Monday, September 17, 2012

Pants Pants Revolution

Back from our hiatus! Let's just say TV is Awesome is coming to you from a different awesome place than before.  Just a few quick one today and then hopefully it will be back to normal soon.  Oh, if you haven't watched the Revolution preview on demand and are waiting for tonight, then skip this until tomorrow. *BIG FAT SPOILERS*

Pants Pants Revolution

I don't think I can put into words how out-of-my-mind psyched I was for this show to start. I mean, did you SEE this trailer?! Airplanes falling out of the sky! No power for nobody or nothin'! Wrigley Field just covered in grass and vines.... VINES! I couldn't wait, so I watched the pilot special preview on demand last week.  I had high expectations for this show, and even though it is much different than what I thought it would be, I think there's some pretty good potential going forward. HOWEVER (BIG HOWEVER IN ALL CAPS), I have to say I was annoyed by some decisions made by the show. And here is where I go on my "TV has come too far" rant: One of the challenges facing a show like Revolution is that it places us sometime in the future where, after "the blackout," (all electronic devices cease to work: electricity, cars, airplanes, etc) everything is about survival... where to find water? medicine? how to get along in this world with militias and bad guys everywhere? This is exciting! But we have sort of seen this before (Lost, The Walking Dead, the movie I Am Legend, any post apocalypse thing ever) and so we as an audience automatically start thinking along the lines of "well, if there's no power, how do they do (this) and (that)?" So, the challenge for them (the show) is they better make those (thises) and (thats) believable, otherwise we're gonna check out. So it is with this that I say, TV has come too far for me to have to think about "how, in this post-apocalyptic world of sorts, did Charlie find the EXACT right fitting pants and and the timelessly cool bomber jacket and the cool, cross-functional boots?" I mean couldn't she have ONE THING that didn't fit quite right or something? On any given day, I am in real life are wearing multiple things that don't fit right - and this is with access to EVERYTHING.  Yes, yes, I get that these clothes were probably her moms, but I think you know what I mean. Come to think of it, I think they ALL have perfect pants!
The Perfect Pants Gang

Moving on to the other pet peeves that I categorize as "typical TV things that we don't need to have happen anymore": Charlie is saved by the uber-hot, roughly-same-age baddie who pops up just to save her and now we're supposed to think is a goodie? Uncle Dude wipes out about 10 guys all by his own self (we knew this was going to happen because "he's really good at killing people") and then NO ONE goes to pick up all the weapons from the dead guys. Isn't that rule number one when you are in a post whatever world where people have already tried to kill you and will be trying to kill you again very soon and for the rest of your lives?  I don't know, I haven't actually been a survivor in the post apocalyptic world, but I would be collecting weapons like my kid collects baseball cards. I bet. Don't even get me started on how Mr. Baddiepants makes ice at the end. I know, I can assume that he has one of those secret electronic gizmos, and maybe that's to show us how bad he is (he has electronic power and he is using it to make ice for his drinks! the horror!).

Electronic gizmo, amulet 
Alright, so now that I've beat this thing up, let me restate my BIG TV RULE: I always, always give the pilot a pass. Pilots have way too much going on to not. The pilot is busy trying to set up character structure, plot points, throw some intrigue in there, etc. Again, I think this show has potential and there are several things I am interested in seeing more of... Obviously, I am very interested in finding out who the woman on the farm is talking to ON HER SECRET COMPUTER with her Secret Electronic Gizmo. Definitely want to see more of Google billionaire dude and when does he get to reveal his Secret Electronic Gizmo? For all his macho macho business, I am interested in seeing where Uncle Dude takes us and what's next. And why did the power go out and will it ever come back on? And really, for a pilot, isn't that all it needs to do... get us to tune in next week for more? Job well done, Revolution because I am definitely sticking around for this one.

Other Stuff:
- I've been reading about the upcoming season of The Walking Dead and I'm thinking this might be the season where I actually pee my pants while viewing
- American Horror Story: ditto above
- Too many new shows to mention that I already love and/or can't wait to start obsessing about, but here are two: The New Normal (so great!), The Mindy Kaling Project (will be great, I just know it!)
- Glee came back and it was FAB.U.LOUS! Love the new peeps and love the Mckinley High and NYC storylines. Kate Hudson was pretty great, even though I was prepared to think she sucked. Also, I just couldn't stop thinking "that skinny bitch has had TWO babies!"

So glad to be back! Hit the comments with your feedback!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All Men Must Die - Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Killing

One of these days I am going to write a blog entry all about the hilarious and genius comedies I've been watching. Today is not that day. Too much ridiculously awesome angst-and-death-filled television lately, including a few stellar season finales. I'm going to try to keep things short and simple, so I can try to talk about as many shows as possible before my brain explodes. (Ed note: it's impossible for the writer to write "short and simple," so here are three TV shows and some stuff at the end.)

