Archive for August, 2010

The Joan Leg shot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by greg1835

The Joan legshot. To me, I thought excellent use of sexuality to distract us to make us think it’s rooted in male competition for a woman. But, I thought both of them taking her hand was more about the original line from Joan in the pilot, to Peggy, “most of these men want a mother and a waitress.”

They’re both Alpha males, constantly in competition on more than one level. But in the face of hopefully the moment of triumph instead of high-fiving and chest thumping and male posturing etc….they each independently, unknowing, took the woman’s hands instead, at the moment of climax.

They could have shot it with both of them taking her hands above table in group joy. But 2 things:

They both hid it from each other, so it was under the table to not let the other see.

But second, they’re both grown men reaching for her hands, the woman, in this moment which could mean a lot.

It was way more personal, visually, seeing the two Alpha males both reach for the comfort of femininity; and her legs were the symbol of that femininity to us the viewer as both Don and Rger took her hands.

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Mad Men Episode 6

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by greg1835

The spherical cigarette dispenser thing Allison threw at Don back on the coffee table? I think so.

Peggy is wearing slingbacks.

Interesting Don and Peggy dynamic. In the beginning, Don is actually chummy with her in turning down someone. But then challenging later on is their interaction. It’s a hallmark of their relationship; both honey and vinegar. Yet in the end it works.

Roger talking about comedy duo relationships. Then you have he and Don in apparently their first meeting ever, kinda both doing a comedy routine for us the viewer. The way they dialogue back and forth with the furs looked like an homage to old school comedy duos. And they do it immediatley after, when we get back to the present, in their drinking.

The flashback with Roger and Joan, the next edit is Roger in present calling in Caroline to say he has, “another work story”.

At the ceremony after Duck being old-Duck, “Gentlemen let’s pace ourselves” is the announcement, and Roger takes a long pull from his drink.

The creepy guy to Peggy mentioned something about hunting, similar to the Pete dialogue she had back in the day…

SO, we find out in the flashback Don did the whole gift idea in trying to get a job with Roger. Roger didn’t like it. Remember when CocaCola did that regarding Betty, and Don didn’t like it?

At the end when Pete was talking to Cosgrove, taking charge, I was disappointed to not see Pete’s rifle in the background, like we used to see whenever Pete had a changing moment.

The random and accidental waitress after all that? Anyone who has ever lived will vote to submit this one for the Emmys, if not 2 episodes ago.

Later, Don pulling the old and patented Cock Block by stealing Dr. Faye from some guy. Classic. Barvo Mr. Draper.

Ep 5, Combat, confiding and Peggy on the carouself motif

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2010 by greg1835

Episode 5, combat vs confide, and Peggy on the carousel theme.

To me, the most interesting scene was Don with Dr. Faye.

She’s in an office, yet in the kitchen. Shoes off. Doing dishes. And the only time in the episode, Don actually confides rather than combats. He talks personally which he rarely does. There’s no element of vinegar in their presence, like it was before and like to a small degree his dates with Jane’s friend, no matter whose fault it would be.

Since she’s both in an office and a kitchen, which is the real environment Don is seeing?

Is it simply because she’s a psych and it mirrors the Sally angle? Or is it something more, about the homestead blonde. Is that what unlocks the first lock of a safe with many locks to go through until he opens? Is that his pillow, is that his oasis his mind wants to finally rest upon and within? Anna does after all give him a bit of that as well.

Did he see the idea of a Betty without combat, in her? He’s also straight with Anna. He sees nothing worthy of substance in Dr. F until that scene. And he is neither alpha male nor bossy toward her, choosing to confide. Most every other scene was one of combat and confrontation with him tonight.

And later with work, did we see Don employing the Cold War strategy of an arm’s race?

In addition, Tonight we saw Don on different sides of things. The visual near the end was great, of Don in his chair and Pete and Layne in a big office with plenty of space, but sitting together away from him. With his coworkers, his wife, his date, competitors etc he was always on another confrontational side. Yet he was only together, and for only a few moments, with someone he was formerly on the other side of in blondy Dr. F.

Later we saw Betty in Sally’s psyche’s office looking wistfully at the idyllic playhouse. Not to mention her with Henry hanging together listening to the music in the living room like we saw with her and Don before. Also not to mention Betty complaining to Henry about parenting, yet telling him he’s soft. She did basically the same to Don when he wouldn’t smack Bobby.

(and unrelated it would have been very Joan as well looking at the playhouse; meanwhile Peggy is riding the Honda around and around in a circle [carousel style] ).

