Tag Archives: Kevin Rahm

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 E08): Kenny tapdances

Tap for us, Kenny.

This week’s episode is really surreal. “The Crash” sees our Mad cast colliding headfirst into illicit pharmaceuticals and poorly made decisions.

It starts off with Ken Cosgrove in the middle of a Yuppie PSA against drunk driving. When we get back to the headquarters of SCDPCGC, we see everyone on the verge of passing out from the strain of dealing with Chevy. Aside from Kenny performing like a sideshow monkey for the Chevy douches, we’ve got Cutler shooting everyone up on ‘vitamin stimulants’ and Stan slutting it up with dead-Gleeson’s daughter.

Don said it best – “Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.” (And yes, I get it – the flashbacks to his adolescence at the pleasure house parallels this week’s environment at SCDPCGC)

El Douchebag – The one thing I really can’t stand is his flippant attitude towards his work. His colleagues tolerate his slothfulness and lack of commitment because of occasional strokes of brilliance. What utter bullshit. This is a man who is happy to reap the rewards handed to him off the compromises of others. However, the minute he is asked to dance to tune other than his own, he breaks team. I know his lone wolf shtick is what gets all your panties damp, but El Douchebag has never taken one for the team. This is definitely not a man I can get behind. (Just FYI, I was that person in group projects that ran the assignment with an iron fist – its all about perspective).

– 20 pts (for typing up some crap for Sylvia when everyone else was stressing about Chevy) – 40 pts (for being an absentee father) – 10 pts (for his puffy red drugface) – 20 pts (for bailing on Ted Chaough because Chevy wasn’t all it cracked up to be) = – 90 pts

Wahh! Stop hating on me!

Miss Peggy – OOooOOOooOoOohhhHHhhhhh! Miss Peggy and Stan gettin’ it on! Okay, they didn’t really get anything on. We’ve all felt the sparks since that episode where they’re both buck-nekkid in a hotel room working on some account. I feel the chemistry, although I applaud Miss Peggy for guiding their relationship back into the comfortable sibling territory that defines their rapport. Miss Peggy isn’t after Stan. She’s not even after Chaough. She’s just after something more than Abe. The sooner she admits that, the better.

20 pts (for having a great ass)

Stan – Oh Stan. You’re my favourite deadbeat beatnik.

10 pts (for playing William Tell and getting stabbed by a pencil) + 10 pts (for your rakish jock charm despite the grossness of sleeping with hippie Wendy Gleason) = 20 pts

Ted Chaough – It’s really touching to see how genuine he was in his comments about his deceased partner, Frank Gleason. I remember early in the fifth season (or was it the fourth?), they made him seem like the wannabe Don. He tried a little too hard to be considered suave. I believe that Ted Chaough is just as good as Don work-wise, and infinitely better than Don as a human being. If Don is your star striker who delivers big during important games, Ted Chaough is your reliable midfielder who consistently gets the job done well. Except the sheen of Don’s genius is a little duller in the bright of day as he proves to be nothing more than a shallow promise of occasional brilliance. Don is Fernando Torres to Chaough’s Steven Gerrard. (Yes, I support Liverpool FC.)

10 pts (condolence points, for Frank Gleason) + 20 pts (for giving me hope that not all Madison Avenue types are jerkwads) = 30 pts

Silver Fox – Two silver foxes matching their wits at checkers! Adorable. Is CGC just SCDP but less cool? Because, I swear, Jim Cutler is just the oily version of our loveable cad, Roger Sterling. They even have matching glasses! (But lets all agree that Roger is indisputably more debonair.)

10 pts (nice waistcoat) + 10 pts (nice spectacles) = 20 pts

Bonus 5 pts to Jim Cutler for sprinting up those stairs / racing Stan across the office. 

Pretty spry, for a white guy.

Skinny Bitch Betty – SHE’S BACK!! Oh how I’ve missed you, Skinny Bitch!! My days have been dark and sombre without your vapid Betty-isms! So the kids were “held hostage by an elderly negro woman who robbed [Don and Megan] blind”.  Of course, Betty’s natural reflex is to proclaim, “DO YOU KNOW THAT HENRY IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE?!”

I'm back, bitches.

I’m back, bitches.

10 pts (for her irreplaceable Betty-isms) + 30 pts (for marrying a stud of a husband) = 40 pts

Ken Cosgrove – He is a man who embodies the term ‘taking one for the team’.

50 pts (for the ‘It’s my job’ speech) + 10 pts (pity points, for your injuries) = 60 pts

WINNER: KEN COSGROVE

BONUS – Did you know Mad Men meangirl-ing is a thing? I didn’t?! I was delighted to discover this so I’ve compiled a compendium of my favourite Mad Men at their meangirly best. FYI – I can recite Mean Girls from start to finish. I am unashamed. (It’s Tina Fey-approved, after all.)

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Mad Men Recap (S06 E07): The Big Merger

So I put off writing this for a week because I’m a lazy sod. Its cold in Melbourne and when you ask me “do you prefer sleep or do you prefer tapping away on a cold keyboard?” – I CHOOSE WARM COSY SLEEP. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have an abundant things to say about episode 7 of penultimate season, ‘Man with a Plan’.