Mad Men
... or the epitomy of visual storytelling. FOR.REAL. I'm pretty sure that with the last two episodes, Mad Men won all of TV.  I'm not sure how you can top these... if not for the Joan, Peggy and Lane storylines alone. And then there's Sally Draper who makes me cry all the time just by being on-screen, and with this last episode, I just devolved into a soupy mess. This girl! More on this later, but first let's go back two episodes to "The Other Woman." For those of you who know me, I loves me a good theme. And Mad Men is nothing if not theme-centric, from the title of every episode to the layers and layers of themey goodness found within - the music, the dialogue, the plot twists... every detail is a puzzle piece putting together the genius that is a Mad Men episode.
In this particularly delicious episode, much is made of going after the Jaguar business. The pitch is basically that Jaguar is like the other woman, something beautiful and expensive and not really within your grasp...  I guess? This is sort of how it's positioned and they land on the tagline "At last, something beautiful you can truly own." WOWZERS! Does this speak volumes of Don's psyche or what? Meanwhile, all of Don's "other women," as we shall call them, are clearly NOT being owned by anyone: Megan is challenging him with her follow-her-dreams escapades, Joan is truly the other woman for a night, but becomes a partner in the firm in the process, and Don's right-hand girl PEGGY LEAVES. You see, Don tried to own her, visually expressed by Don literally throwing money in her face. Peggy has to move on at this point, but she owes so much to Don - oh, the turmoil! Don figuratively throws money at her as well, trying to get her to stay: "there's always a number" he says, but to no avail. When Peggy thrusts out her hand for a businesslike goodbye handshake and instead, Don kisses her hand, that simple gesture encompasses their entire journey together. On the surface it's been all business, but really it's so much more.
The more overt storyline in "The Other Woman" is the juxtaposition of the Jaguar pitch with Joan's decision to spend a night with a smarmy Jaguar executive, and it is pure genius. Joan is also the beautiful thing you can own, seemingly. The surprise here is not so much that she went through with it, but the realization that Don's pleas to not go through with it were all for naught, since the deed was already done. No one really owns Joan though... certainly not now that she's partner.
Okay, moving on to the most recent episode, "Commissions and Fees." Oh, Lane. While sitting there on the couch in Don's office, I knew I was wrong about Pete Campbell. I had written earlier that I thought he might be just desolate and out-of-touch with himself enough to end his life. But watching Lane's reaction to Don's discovery of the check he forged, that is true despair.
The pit of despair
Was there any doubt that Lane would be exiting himself from the world? He may have been able to rally, concoct some new scheme, angle, life abroad... but then life just beat the crap out of him over and over, like it does. Joan dismissed him from her office abruptly when he talked of her being in an obscene bikini (kick!); his wife wants to CONGRATULATE him (smack!) for becoming an officer in the Four A's (side real-life note: I know what that is!! I have been involved with that organization in real life!) by BUYING him a JAGUAR and she "WROTE a CHECK" (flying side-kick to the gut!). Thank god those pretty Jaguars are shit though, right? Because it doesn't start when Lane tries to off himself in it and maybe he'll take that as a sign. Nope. Somehow, in his office at SCDP is the more appropriate setting for this final FU to Don and Joan and everyone. No less devastating though. Though his note is a boilerplate resignation letter, I suspect there is a real letter somewhere... to Don? to Joan?
Speaking of devastating... I know I say this all the time, but Sweet Jesus, it's true... I watch every second of Sally Draper on-screen like I'm about to jettison into the atmosphere: edge of my seat, gripping cushions and things, sipping my martini water fast and furious. You can never relax because you never know what's going to happen. Such is the quiet intensity of Mad Men. So this Sally-focused storyline of fighting with Betty (bitch!), showing up on Megan's doorstep, parent-approved school skipping and very non-parent approved having a boy over and going to a museum on said skip day and then, ahem, becoming a woman unexpectedly at the museum had me practically apoplectic.
Sometimes a girl just needs a hot water bottle and her mom,
no matter how much of a crazed bitch she is
THIS.GIRL. Wait, actually.... THIS.SHOW. I don't think there has been another portrayal of a girl in limbo as perfect as Sally Draper. From ordering coffee in the restaurant to holding her own in the girl talk to wearing her kick-ass grown-up go-go boots for her museum date, she so desperately thinks she's ready to be a woman. Until, you know, that womanly thing kicks in (which she handles only slightly better than Sansa Stark - but really, does anyone handle that well?). She runs home to her mom (because that's what kids do when they are overwhelmed) and breaks my heart with every step, because in my head I hear strains of Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon or maybe it was I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman. Either way, it was profound. And Betty actually rises to the occasion, making me cry with her tender words towards Sally, words of comfort but also of the real responsibilities and obligations of being a woman. Commissions and fees, indeed.
One more thing that I love about Mad Men: how bizarre is it to see Don and Glen together? So much has happened with Glen and Sally (and of course earlier with wacko Betty) it's just freaking WEIRD to have him re-introduce himself and then Don lets him drive his car. Moral of all of it: life is just fucked up sometimes, so drive a car.
Sometimes a dude just needs to drive a car
Game of Thrones
*Only read this if you have read the books or if you don't care about spoilery things, sorta, or maybe read anyway because who knows if the TV show will do the same things as the books, right?

I know, I know... I just can't stop talking about how every character on this show is perfectly cast. I keep saying this, but I feel now that these words are somehow misleading... like these people are perfectly cast because they look exactly like how I pictured them in my head. They do, but really, when you see these actors not in character, it is really a testament to their phenomenal acting skills how they truly embody these characters. Usually I like to go on and on about Tyrion or Arya or Joffrey, but the season finale had me realizing that probably one of the most "perfectly cast" characters (read: plays the part impeccably), is that of Varys. So much so that is is shocking to see this actor out of costume. What do you mean Conleth Hill isn't a bald eunuch?!
I wonder if they use Nair on his face?
The finale, "Valar Morghulis," had me wondering if I would be a better viewer had I not read the books. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this show. It's brilliant. However, some of the deviations I am enjoying, but others leave me baffled as to how they make sense or how they will make sense down the line. Of course some I understand sort of have to happen for this medium - they're certainly not going to make us watch Peter Dinklage with half a face and no nose.
Face and nose intact for your viewing pleasure
And I suppose the argument could be made that Dany's book experiences in the House of the Undying would be too lengthy and complicated to put on the screen. [Aside: ooooooo... Dany walks through what looks like The Wall to get to that tent... winter is coming! But more importantly, I see this as a clear sign that My Big Theory - heretofore to be referenced as Lisa's Big Theory of How it All Ends - is right on. I shall not disclose at this time, but I have it written and dated in an journal. I believe I am channeling GRRM's mind with LBToHiAE.)
Deviations I think I like include: Dany's dragons in the House of the Undying (much more compelling!), showing this intimate part of Stannis (almost killing Melisandre! Regret over Renly! Seeing things in the flames!), showing some of Varys' spidery moves (and possibly making this Ros character something substantial) and possibly this accelerated plot of Littlefinger helping Sansa (we'll see on this one).
"I will eat  you!... Later... I guess..."
And now the rant about the White Walkers. (Oh, don't worry, there are other rants in the Other Character section below, but this is a doozy if you ask me.) WHAT the WHAT is going on at the end of this finale with White Walkers walking by a juicy Sam Tarly?! Okay, yes, great scene as far as creepiness factor - and so many of them! But what the hell? At first I thought here is where one comes up and attacks Sam and he kills the WW with the dragonglass. But that so very clearly doesn't happen. And I am here to tell you that there is no White Walker that will walk past a living dude. Nuh-uh. No how. How are they going to explain this next season? Maybe Sam's a gonner? #deviationidonotlike