Which brings us to another unanswerable point: I’ve always believed in the carousel motif of unencumbered spinning round and round like a child with no admitted beginning or end, no worries as one of the underlying themes of this series (the Kodak presentation, and the visual carousel the episode we met Suzanne Farrell, and the emphasis on globes which spin around and around). Peggy, who we know has a lot of Don in her, visually spinning around and around tonight. We saw her within a round set, traveling around and around, and they could have had her do anything. Or maybe it’s just a bunch coincidences through the seasons. Who knows.

Peggy, the unintended trophy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by greg1835

The competition over Peggy:

Last year, Duck trying to woo Peggy from Sterling Cooper.

The priest competing both with and against her in season 2 for the truth.

Her mother competing with Madison Avenue to keep her home.

Her sister endlessly competing with her due to sibling rivalry.

Don, wanting to bring her from SC to SCDP.

At the party tonight, the guy in the closet and Peggy’s friend both having eyes for her competing for her.

At SCDP Peggy is in an implied competition because the old guard likes her work and wants her; Freddie, Don and Roger only care about who makes money. But the new guard shows up for her not exactly being shy about it. The old guard takes her work seriously which is so important to her, even if they still have a boys will boys attitude that she has to put up with. But the new guard cares not about her work. The new guard doesn’t care about one of the very things so important to her.

Does Peggy stick with those who take her work seriously even though they don’t treat her like one of the boys? Or does Peggy join those that take an interest in her but have no care for her work, which means a lot to her?

The conflict that defines Peggy steps to another level.

What defines Peggy?  Her work means more than a lot. Those here tonight that accept her with no questions care not at all about her work, something that is her very core though. Those who care about what is her very core, her work, don’t treat her like friends.

Peggy is a girl who gets no attention, yet is unaware of all the attention that she actually has. It manifests itself in the competition on different levels about her. Yet, it’s competition that’s not about her as her own person, it’s competition about her being an object.

What was great about Duck sending her the scarf last year was that Peggy doesn’t have the simple things like a guy sending her a simple gift. Somewhere underneath everything Peggy is still a girl at heart. That’s why she wanted to keep it. Peggy finally had attention that was a good personal thing even if it was fake, it was a personal item even if simple. But even though she knew better, she’s so starved she liked it.

Peggy has been completely starved for attention because she’s either been an object as an office tool or a family tool or a utilitarian tool, but here tonight she (seemingly because you never know what will happen) was given attention not for a personal use, but finally as an accepted peer. Even in the 3 parties episode last year she was still treated as a lark and not seriously with the Paul gang.

Peggy is in need of an identity and made a decision tonight. Was it really the right one?

It’s those who accept her as a peer yet care not at all about what is so intrinsic to her core, to part of her heart, what really matters to her SO much, her work. They couldn’t care less.

VS

Those who give her the validation of her work, yet don’t count her personally as a peer.

Which group is the real user?

Peggy, who wants what any normal person does, attention, gets none yet gets too much; just too much of the wrong kind. Not exactly new in life, huh?

The conflict that is Peggy continues…

Don and the future of old

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by greg1835

Don at the end.

Watching the old man, did Don see the future? It is clear on what side of the wall, the wall we saw in SCDP with the old guard on one side and the new guard right outside, we saw this old man is on. He is on the side that is apart from the new rising Peggy and friends side. But, the old man is with someone though. He is not on the side of the wall about power to the people etc. He is on his side of the wall, alone with his wife, quiet and concerned only with his peaches. This is probably a man who spent his life being simply thankful for what he ever had, and not being angry at what he didn’t have. The difference between the two sides of the wall.

Don said to Rachel Menkin in the first episode ever, (and one of the best dialogues you’ll ever hear) “you’re born alone and you die alone, and all this world does is drop a bunch of rules on top of you. I never forget that. I’m living for tomorrow because, there is none.”

Peggy spent last season and up until this season riding a confused fence, undecided which side is her, in search of an identity.

And of course remember identity is a running theme through our little show here.

In the end of this episode, the old guard is shaking hands as the modern executive does. Peggy’s crowd is giggling having fun, as the new guard does.

Don enters his crappy apartment, alone, as the episode ends.

Glass wall, rejection vs. acceptance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by greg1835

Glass wall, acceptance vs rejection

The Rejected.

So many levels. We get the obvious, Pete being rejected at the office, then having to reject his father-in-law and of course Don rejecting Allison. Then at the end of course, Peggy rejecting the old guard as she runs off with her new crowd.

But there’s one more element about facing rejection, really interesting. The last shot: Don looking at the old man going into his apt as Don is doing the same. The rejection of Don Draper and that sort of society is no coincidence juxtaposed with the shot of Peggy prior and her younger people. Don is the rejected.

Delving into that, we saw two groups, and an in-between group, similar to yet again to the 3 parties episode last year.

