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!

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