Other Characters:
Brienne - I really love the storyline in the books of Brienne and Jamie and I hope they keep all of it next season, or at least try to harness some of it. And also she kicked full ass in this finale. Not half, full.
Rob - I don't know... do I care at all about this marriage to a medic or nurse or whatever they call her? Does anyone? I guess not, although I think it was all unnecessary. From a TV standpoint, I suppose it makes sense to show how Rob was just soooo in love that he just haaddddd to break his word with the Freys. But truthfully, I don't think it's that compelling a love story and it seems so out of place in this world. There ain't no stinking medics on these fields! Also, how does she get straight access to the godamn KING all the time? The Frey shitstorm could come without all this.
Too much puppy dog, not enough direwolf
JON SNOW - I am very very concerned that JON SNOW (all caps, all the time - he's that important) is not being portrayed here with Qhorin Halfhand as phenomenally awesome and honorable and conflicted and dutiful as he should be. But maybe that's just me and I think he should be backlit in every scene so as to show him in glowing light always. Maybe.
Sansa - Joffrey is to wed another! Happy day! oh, no... not here, deary. Sansa is just damned no matter what she does. So it is so very interesting that Littlefinger tells her he has a plan to take her back to Winterfell. Very interesting indeed. I am excited to see how this plays out, but I am hoping that some very pivotal scenes from the book remain intact.
Theon - I... I just... I just can't even hardly look at him I hate him so much, but wow do they do a good job of humanizing him. And portraying his inner struggles while his outward ineptitude shines on. He fancies himself a tough warrior, but the war horns are breaking him before the battle even begins. He's a poor thing, really. I will have much more to say on him in the future.
Bran/Rickon/Hodor/Osha - So, I guess Osha is going to sort of take on the book characters of Jojen and Meera Reed? Interesting. I'm not sure I hate that entirely, but I would like to perhaps see them down the road... maybe sometime in Season 3? I think we might need them.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos - I've been thinking this for awhile, but was anyone else unnerved whenever someone said his last name and it sounded like "ducksauce?" Just me? Okay, carry on then.
Arya/Jaqen H'ghar - perfect, perfect, perfect. Valar Morghulis.
Say it again
The Killing
And if you think those two other shows are depressing... these people haven't seen the sun for two seasons.

That freaking keycard
First, I love The Killing. I do. Love, love, love. Readers here will know how much I love The Killing. Smart characters, smart writing, a magnificent story and just unbelievably terrific acting. Twists and turns and puzzle pieces galore! However, I need to say here publicly that I almost put my fist through my beautiful TV at the end of Sunday's episode, "Bulldog." Like, almost lost my mind with that funky ass twisteroo at the end. I hate so much that that smarmy mayor was able to recode the keycard back to Richmond's office. At least that's what I think happened. At first I was like "okay, so now I kinda get how people were frustrated last year" (not really, but more sympathetic maybe). But immediately after that, I thought, "God, I LOVE this show for making me think! and love things! and hate things! Really, really hate things." I think that she showed the keycard in the elevator so that she would have proof that it existed if it went missing, like all of the other Rosie Larsen evidence (now that FBI will have tapes?). But that gave the casino bitch time to contact people and have stuff rearranged.... arggghhh!
I have some consolation that things will get wrapped up in next week's episode, at least where Rosie Larsen is concerned. But I do have fear that the Mayor will get re-elected and the show will then be focused on Holder and Linden trying to take him down (still). The ideal for me would be that the Rosie case is solved, Richmond gets elected, Linden gets reinstated and boom, there's another case to solve. Yanick is dead (whoa!), so maybe this isn't so far fetched. But I will miss Stan and the boys. We shall see...
Maybe next week I will talk about how much I want Holder and Linden to get together. Two terribly broken pieces should make a whole awesome, right?

Additional Unrelated Things:
Revenge - Now THAT'S a finale: the plane crashed! Victoria is dead! Emily's mom is alive! Charlotte may have killed herself! Amanda is back! ...and PREGNANT! Daniel and Emily are splitsville... will Danielle and Ashley get it on now? Seriously, this show is one of the most entertaining shows on right now. And even if it's not deep or brilliant on par with MM or GoT, it is still very clever and keeps you (me!) guessing. Can't wait for this to start again!

Some new shows that are awesome and need people to watch: Girls, VEEP, Network... all on HBO.

Fall TV - okay, THIS is just awesome and is the one show so far that I am anxiously awaiting. I anticipate watching this until my eyes bleed. Yes, I know it's June.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visual Literature - Game of Thrones and Mad Men

So much awesome TV, so little time to write about it. I've been away for awhile (oh blog, how I've missed  you!), but starting back up with two of the biggies! While I can go about writing and dissecting many a TV show, these two are the most like literature to me. The intricate plot lines, the dialogue heavy with deeper meanings, the observations of what it means to have honor, live a good life... all of these things found in great writings I argue can be found here in these two shows. Of course, Game of Thrones has a slight advantage being that it is adapted from books, but successfully putting this fantastical world into a visual medium is no small feat. Mad Men views more like books read... slower paced, less action, but no less riveting and meaningful.

Game of Thrones
Color me IMPRESSED! For someone who is a huge fan of the books, I have been so happy with the true character portrayals, the rapid movement of plot points and almost verbatim dialogue. However, lately I have been most impressed with some of the shocking switcharoos!  And so natural are some of these diversions from the book that I have had to stop and think, "wait, did that happen in the book?"  The most shocking for me was the last scene of the latest episode where Dany returns to find her people killed - Irri among them! - and her dragons missing. Missing! I outright gasped at this and it sent my head spinning. I'm not sure I like this turn of events, but I am verrrrry interested to see where this goes. (Aside: I wonder if GRRM needs to approve all plot twists that deviate from the books... he must, right? He is the only one who knows how things evolve and ultimately end, so he would have to advise on whether these things will make sense down the line. Right?)
Where are my dragons?!
Of course, some of these twists I don't understand. For example, why is it Tywin at Harrenhal? I did have to think for a long time as to whether or not Tywin would have ever been able to know Arya before Roberts death. And while I land on "no, he probably didn't," I feel funny about this turn of events, not just because it's different, but because Tywin's character is supposed to be an all-knowing puppet master. He knows all, he sees all, he controls all. So now we are in the position, as a viewer, of knowing he seemingly does not know all, see all. Also, the looming threat doesn't seem quite as grave as when Roose Bolton was running the joint (in the book) with his eery disposition and love of leeches. Now Roose Bolton is riding along with Robb Stark, and nary a leech to be found. This may play out fine, but it seems this switcheroo has served to diminish the strength and scariness of both Tywin and Roose's characters. One more thing about Harrenhal that I think needs to be discussed is that there is certainly not the seemingly endless dire circumstances portrayed here as they were in the book. Yes, this is an hour long once a week TV show, so I certainly understand that they can only do so much to make the viewer understand the horribleness and desperation Arya experiences here. This becomes important when Jaqen H'Ghar informs Arya that basically he will give her three lives (kills them, he will) for the three she saved (including him). So when she names the Tickler as the first to die, the viewer may take pause and wonder why she didn't say Joffrey, who is the most hated and number one on her list, or Cersei or even Tywin. In the books, you understand why she chooses the people immediately around her, as the conditions at Harrenhal are truly horrific for days and days and days. I'm not sure the viewer is getting the full impact of her story.