Peggy last year in the 3 parties episode was as always caught in between an identity. She was half working as the old guard would, but ends up half playing as the new guard does. This episode this season, she makes a choice, her own choice.

There’s a barrier, the glass door/wall separating the old guard from the new guard as Peggy’s friends enter (but stop at it and don’t go through it). Also visually you have the secretary in red, a shot from behind, using her visually placed between the two groups as well, visually drawing the line for further visual emphasis. Peggy asks do you want to join us, she says she can’t. The secretary is in between symbolically, between work of the old guard as she does and play of the new guard as she seemingly wants; not just spirit but also visually the presence of her body drawing the line. Rare do you see camera shots from behind someone, so here there’s a reason.

Peggy has a sort of closure in her first conversation with Pete. Then here, with the visuals of the divided society, the choice she makes, she says something to Pete. Without words and through metaphor she says goodbye to Pete, through the wall and choosing to stand on her side of it.

Last year Peggy was lost, searching for an identity. Tonight she chose. Don is a lost man, and he is stuck.

Both Don and Peggy saw their future here tonight?

Mad Men Season4 Episode 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 9, 2010 by greg1835

So Don Draper grows a heart. And, subtly, signs a contract.

But before we get into that, to me this episode was about 2 things: Bonding and mirroring.

Don bonding with Anna even deeper than their prior deal. Joan actually bonding with Dr. G with her marriage. Don and Layne bonding.

All three are mirrored in the idea of marriage, like Goldilocks and the porridge: one marriage is over, (too cold), one is in shambles in the process of ending (middle can  go either way as we begin), and one is turning upside (surprisingly good news). The over-schooled will draw Greek literature philosophy of everything in moderation, “a bad, a good. and something in between.” The 3 bears motif. The ancient Greek philosophy of literature and life. That’s what I think bc they’ve done it before, notably w the 3 parties episode last year.

Starting with Don:

Don has a bond obviously with Anna. He’s cared, but he’s never been affected. This is the first time we’ve seen him that affected over a woman. When Pete’s dad died Don offered him a drink and to go home. Don, with Anna, actually wants to stay… in her home, unlike his own with Betty. His painting of the wall was just like when in season 2 when he was fixing her chair (after Betty had smashed their chair bc he didn’t fix it).

And this is important: He actually signs his name on the wall, in ink, a CONTRACT. He signs his name, in ink, to a woman.

In the end though, he’s still Don, with his arm comfortably around his call girl. It’s comfortability like a relationship but with no strings. Perfect Don, all middle ground. Not exactly something that we all haven’t been there.

Joan and Dr. G: She cuts her hand, and here Dr. G is right on it. And competent. And her Superman. As much as women love Joan bashing his head with the vase, she still needs him to be her Superman. The conflict within us all. We’re one thing but still need another. We both men and women have a little Don and Joan in us respectively.

But quite a difference from last year during Guy getting his foot cut off. There, she was the one Dr. G couldn’t be in his own life, she was the calm, collected one, taking charge and ruling with common sense over blood. He was the one she found out had bad hands, while she had delicate hands in her time of stress.

Here, very different isn’t it. Total direct reference. Here she’s in a little blood, and he now has the steady, reassuring hands. He’s filling her stereotype that she’s generally always wanted. They started out arguing, and end up bonding. Not the first two people. Dr. G even says later, “I can fix this”.

Layne: The fish out of water, which seems to be a common theme we see much of. Layne the priss, now Layne one of the locker room boys. The rite of ritual, the “virgin” Layne now initiated as one of the real men via getting laid through the boys will be boys office. Now he’s a man.

Most of the women can’t get into Don Draper, but one of the boys now is, without much effort on his part and actually more effort on Don’s part. One of the general mysteries women scratch their head at when it comes to guy/male bonding vs guy/girl/relationship things. Welcome to the world of men behaving badly, i.e. another theme of Mad Men.

So Layne has the bad marriage now. Another theme of life we see in Layne is that you can only punch a man so much in the face until he eventually leaves.

His wife and his former company did just that. He left his former company, now he at least symbolically is leaving his wife. Did you notice, actually since last year, the slow assimilation of the outside Layne? In the beginning of the episode he’s talking about ordering chicken, an American home food staple, and at the end he’s all about steak. Hardly tea and crumpets, fish and chips. And of course it ends with what it ends with. Not where Layne started out last year is it?

And did you catch the upbeat music at the very end as Layne walks in the office? Metaphor intended.

Two men who are opposite, and yet come together. Similar to sometimes Don and Peggy (Peggy last week acting the virgin as if to have a past she erases from her mind and acts like it never happened; just like Don has. “This never happened”)

An exploration of binding and mirroring, this whole episode.