Tag Archives: 60s

Mad Men Recap (S06 E13): The 70s suck

I have not bothered recapping the last few episodes of Mad Men because (a) I’m lazy, and (b) the story arcs have been sub-standard.

As such, (a) + (b) = (c) I am lazy to recap sub-standard crap.

I understand that Mad Men holds itself to a different standard of story-telling. Matthew Weiner doesn’t do the cliff-hangers, the bottle episodes, the melodrama etc etc – all hallmarks of typical television dramas. However, it has to be said that skewering all the characters of your TV show can’t be considered good television either.

In seasons past, no matter what the crazy shit it was that they pulled, you always felt an illogical loyalty to whomever your favourite characters were. Whether it was Pete cheating on his wife, Don cheating on his wife, or Peggy cheating her way to the top, there was always a little voice in the back of my head going, “aww, but its not all his / her fault – they just have a shit deal.” Mad Men has achieved the impossible by rendering every character, no matter how minor, as an actual human being. And that, my fellow TV nerds, is what makes compelling television.

Now obviously, I’m not the type of viewer that watches Mad Men to analyze the significance of Megan Draper’s t-shirt (can we all just admit that the whole Sharon Tate murder thing was a complete red herring?) or the importance of Bob Benson’s coffee-drinking habits. I know that a bunch of viewers enjoy the intellectual workout that Mad Men offers – that’s where they get their kicks, and thats fine by me.

Take that, conspiracy theorists! Megan is STILL ALIVE.

However, I’ve taken enough film and television studies courses at university to vow never to over-analyze, and thus ruin, my TV shows. Mad Men is genius – its smart, well-written, highly cerebral, but more than that, it was engaging as all hell. For those who thought Mad Men was just a bunch of pretentious tosh, I would always shoot back, “YOU ARE DAMNED FOOLS!”

The reason for that has always been because of one reason: YOU CARED FOR THE CHARACTERS. You cared about their lives, their journeys – it was like watching your best friends screw up week after week, and you sat there in blind support because you gave a damn about their futures.

That’s why it pained me this season to watch all the main characters slowly screw themselves over and over. The glittering glamour of the 60s is over, folks. Welcome to the muddy mess that is the 70s.

Nevertheless, I have decided to break my silence because this episode gave me a glimmering flicker of hope that its all going to be okay.

Douchebag Draper – As much as I harp on about how I hate Don Draper, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want him to find redemption. I’ve hated on him pretty hard this season, but I see why now. He’s like that childhood friend that I can’t quit – no matter how much he fucks up, no matter how much I rage about his bullshit, I still want him to dig himself out of that alcoholic, philandering hole and get his shit together. Matthew Weiner tore him down, and this episode was Don’s rock-bottom. Sally won’t speak to him, his partners as SC&P have ousted him, and Megan has seemingly left him. He is finally getting everything he deserves and it was all of his own making. Strangely enough, I felt no joy at his ruin. Instead, I felt an immense tug of hope well up inside me when he took Sally and his boys to see his childhood home. This was Don trying to face his past, and rebuild his present. Kudos, Jon Hamm – I can’t ever quit you.

20 pts (for recognising the vast failures of your life and trying to get your shit together)

Miss Peggy – Hey girl, you finally got it on with Teddy Chaough. I hope it was hot, because we can’t be having that infidelity crap hampering your meteoric rise in the advertising world.

What up, Don? Peggy is in the house. As much as I liked Ted, her whole arc with him has been a distraction from where she needs to go. Where I need her to go. And that is, the top of the heap. God love her for not being a coldly ambitious ice queen – Peggy is still a girl who wants to love and be loved, as much as she wants to be the ultimate advertising dragon-lady. But hon, like Ted says, him leaving for LA is going to be the best thing that’s happened to you.

10 pts (for her ridiculous get up to make Ted jealous, proving that she’s just like the rest of us silly girls) + 20 pts (for telling Ted to get the hell out) = 30 pts

We’ve all been there, Peggs.

Ted Chaough – Oh honey, NO. It’s not okay to cheat on your family. You’re better than Don. It’s also not okay to seem so overwhelmingly decent and earnest in your love confessions, and then change your mind on a girl.

NOT OKAY.

– 30 pts (for cheating on the familia) – 20 pts (for “if I can’t have you, no one can”) + 5 pts (for going to LA after realising that YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT) = -45 pts

Sideburns Campbell – Oh dear, his receding hairline is receding even faster. That dastardly Manolo! Pete’s family life is becoming a bit too soap-operatic for my taste – Oh no! He cheats on his wife! Oh no! She kicks him out! Oh no! His mom has dementia! Oh no! His mom’s gay caretaker marries her on a cruise-liner, throws her overboard, and tries to steal her money! OH NOOOES! (Seriously, read that last line again to yourself and tell me that doesn’t sound like a plot line from The Bold and The Beautiful.) (No disrespect to B&B – the women of my family have been enjoying the crazy adventures of Brooke Logan-Chambers-Jones-Marone-Forrester for over two delightful decades now.) But like Don, Pete has very much hit bottom (maybe not rock-bottom, but bottom enough to realise his life sucks) and there is a glimmering hope at the end of the tunnel. Bonus – we got to see Trudy! I’ve missed you, Miss Alison Brie. Like she says, Pete is finally free of everything. May he make the best of it.

10 pts (for his hilarious freakouts over the phone) + 5 pts (for his poignant moment with Tammy) = 15 pts

In commemoration of a happier time.

Silver Fox – Roger is the great love of my Mad Men life. You can’t ever hate him. And more than that, you genuinely feel sorry for him despite his shenanigans. He is that perpetual lost boy who doesn’t know what happened to his life.

20 pts (for calling out his brat of a daughter, because she’s a BRAT) + 10 pts (for his effortless charm with little Kevin) = 30 pts

Bob Benson – LOL Bob wins at everything.

50 pts (for being in everyone’s face all the time)

WINNER: Bob Benson – for being completely, and utterly unflappable. He is Don of the 70s, but better.

See that rosy sepia tint? That’s me missing the 60s:

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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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