Get used to this acting from her lower lip
But away from Harrenhal, all of the storylines are stellar and are moving along with great speed and intensity. And I have said it before and will say it again, this has to be the absolute greatest casting job anyone has ever done on any show ever. To the point where, full disclosure here, I actually do not like the character of Ygritte in the book. Okay, hate. But upon our first meeting of Ygritte here, aside from her weird habit of pulling in her bottom lip when she talks (trying to be a fierce wildling, are we?), I find her somewhat captivating. I'm not sure where this will go, but I am not hating her like I expected to.  I probably will upon the first uttering of "you know nothing Jon Snow." But until then, I suppose I'll save all my hate for Joffrey and Theon.

In the other story line of Davos Seaworth, where under orders from Stannis he accompanies Melisandre on the DL to a place near where Renly is camped out, I was so happy that it played out on screen almost exactly as I envisioned it in my head when reading it. Melisandre gives birth to an evil shadow. Serious kudos to HBO for showing this explicit scene exactly how it was written - there were no cutaways, we saw that evil thing come right out of her. This is probably one of the most riveting scenes, and certainly the one full of the most magic up to this point.
Yup, that's an evil shadow demon crawling out of there
Once birthed, this evil shadow actually kills Renly. Of all people, Catelyn Stark and Brienne of Tarth are the only two in the tent when it happens, helpless to take any action because it happens so fast. No one believes the shadow story, so Catelyn and Brienne are seemingly on the run. (Aside: does anyone who has not read the books know anything about Davos Seaworth, our Onion Knight? I feel a disservice is being done to this character by glossing over his past, why his devotion to Stannis is so strong, his strength. Based on what i have seen so far, the casual viewer may think he is just another one of Stannis' lackeys. I love this character, so I am hoping this is rectified over the upcoming episodes.)

oh, and have you seen this?
Other Stuff:
- So is this war nurse Talisa from Volantis replacing the Jeyne Westerling for our Robb Stark? It certainly seems so, with Catelyn Stark giving him the "you are betrothed to another" speech. P.S. War nurses?! What the hell are war nurses in this world?
- Another peculiar change of events is when Jon Snow volunteers to go with Halfhand on their mini expedition. Again, I am not sure if people who haven't read the books even understand what's happening up in those snowy mountains, but I am fairly sure that Halfhand specifically requests Snow to join him, for reasons that become clear later. Maybe these things I am referencing don't happen on the show? But if they do, then I am not sure Jon volunteering for this expedition will make sense.
- Littlefinger meeting with Tywin and recognizing Arya. Yeah, that happened. Right? What the heck does this mean?
- Unnecessary Understatement of the Year: Tyrion remains the man. HE SLAPPED JOFFREY. AGAIN!
- Missing the little frog people Jojen and Meera Reed. I hope they show up. They're very necessary, don't you think?
- Can one of the deviations from the books be that Sansa kills Joffrey? Like, next week?

Mad Men

Each and every episode has been better than the last. So good, they're like mini-novels, each one of them ladened with visual imagery that speaks volumes more than what is being said on screen. Of course, the most resonating is the episode where Roger and Jane take LSD and end up on the floor discussing the end of their relationship, and then Don and Megan in real life on the floor (after a thoroughly intense scene where he chases her through their apartment), discussing how to continue their relationship.
floor talk
The artfulness of each shot, each piece of dialogue and the character development on this show in incomparable. Of course, that's not to say that it doesn't get deep down raunchy at times (see: Peggy giving handjob to stranger in a movie theater). But isn't that what Mad Men is all about? The illusions of what people want to see, want to be... and what they really are. You can talk about comraderie, family tradition and campfires, but when it really comes down to it... you're talking about baked beans. Peggy is becoming Don, but is that what she wants to be? And who knows what the hell Pete is becoming... or is. (None of it is good though.) It is so interesting that here and now, Megan is the character that actually speaks truthfully and pointedly about how things are and what she wants. In every episode, Megan is good for at least one "truism." Of course, the most recent is in the episode Lady Lazarus and her decidedly brave move to tell Don that she wants to follow her dreams and become an actress. She is embracing a new life and taking control of what she wants.

The Lady Lazarus episode is so chock-full o' English major bait, I am almost giddy with all of the deep existential meaning of every scene, every piece of dialogue, every action. Predominantly, with Pete and his Lady Lazarus, or, errr... Beth Dawes (hello, Rory!).
She seems depressed, no?
I can only assume that they named this episode Lady Lazarus, a reference to Sylvia Plath's poem of controlling one's death as a release from burden of the body, as a parallel to not only Megan finding her new life, but to Pete finding Beth so captivating and beguiling that upon realizing she wants nothing more to do with him (after their one night stand) states "why do the women always get to call the shots?" (To which Harry Crane, of all people says "because they do.") Pete is so clueless that while Beth is clearly depressed and not in control of her life, he views her as in control of everything. Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus is about a woman's control (of her own life, of taking her own life) and where she states "out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air," the power is found after death. Clueless Pete considers Beth a man-eater, whose rejection will ruin him. Perhaps I had it right by calling Beth Pete's Lady Lazarus... and she may actually fulfill the suicide outlined in the poem. There is a feeling to this Pete and Beth story that is somehow much deeper than any of his earlier transgressions.
Pete seems more fragile here (I mean, Lane did just beat him up not too long ago, and the *child* he was hitting on in driving class thinks he's ancient, making him hyper aware of his own mortality) - he just seems much more desperate. With a title like Lady Lazarus, I fear for Pete and the guns we know he has and the life insurance policies we know way too much about.

Other Stuff:
- Peggy's disappointment at the non-proposal from Abe was palpable, but only slightly mitigated by Abe's obvious sincerity. I do think Abe feels that this is a commitment on par with engagement. Too bad Peggy doesn't feel this way.
Sigh. This poor girl.
- Don's almost free fall into the elevator. What.The.Hell. This is classic Mad Men, to jolt us out of our passive viewing where everything *up here* seems okay, and then blammo! *down here* elevator doors are revealing open shafts. (Please see blog entry xx for more on my Up Here - Down Here theories.)
- Need to write pages and pages about Sally Draper and her big girl outfit and her big girl night out with the adults to see her Daddy win an award. How devastating to have Roger be the absolute coolest guy to her the whole night, and then to have her walk in on him and her, um... step-grandmother?... getting busy in a backroom? I just shake my head for this poor girl. I think she needs a sword named Needle and some "dancing" lessons to get out of there alive.
- We need more Joan.

