphors and irrelevant allegories.

"There's something so foreign about family. It's like an ill-fitting suit."

“There’s something so foreign about family. It’s like an ill-fitting suit.”

WHO TALKS LIKE THAT?!

I can understand why Hannibal speaks in this way. Mads Mikkelsen sounds rather enigmatic, in fact (especially with his Danish accent). The rest of them just sound MORONIC.

Another complaint I had in my previous Hannibal recap was that there was too little food porn. I wanted my mouth to drool at the succulent food that Hannibal was making (which is rather perverse, I admit). However, I see that they’re trying a different, less controversial tack with this. Hannibal in the kitchen looks more like a scientist or a taxidermist. Everything looks very clinical and sterile. All the food looks INCREDIBLY unappetising. I guess we wouldn’t want to make cannibalism look delicious. That would definite offend viewers’ delicate sensibilities.

And for our main course, a boudin noir made with baby's kidneys and congealed Oriental blood.

And for our main course, a boudin noir made with baby’s kidneys and congealed Oriental blood.

However, one thing saves this episode for me. Special guest star: Jessica Pearson! For those of you who don’t watch Suits – you suck, and I hate you. Gina Torres guest stars as Morpheus’ wifey. Did you know she’s also his wifey in real-times? Nice one, Morpheus.

MY IDOL.

Episode 5 is a bit better. There are still a several ridiculous obscure conversations, each one more contrived than the last. But, we get to play with another serial killer! Whoohoo!

This time, the serial killer is a dude with a brain tumour who targets criminals and ‘saves’ them by turning them into angels. How does he turn them into angels, you ask? Why, little children, he carves out the skin on their backs into two flaps and hangs them up using fishing wire, of course! What a silly question:

'Makeshift Angels' by Psycho-killer #3

‘Makeshift Angels’ by Psycho-killer #3

The episode pretty much falls into shambles after that big reveal. It can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a police procedural or an ongoing serial. There are other shows that manage to be both, yet Hannibal insists on trying to be smarter than it is and then failing at everything.

It neglects the police procedural side of things as if its scared of being like CSI. C’mon, Hannibal showrunners – CSI is a multi-award winning, ratings hit for a reason.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they excelled in building relationships between the characters and explored the Hannibal mythology. However, they suck at that too. Instead, we just get a bunch of poorly-drawn characters, sitting around, talking with mixed metaphors and wondering why the baddies are still on the loose. Here’s a suggestion: stop sitting around on your asses, positing theories of Sun Tzu and go DO SOMETHING.

That’s actually becoming a hallmark of the Hannibal series – sitting / standing around and talking. That’s all they do! Talk, talk, talk, talk – about their bad childhoods and struggling relationships – all, of course, in obscure metaphors that  make as much sense as the storyline.

For example, why does Jessica Pearson, after one meal with Hannibal, decide to go to him for counselling? Yeah, lets just go interfere with Morpheus’ work life by spilling the beans about his marriage to his COLLEAGUE. And then we suddenly find out she has cancer? Okay…? It took me a while to process that she actually had cancer. I thought cancer was just another metaphor for her failing marriage…

Dr Hannibal, I have cancer. In my heart. Its called love. My undying love for Morpheus.

Dr Hannibal, I have cancer. In my heart. Its called love. My undying love for Morpheus.

I hesitate to say this, but even Mr Claire Danes is disappointing me a little. Its not completely his fault. You can only do so much with bad material (Sleepwalking? Um, okay?). It’s okay, Hugh – I forgive you. But, will Claire? She needs someone else to help her fill out her awards shelf.

I'm sorry, world.

I’m sorry, world.

In the end, we can still rely on our favourite menacing yet debonair villain, Mads Mikkelsen. He is ever the industry stalwart. The redundant dialogue transforms into diamonds when spilling from his mouth. Too bad its being wasted on such a sub-standard series.

Sexy and he knows it.

In conclusion, Hannibal still LOOKS like it should be a critically acclaimed series, but it gets in its own way. They want Mad Men dialogue, Dexter gore, Carnivale atmosphere, etc etc. In the end, all they’re getting is a steaming pile of convoluted crap.

Here’s to hoping Hannibal gets a handle on their metaphors.