Finally! The big ole merger! Where we get to see everyone be awkward and swing their dicks around to make damn sure they get to stay. It seems a bit silly that they move into SCDP offices because CGC offices always looked a bit bigger. Honestly, SCDP offices look like those thin-walled cubicle doo-dads that make you want to kill yourself after just a few months. Oh, wait, is that tasteless to say since Lane killed himself in those offices? Or does that make my statement accurate? Regardless, its depressing. And cramped. So basically, a suicide machine.

El Douchebag – In this week’s episode of Mad Men, Don drinks a lot and acts like a sexually-aggressive d-bag! What a shocking twist! First off, he’s clearly threatened by Ted. Its not overt, but its evident. That’s something I will discuss at length when I give Teddy Chaough his very own honorary section! Secondly, there’s that whole hotel dalliance with Sylvia. So… I think they were trying to be sexy, but it all came off feeling rather desperate and contrived. For the first few seasons, they fooled us into thinking that Don was a smoky sex god. And then, he fingered Bobbie Barrett into submission at a fancy restaurant – thats when the alarm bells went off that this guy is a mega douchetool. This season, he’s that sad old married guy with the hot young wife who plagued with chronic dissatisfaction and fears of impotence. If I were Sylvia and he took my book away, I would’ve flipped, flipped him off, then f*cked off home. Good job, Sylvia, for ditching his sad lonely butt. That look of pure unadulterated panic on Don’s face when she broke it off was like ambrosia for my soul.

– 30 pts (for hazing Teddy Chaough, who, turns out, aint so bad) – 40 pts (for being gross at the hotel)  = – 70 pts 

Like I said, pure ambrosia.

Like I said, pure ambrosia.

Ted Chaough – Every time I type ‘Chaough’, I have to give it a few tries before I get it right. ‘Chaogh’? ‘Cheough?’ ‘Chaiugh’? NOPE – ‘Chaough!’ And then I google him for extra measure, just to make extra sure that the vowel sequence is correct. Gosh, its like writers wanted all other writers to hate him. But alas, Teddy Choagh – URGH, I mean Chaough – has won me over! He’s everything you would hope your colleague and boss could be. Fair, polite, generous, talented, with an excellent work ethic, and on top of that, he’s a pilot. Forget drinking like a fish, Ted. You’re a badass and Don knows it. Let him go soak his face in whisky like some redneck at farm fair drinking competition while you go flying your own personal jet.

20 pts (for being gallant, and giving up his seat to Moira at the conference table – that melted my heart right there) + 20 pts (for running that meeting without Don like a proper boss) + 5 pts (adorable drunkface Ted) + 50 pts (aviators) = 95 pts

Miss Peggy – Miss Peggy Olson, Coffee Chief. It might be the 60s, but Miss Peggy is doing really well for herself even by today’s standards. Especially by today’s standards. Copy Chief, female, under 30? I’m totes jealous! She doesn’t get much this episode, but she does have a brief shining moment as that awesome chick who tells it to you straight.

30 pts (for calling Don out as the alcoholic child that he is)

Joan – Is there anything funnier than watching some hoity-toity secretary trying to go toe to toe with the Grand Dame of the Office? Yeah, Moira – go take a seat, doll. Auntie Joanie will come burp you later. However, she does manage to peek beneath the smarm of resident mystery character, Bob Benson (SERIOUSLY, who is this guy?!). I have to say, I was thoroughly charmed by how he sweet-talked his way into seeing a doctor. He gots some real steeze! So, really, who is this guy? At first, I just thought he was a manifestation of the types of sleazeballs you have on Madison Avenue. Now, I’m not so sure. Did he really help Joan out because he wanted to keep his job? Or is he really a sweetheart in the body of a slimeball? Either way, he kept his job. Anyway, James Wolk (the actor who play Bob Benson) seems to be a big deal. My friend who watched Political Animals and Happy Endings freaking ADORES him. Buzzfeed loves him too. Hmm… is he the new breed on Madison Avenue? The desperate-to-please, subtly charming, and blindly ambitious yuppie of the new generation?

20 pts (default Joanie awesomeness) 

Uh, also 10 pts to Bob Benson, for persuading me write a whole bit about him in Joan’s section.

Silver Fox – HAHAHAHAH he gets a special mention purely for firing Burt Peterson again. Oh Roger, you cad, you rascal! Yet, I adore you.

20 pts!

Sideburns Campbell – Blah, blah, something about his crazy mom. Its been a week. I really don’t care. He’s still a jerk that we love to hate / hate to love. When will he get around to being the good guy he thinks he is / he wants to be? Sideburns, you will always be the most well-drawn character on Mad Men. Congrats.

20 pts (for Vincent Kartheiser, the only actor who throws himself into being despicable as aggressively and as enthusiastically as that Joffrey kid from Game of Thrones)

God, I miss Lane.

BONUS – Here is tribute to the mysterious Bob Benson, beverage enthusiast:

 

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