That's all for today! Tell me all your cares and woes as it relates to GoT and MM. What are your thoughts on the changes from the books to the show? If you haven't read the books, tell me your thoughts on these characters. Is Mad Men the visual literature I think it is? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mad Men - Sally's Under the Couch

Where's Sally?!
Aye aye AYE! There are several truths to Sunday's episode of Mad Men, Misery Date Mystery Date. The first is that I was more shocked during several scenes of this show than Game of Thrones, so good onya, MM. The second is that I almost passed out watching every scene with Sally... I don't think I'm the only one who holds her breath the entire time she's on the screen. I have said this before and I will say it now: Somebody give this girl an Emmy! (Aside: why don't they create a child actor category for the Emmy's? Something like "outstanding performance of an actor or actress under the age of X." My guess is that perhaps there would be a year without any candidates, to which I would counter, then eliminate the award that year. I just feel like Kieran Shipka who plays Sally,  and now Maisie Williams who plays Arya on GoT have so much talent and bring such depth and weight to their respective roles that they should be recognized and won't through the traditional awards methods. And there are plenty of others who would fit this category. === runs to write letter to Emmys)

you're sickos!
It's not like Sunday's episode is the first time we have seen sexual violence manifest itself in various ways on Mad Men, especially from a dominant male point of view. However, this might be the most graphic, and the most prevalent as a theme throughout an entire episode. With the Chicago student nurse murders serving as a backdrop and also a focal discussion point for many characters, several male characters are portrayed as being misogynist or at the very least, uncaring towards women, specifically the women in their lives (I'm looking at you, Greg). Obviously, the scene where a feverish Don strangles Dream Andrea after having Dream Sex is the most egregious. But the argument could be made that Greg's indifference to Joan in volunteering to back to the war is, to a lesser extent, similar in its treatment of women. Is it possible that loose-canon newcomer Michael Ginsburg is the only male voice of conscience when he says "you're sickos" when Peggy, Stan and others are gathered around looking at pictures from the grisly murder scene. It's not a coincidence that Dream Andrea says to Don about their Dream Sex "you loved it and you'll love it again because you're sick." Interesting play on words since this is what sends Don into the craze that results in strangling her and stuffing her under the bed like dirty laundry, but also, you know, he's fevery sick.

And then there's Sally. Oh, Sally... how does this girl even stand a chance? No one cares about her hair! Just when we thought Betty would be the worst role model/ guardian she could have, now we have StepNana Pauline, who not only further terrifies Sally with gory details of the Chicago nurse murders (after Sally sneaks a newspaper to read about it), but then drugs her to sleep. Nana of the Year!

In probably the most genius visual puzzle-piece maneuver ever, we see Don shoving Andrea's body under the bed in one scene, then we cut to a pull-back into a wide shot of living room and, oh, Sally is UNDER THE COUCH. Shivers! Poor Sally was probably scared out of her mind and went there to feel safe, and we are reminded here (like a brick in the face) that the lone survivor of the Chicago Nurse murders saved herself by hiding under the bed. Unsettling to say the least.

- Can I say again that Keirnan Shipka's portrayal of Sally is just out of this world? First, her on the phone with Don, with perfect pre-teen boredom, whininess and snark. But Sally's interrogation of Pauline "was your mom strict?" and her reaction to PAuline's story of being hit for no reason and being better for it, which was at once interest, confusion, disgust and shock, was played so subtly on her face it deserves an Emmy in itself.
- Peggy! Her negotiation with Roger was probably one of her very best moments. Her eyeing her purse when Dawn is staying on the couch is probably not.
- oh, Roger... what's happening? Y U have so much cash? My guess is this is the only power he has left, since the world is evolving around him and he's being disrespected at every turn. Money still gets him what he wants.
- Joan! This girl is a survivor, she's gonna make it... she finally kicks Greg to the curb with a "you were never a good man, even before we were married. I think you know what I'm talking about." IT will be tough, but she's ready to kick ass solo style.
- I thought this blog entry on the episode had a fantastic insight into our new friend Ginsburg, and how the whole dark Cinderella mythology plays itself out in the episode, especially embedding itself in the psyche of Don and that one red shoe

one red shoe
So many layers to this episode, and so many shocking moments. Were you duped by the dream sequence? What's next for Joan? What's next for poor Sally? Hit the comments!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trifecta - The Killing, Game of Thrones, Mad Men

Last night, TV was SO AWESOME that my brain almost exploded. Three of the best TV dramas ever were on, two with season premieres. Of course I am talking about the season premieres of Game of Thrones and The Killing (back to back eps!), while the third episode into the new season of Mad Men was also on last night. Let's just say there was some hyperventilating happening at about 8:45. All of these shows were deeply engrossing in their own, super fabulous ways. And while they are probably three of the most different shows possible, one unifying theme (besides strong characters in general) has to be the boatload of mom issues on these shows: missing Mitch, powerhungry-powerless-powercrazy Cersei and thyroid complications for Betty.
Where to start? To fully bask in my joy, I will start in order of viewing...

The Killing

Due to a DVR glitch (*shakes fist in general direction of Comcast*), I had to wait until the 10PM viewing of The Game of Thrones, so I watched the first hour of The Killing, then took a GOT break, then came back to TK. This required more switching of gears than you would think.
The genius of this show is that dialogue is used sparingly and the weight of meaning and communication relies very heavily on facial expressions, or lack thereof. Because of this, the acting on this show is just incredible (sings: ...innnnncredibbbbbbble...). Also, EVERY.WORD.IS.LOADED. I spend a fair amount of time rewinding to make sure I have heard every word correctly. Last night's episode picked up pretty much right where we left off at the season finale.

~~ rant break ~~  Last year The Killing, after an absolutely phenomenal season, took a beating from reviewers and bloggers in regards to the fact that their season finale did not reveal the killer of Rosie. I found all of these negative comments to be preposterous. Besides the fact that the season finale had a terrific twistaroo in the last few seconds to set up season 2 with Linden realizing that some of the evidence against xx had been faked and/or planted possibly by her own partner (Holder) AND some seriously crazy shizzle happening with family friend Belko, no one ever promised that we were going to find her killer in season 1. Isn't it much more exciting to have a twist where the guy who you think all along has done it, hasn't? The Killing is such a far cry from your traditional murder mystery in just about every way, that I almost can't explain this backlash. Why would anyone think The Killing would be typical? I love this show so much and find it so brilliant, that I actually feel differently about Stephen King now, who publicly came out and criticized the show's finale. ~~ rant end~~