 

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Martha Marcy May Marlene Review: Baby Olsen goes topless

Martha Marcy May Marlene tells the story of a young naive girl named Martha who escapes a Manson family-type cult and struggles to go back to living like a regular human being.

The film opens with scenes from a quiet communal farm that could be called idyllic if the people didn’t look so derelict. Young strapping men are at work fixing up the farm while bedraggled girls sit around doing womanly domestic things like hanging up the laundry and cooking. At dinner, we see the women serving the men first while they crowd in their rickety kitchen, waiting for their turn. Its all very Mormon. That is, if Mormons had crazy sex orgies with multiple partners on their commune (yup, there’s one of those later).

Idyllic, just like a Little House on a Prairie up in here

Idyllic, just like Little House on a Prairie

Yeah, this is totally normal in the 21st Century

Yeah, this is totally normal in the 21st Century

Martha wakes up one morning and runs away into the woods. The ‘family’ chases after her, but she makes it into town. She’s tracked there by one of the young men. He offers to take her home, but she refuses. He leaves her, saying “take care of yourself,” which feels almost like a veiled threat.

This is one of the hallmarks of Martha Marcy May Marlene (I’m just gonna call it M4 now because I can’t remember the order of the names without Googling it). Everything seems calm and quietly pleasant on the surface, but there always seems to be something uneasy roiling beneath. Sean Durkin, the director, did a beautiful job of capturing the stillness of every scene, allowing the often shocking content to stand on its own. Half the time, you almost don’t understand what you’re seeing until its over – it’s as if you’re seeing it all through the fresh, naive eyes of Martha.

Martha is picked up by her older sister, Lucy, who takes her home to the holiday lake-house she shares with her husband, Ted. Played by Sarah Paulson and the delicious Mr Claire Danes, Lucy and Ted are the ultimate 21st Century Yuppies. Martha struggles to assimilate herself to their lifestyle, doing and saying a number of strange things that discomfit the Yuppie Couple. For example, Martha doesn’t understand why only the two of them live in such a spacious house, or why it’s not okay to swim in the nude.

That's an interesting choice of swimwear.

That’s an interesting choice of swimwear.

Or, why its not okay to come into the room and lay down on the bed when your yuppie sister and her husband are boinking.

Mr Claire Danes: "WTF?! I'm out."

Mr Claire Danes: “WTF?! I’m out.”

Martha is played by Elizabeth Olsen (yes, sister to Mary Kate & Ashley of bag-lady fashion fame). Baby Olsen delivers a STUNNING performance as Martha. She projects both maturity and purity simultaneously. She is magnetic. And god, her voice is so lush. She reminds me of Carey Mulligan in An Education. YES, I am putting that out there. Elizabeth Olsen is THAT good. She’s got her tits out an awful lot though. I suppose that’s how you’re meant to know that this is a *serious art film*. Maybe if it had been deployed a bit less freely, it might’ve been okay. It made me feel really dirty seeing Baby Olsen’s boobs. But then again, that was probably the point.

The Magical Miss Mulligan: future Elizabeth Olsen, but with less chest-icular exposure

Another notable mention is John Hawkes as Patrick. No one could’ve embodied the charisma and the menace that he somehow projects so organically. He’s frighteningly seductive. Like, you’re totally freaked out because you could see how you would fall under his spell.

Hey, darlin’. I’m not creepy at all.

The beauty of M4 was how it seems to drift seamlessly between the past, the present, and her paranoia. You’re never quite sure if the cult is after her, or if it’s all in her head. You’re never sure of what will trigger Martha’s memories. And as much as this is marketed as a thriller, don’t go in expecting blaring horns and tense orchestral strings. The peaceful quiet is what sets your hairs on end.

You go, Sean Durkin.

ps. I wish I could be snarkier (and more entertaining), but I refuse to treat M4 with the least bit of disrespect. Its a stunner.

pps. I know you’re super curious to know where Martha, Marcy May, and Marlene come from. The trailer kinda reveals two of them, but I guess you’ll just have to watch to find out the third! Muahaha!

Go see it (if you haven’t already, you uncultured buffoon)!

BONUS – Here’s some classic Carey, whom I love greatly and dearly:

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