Stan emoting through his eyes, and stuff
As far as the gut-wrenching, slammed-by-a-truck emotional impact every episode had last year, this year is slightly different, if only because Moms (Mitch Larsen played by Michele Forbes) has disappeared and she was just heartbreaking in every scene. Picking up the emotional load are the sons, sis-in-law and hubby, although they had their fair share last year as well. Brent Sexton as Stan Larsen (hubby/dad) is probably the greatest emotional actor on TV. He comes off gruff with his boys who are so lost in this impossible situation, but you can see him breaking just underneath the surface. He just doesn't know any other way to deal with it. In the Most Opposite Statement Ever, Stan says, "the less we talk about this stuff the better" to sis-in-law Terry, who is basically taking care of the boys and is desperate for acknowledgement that the boys need to talk. You can see his turmoil on his face, when he wants to be comforting but just doesn't know how. Of all his emotions, anger is winning out, so that's what you get. His scene with Belko in the police interview room, when Belko is proudly telling Stan that "he got him" (meaning: shot primary Rosie murder suspect Congressman Richmond after killing his own sexual deviant mom) is just pure, amazing, dig-down-deep acting. His face conveys sadness, confusion, guilt, love, disillusionment... so perfectly that Belko exclaims "don't look at me like that!" repeatedly and ends with "that's not fair." It's not. Nothing in this crazy world of The Killing is fair. So, this is why after Belko kills himself in police custody, the police not providing security for the Larsens, and the police not getting the right guy for murdering his daughter, Stan goes to his mobster friends and puts a hit on the real killer. Will the mob find the right guy before Holder and Linden? dun-dun-duuuuuuuh...
Linden is talking to the wrong guy
Speaking of confusion, guilt and disillusionment, we start off with Linden figuring out there's been some shady police shenanigans messing up her Rosie Larsen case. When she finds out the photo from the tollbooth, the most crucial piece of evidence against Richmond, is fake (!), she has no other choice but to think that her partner (who tracked down the photo) is dirty and goes to her Lieutenant with this info. My reaction: "NOOOOOOOOO! NOT HOLDER!! AAAARRRGH...". But we believe along with Linden, because that's what the evidence is pointing to. As we follow Linden in her continuing investigation, all expressionless and snapping gum, do we know everything she is feeling, thinking? No, but we know that she is always thinking, those wheels are always turning. And emotions? She has them, but you'll barely know it. (Aside: her tiny, mini-explosion of emotion towards her son Jack (<-this poor dude) with "you are my son and you belong with me" and subsequent vending machine confession of "I love you" to Jack are kind of painful, but sum up her entire character.)

Holder and.. wait, aren't those
corroborating witnesses back there?
As for Holder, he is smarter than your average crackhead bear. He begins to suspect some similar dirty cop shenanigans and submits a different backpack into evidence (to a very specific forensics dude very specifically determined by the Lieutenant) than Rosie's very bloodied pack that showed up on the Larsen's doorstep (...from the real killer who we now know is still out there but now the police can't help or admit to it because that would make them look stupid.... *gasp* *inhale*). When the info comes back that the only prints were Rosie's, we know along with Holder that some crazy shizzle is happening and he is soooooo in the middle of it. We already know that his friend and confidant Gil, who supplied him with the photo, is a bad dude from earlier scenes that show him talking to the opposing candidate for Congress' team. Holder only finds out when he tells Gil what happened with the backpack and then it's out: Holder was specifically chosen for this case because he was a crackhead who needed a chance and who was going to believe him if dirty secrets got out? Gil says "you wanted the badge more than you cared that you were taking shortcuts."
When Holder figures out how messed up everything is, he goes to see Linden who still suspects him of being the dirty one. Frustrating for us to watch, as Holder begs Linden to talk to him while Linden quietly waits on the other side of the door. Holder waits in the hallway, twirling his new Detective badge, then ultimately leaves the badge in the hallway as he walks away.  This better get cleared up fast, because I need Holder and Linden on the same team. I think the world does. Well, my world.

Other stuff:
- Duck is the new Lieutenant! (Mad Men peeps will get this.)
- This Seattle hospital is the worst. A Congressman gets shot on live TV and it's the biggest story in the city and the doctors and nurses are all "whatever. he can't walk. whatever." They should definately have taken Richmond to Seattle Grace.
- Sooooo... the other candidate running for Congress is the one planting all the evidence within the police department to get Richmond arrested? how is this going to play out now that we know Richmond is not guilty?
- What, if anything is going to happen with Stan and Terry? I think it will be horrible, but I think it might be inevitable. They are both so lonely and sad and overwhelmed. I feel sick just even writing about it here.
- Linden... someone's watching you watching other people... snap, snap, snap goes the camera

Game of Thrones

Switching gears to some medieval fantasy awesomeness, Game of Thrones came back with a jam-packed premiere - woot! I'm not sure how they pack an hour of TV into, like, 14 minutes... at least it only feels like 14 minutes. Must be some R'holler Lord of Light magic for sure.
First, I have to say that the casting on this show is amazing... everyone looks pretty much like I picture them in my head from the books. My one exception is Stannis, who I expected to be bigger, broader, and sterner. I didn't think he looked this way particularly last night, but in previews for next week, he looks more the part.

I wish she had killed him instead
Fraking Joffrey. The most hateful character in the history of ever. He is played so perfectly by Jack Gleeson that I wonder if he regularly gets slapped walking down the street. In the opening scenes, we see what the boy king is all about: his right-hand man "Dog" slaying opponents for sport, then it's  nearly death by wine for drunkard ex-knight Dontos when he commands that he get "more than his fill." Sansa and Dog to his rescue on that one, when he instead makes Dontos his fool, but we know Sansa will pay for that. Later, we see Joffrey talking to his moms, Queen Bitch Cersei and he confronts her about the "disgusting rumors" he's hearing about her and his Uncle Jamie. She denies of course, but Joffrey then demands to know about any of his father's bastards that may be hanging around. He asks in the most loathsome, vile, Joffrey way possible which results in The Slap Heard 'Round the Seven Kingdoms from Cersei. Like Tyrion's slap last season, it was cathartic (see epic 10-minute slapping session here). But last season, Joffrey wasn't king, he was just a sneering, sniveling, privileged, overindulged kid. Last night's slap was riveting, not only because it was his mom doing the slapping, but because Joffrey is now King Douchebag and in that instant you're not sure if he will have her killed on the spot or not. He says as much (that he has the power to kill her) and Cersei's face shows that while she loves her child, she has groomed a monster. We then see scenes of babes and children being ripped out of mother's arms and stabbed on the spot by the king's knights - Joffrey is having all of his father's bastards killed. Just one is not found: Gentry is on his way to the wall.

Jon Snow, you beautiful bastard
To the Wall! At the Wall, our Jon Snow (*swoon*) is no longer even at the Wall, as a group of the Night's Watch have started an expedition beyond the wall to see what's happening with the wildlings and see if more intel can be discovered on those pesky undead wights. They stop by ol' Craster's - nasty wildling Craster who makes his daughters his wives on an infinite loop. "What happens to the boys?" asks Jon Snow. Oh, wise, clever, amazing Jon Snow!  (No matter what that bitch Ygritte says... but I digress into unseen territory - sorry!) We don't get an answer to that $100,000 question in this episode. There is much made of Jon Snow's good looks here, but just somewhat more importantly we learn of Mance Rayder, a former wearer of the black who abandoned his vows, now calls himself King of the Wildlings and is gathering an army to march South of the Wall.
South of the Wall, all hell has broken loose. Joffrey's kingship is being challenged by several players: Stannis Baratheon, Robert's oldest brother, who sends out word to all corners of the world the truth that Joffrey is not a Baratheon but a product of Cersei-Jamie incest (along with sis Myrcella and lil bro Tommen); Renly Baratheon, Robert's youngest brother who believes himself most kingly and beloved by the people; Robb Stark, son of Ned Stark, who declares himself King of the North and seeks vengeance against Joffrey and the Lannisters for the death of his father at their hands.
Speaking of hands... THE BEST PART OF EVERYTHING: Tyrion Lannister returns to court in place of his father as The Hand to the King. This dude. Tyrion and his whipsmart cleverness returns in fine form: "Don't get up. More ravishing than ever, dear sister. War agrees with you." The truth is I could fill this whole blog entry with just Tyrion quotes and rhapsodize about this character endlessly.  For now, and for your sanity, I will post the video below of the best Tyrion scene ever and say that Peter Dinklage plays this part to perfection. Perfection! I smile every time he is on the screen because he is just that awesome. And, things are going Tyrion's way, so I can.

Tyrion being the freaking MAN
The red comet means only one thing: Dragons. We find Daenerys and her dragons struggling in some far-flung desert, miles away from anything. Her horse given to her from Drogo, symbolically collapses and instead of collapsing, Daenerys finds the strength to give strength to her followers (encouraged, of course, by her right hand man Jorah who gives her her strength, you see? lots of stregnth talk here.) and gives instructions for her guards to go in all directions to find civilization. I'm pretty sure dragons and people alike eat the horse, but we didn't see that.
So much else to talk about, but as things evolve, I will delve more into various factions of characters. Here's some of the other stuff I didn't even get to:
- Robb Stark has Jamie Lannister captive, knows about the incest, knows about him pushing Bran off the wall, is sending word to the Lannisters with a list of demands for Jamie, and is preparing to send mom Catherine to treat with Renly to see if they can all be friends. Let's just say Robb's busy.
Call him what he is: Kingslayer
- Bran is seeing things in his dreams as his direwolf, or we are to assume
- Great use of direwolves in this episode: Although I don't think we saw Jon Snow's Ghost, we see Bran's direwolf Summer in the weirwood, and we see Robb's direwolf Grey Wind menacingly in the cage with Jamie.
- We are introduced to new characters Melisandre and Davos, both loyal to Stannis. Melisandre says Stannis has been chosen by the Lord of Light to be the King of the World, so he abandons his old gods. Davos shares others views that this is not right, but keeps quiet, as he is a loyal subject of Stannis. We find out Melisandre has legit powers when someone tries to poison her and there is no effect. In other news, I heart Davos Seaworthy.
- I didn't even talk about Littlefinger and that very cool albeit not very character-like chiding with Cersei. Littlefinger says knowledge is power, Cersei instructs her men to slice his throat and stops them just before it happens demonstrating that indeed, power is power... for however briefly you may have it. - Much to P's chagrin (he has not read books), I groaned every time I saw freaking Theon Greyjoy on the screen. I can't help it - it's visceral.
I feel like this episode is somewhat of the calm before the storm... or rather, the gathering before the war. You get the sense that even though some things seem positive, things are changing minute to minute.

Mad Men

Switching gears again into a different kind of unrest, Roger sums up the whole episode with "When are things going to get back to normal?"  HA, oh Roger! Normal is gone, whatever that was. You're getting old, you gotta get hip to the times of 1966. Nothing is going to be the way it was, silly.
As part of the overarching theme of old vs. young/new, there's a pivotal scene where Roger is experiencing a downward spiral in his struggle to be relevant in his own ad agency ("I'm tired of holding on to the ledge") as a result of Pete's public coup of a client, and then Don tries to give him some perspective with the real downer that "Betty has cancer." Really? Well, maybe. Roger replies: "oh, real life. I gave up on that."

Betty gets the "good" news
Oh, Betty. Betty's back, and there's more of her to love (*air quotes*). Mostly to cover January Jone's real-life pregnancy, the character of Betty has put some weight on. We knew things weren't perfect in the Francis household, based on Betty herself saying so at the end of last season. But what is this? The doctor finds a lump on her thyroid and we see her weight gain as a symptom of possible cancer, whereas up until that moment, it was just a symptom of ennui (<-- also the name of my new emo band). When she finally hears the results that the lump was benign and says "I love to be put through the ringer and find out I'm just fat," you would think she would be more relieved, but she seems almost disappointed. Did anyone else notice that Betty was seemingly more relaxed, more affectionate and generally less toxic in this new body? Yes, a lot had to do with this life threatening news, but I'm feeling that the moral of this story should be "eat ice-cream, doubles if you want, and just enjoy what life has to offer, especially your kids." But this is just not going to happen with Betty Francis. Despite her husband proclaiming, and actually demonstrating, his love for her no matter her size, she will not believe it. I predict a trip back to the doc for diet pills and we will have a raging, pill-popping Betty she-devil to deal with in the very near future. And then Sally will run away and become the youngest hippie in history.
Betty's Sundae is the name of this pic and my band
How very appropriate that as Betty is looking for Mother's Little Helpers (sorta), Don is being sent to see the Rolling Stones about a possible ad campaign based on the client's teenage daughter's listening choices. This is a new Don, as an old Don would have told the client "not gonna happen." But new Don has a 20 something wife and is trying to... what? fit in? renew? go with the flow? Or maybe it's just Don realizing he is NOT in the know anymore with what resonates with people these days, thus the interrogation of the teen backstage at the show.  His age shows there, though, when the girl says "You guys don't want us to have any fun just because you never did," and he replies "No, we're just worried about you" as if he is talking to Sally.

Are you the secretary? And she still hires him!
In the other great sub-story line supporting the big themes of change and evolution, two words: Michael Ginsburg. I LOVE this dude. The addition of the Michael Ginsburg character represents so much: will he be the Pete to Peggy's Roger? will he in fact outshine Peggy as seemingly everyone is telling her? if nothing else, he represents a sign of the changing times, and specifically evolution in diverse personnel as he will be the first Jewish person on staff, and this quickly on the heels of the hiring of Dawn, Don's secretary and the first black person hired at SCDP.  But above all that, this dude is fantastic and rivals Roger for best one liners (something Roger will resent immediately). Who doesn't love a guy who says his stomach sometimes sounds like the F word when it growls? When he says "I have no hobbies, no girlfriend, no friends" I simultaneously wanted to yell "Danger! Danger, Peggy Olsen!" and "awwww...". He is different and a bit irreverent and definitely not conformist, so he is about to shake up the place. A little more shaking up is a good thing... maybe some French duets in the hallways?
Tell that stomach to watch it's mouth
Other stuff:
- Don called Betty "Birdie"... I swear I have never heard him say that before, but I Googled it and I guess it's a thing (I recall other nicknames such as Betts, but not this one). In any case, on the one hand it was kind of shocking to hear him using such a personal nickname when talking to her, given all of their history. On the other hand, it was endearing and heartfelt and comforting to her in her time of need.
- Sally didn't finish her sundae. Probably because of the horrible eating disorder she has as a result of Betty's cruel mothering, specifically that awful scene at the dinner table. I don't think any of us forget that.
- What up, Harry Crane? Dude is 10x more cringeworthy this season, which is fantastic.
- The look on Don's face when backstage and one of the girls says "advertising? like Bewitched?" is absolutely priceless
- Megan, getting washed over with advertising. I love that skill.

So much to talk about here! What are your thoughts on all of it? I am trying like heck to figure out this commenting problem, so give it a try and see if it works. If not, email me and I can post for you!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Funday - Mad Men is Back

I distinctly remember having a very meaningful discussion with my friend about two years ago regarding the genius of Mad Men and the the organic tension presented in every scene:

Me: "nothing is happening up here" *flails arms above head* "everything is happening down here"  *gently motions just above table*
Him: "okay... another mojito?"

Zou Bisou Bisou roughly translates to "what the WHAT?!"
And with the return of Mad Men last night, I stand by these statements, but times, they are a'changin'. Early on in the Season 5 opener A Little Kiss, there are lingering scenes where you are just waiting, WAITING for something to happen. And then, true to form, BLAM... nothing happens.  There's a bunch, but two jump out in my memory last night: Don shaving (with the brush his kids gave him for his birthday) and pausing to look in the mirror; and the scene where Megan goes out to the balcony with her drink after getting an earful from Don about the party and how he's embarrassed. Don's scene is not really new to us... how many times have we seen that expressionless face in a mirror? But Megan is new to us, an unknown character who throws surprise parties! sings in French! makes very public displays of affection! What the hell is this?! People don't do this on Mad Men! When Megan goes out to that balcony, we are very unsure about what's about to happen... will she start smashing glasses on the floor? will she start drinking everything in sight? will she jump? Nothing happens up there (*motions up*). But everything has already happened *down here* at table level. At table level, Megan has already shaken things up: besides her performance and the party itself, much was already made of Megan's "last minute" invites to the party and her hip, young, and at least one black, possibly gay? friends. Stuff is breaking through! The next day, Megan actually confronts Peggy about something she said about working the weekend and plainly states "What's wrong with you people?"clearly establishing her as not only the outsider, but representing the cultural changes happening in these mid-to-later years of the 60's (in this episode, we're in summer of '66). We see Megan really struggling to understand this old-school way of thinking, of working, of being and is not shy about expressing-slash-confronting-slash-exposing these dusty old conformities. As for how the fight about the party with Don and Megan is resolved, Megan starts to clean their post-party apartment in her undies while telling Don that if he doesn't want people to know he's "getting this" then he doesn't get to "get this."  Bwahahahahaha.... nice try, honey. Have you met Don Draper? It goes without saying, they do it on the nasty, cheese-curl-ridden floor. 
A smile usually reserved for clients

So, as much as Don Draper stays the same with his sexy-time, things are definitely changing for this man. First, Megan knows all about Dick Whitman. This in itself is a new way of living for Don. Now there's someone to bear his burden, or at least make his burden bearable. Don seems to be reveling in this newfound lightness. This is not lost on Peggy, as burdened as ever, when she says of Don's decidedly I-don't-have-your-back-Peggy moves in the board room with big client Heinz, "Clients are right all of the sudden? I don't recognize that man. He's kind and patient!" Indeed, Peggy. Indeed.

Boys Club is about to get shaken and stirred
Of course, Megan is not the only thing challenging the old ways. Interwoven throughout the episode is the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Could there be a more perfectly arranged visual representing this culture clash than the scene of the good ol' (white) boys of Sterling Cooper standing in the doorway while the waiting room is full of hopeful (black) candidates for possible job openings? A thousand words in this picture. 

- Poor Sally Draper seems to have grown into the responsible one (p.s. I always and forever will refer to Sally as "poor Sally Draper." Always.). However, with the changing times and her on the cusp of teenagedom, if anyone is going to "turn on, tune in, drop out" it will be this girl.
Titled: Ashes on baby's face. Oh, the sixties.
- Joan's baby! Adorable baby bums aside, Joan seems to be having a time of it. In another example of *up here* the baby is Joan's hubby's, we really know that *down here* this is Roger's baby and everyone is playing along. Well, Roger is playing along as best he can. Even he can't help shouting out "There's my baby!" when Joan arrives for a visit, then plays it as if he is talking to Joan. If Joan's heart dropped then, we didn't see it.
- Oh, Roger. Still trying to be relevant, he is worming his way into any business meetings he can crash. Of course, these are mostly Pete's since he is bringing in the most business (or so he reminds everyone at every chance). Thus setting us up for continued rivalry.  Lots of great Rogerisms last night, but Best Rogerism actually came from Jane (she's learning a lot from him):  Roger to Jane: "Why don't you sing like her (Megan)?" Jane: "Why don't you look like him (Don)?"
- Pete still being Pete. Besides the same ol' same ol' with Pete and his love of tantrums, and general ungratefulness of his life, how fantastic was the scene with Peggy with Joan's baby and Pete? Again, if any signs of history being acknowledged happened there, we didn't see it, even though Peggy's personal discomfort with the baby was palpable. 
- Love that Peggy is still with underground journalist Abe!  I hope this one lasts.
- This whole story line with Lane is so creepy: Lane finds wallet, distrusts cabbie to return completely, takes wallet to find owner, finds picture of girl in wallet and basically has the 60's Lane version of phone sex with said girl. I mean, I guess it fits in with his character where he is more than unhappy in his marriage and this life his abusive father is making him live. But really how desperate to proposition a stranger on the phone? I guess most telling of Lane's mindset is his meeting with Joan, where Joan is emotional and professes to feeling lonely not being at work. Lane replies essentially that you don't always find everything you need at home. You don't say, Lane.
- No Betty, but she sure was mentioned when Don says to his children at the drop-off outside of Betty's house "Say 'hi' to Lurch and Morticia for me."  Nice. Dad of the year.
- Megan sings sings Zou Bisou Bisou, not Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo. I'm here to educate. Also, I love that she calls Joan's baby "a little chou (cabbage)." Tres francais!

Hit the comments with your thoughts! Please keep all comments in French, or in song. Preferably both.