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.

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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 canĀ  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.

MAD MEN Season4 Episode2

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 by greg1835

If you notice, earlier in the episode, Don made a play for the nurse. Didn’t happen. Then, he could’ve easily made a play for the psychiatrist-type woman but didn’t because she wanted in to him, not take care of him. In the end, he went for, and got, Allison, the secretary, who takes some care of him.

What’s the common denominator with the nurse and the secretary? Two women who can take care of him. That’s what it’s about. That’s what he went for. This is where Don Draper is now. That’s the point of the episode, to me anyway.

Even though he gave Allison the next day sober boot, however immediately after the sex, did you see the tender touch he gave her after the sex? TheĀ  face caress, the personal attention, the emtional attention from a man who is incapable of such? It’s the contradiction that makes us men. You women have all been there.

I thought that was the key scene of the episode; not the sex but his touching her face afterward.

Again, no blonde, just like last week when it didn’t work out with Jane’s friend, and here instead he goes for the first brunette, the nurse, and gets the other brunette secretary Allison.

When Betty found the box last season, she said. “you wanted to get caught”. Does Don cry out for things by action instead of words? Is Don crying out for something by going for caretaker girls here?

In the series premiere season1, when Peggy put her hand on his, he rejected it. He didn’t need it. Does he need it now though? Obviously.

Was the emphasis on the kids this episiode metaphorical? Kids need a foundation, and so does Don right now?

Don is grasping for something other than sex, but seeking that unknown however through what he knows, which leads to so much more mess. Not the first guy.

The last scene was terrific. Don leaving the office with Allison’s “gifts”, (cough, cough, metaphor) while she, the girl, is left with meaningless words the next morning you put in a drawer. Perfect metaphor.

What say you?

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 1

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 by greg1835

I really felt it was about a finishing, a denouement, of last season; the beating of Don, and then married with Don rising now this season at the end of this episode. Yes he won at the end last year with the new agency etc, but the whole season was more of a loss than winning by the always-winning alphamale.

To me this began as a conjunction between last season of Don’s beating, and it continuing here, and the rising beginning now at the very end of this episode. I felt that was the theme, finishing last season till the end of this episode, and now the new season and maybe Don’s rising again begins. But…

First: The Piet Mondrian. The office background/influence is Piet Mondrian down to the color, down to the frames behind Pete where Peggy is asserting herself, down to the frames of the walls surrounding the Mondrian squares, down to everything of the feel of the new office; lots of really stark white background with solid quadrilaterals of Mondrian color tones overtop as definition. The whole office is like that, that’s the difference you see vs past years. Similar to the idea in general of Bert Cooper and the Rothko introducing the idea of art into the office; except here art goes further and is part of the architecture.

However, Don’s office is still very SC in visuals; the horizontals of the blinds, the verticals of the buildings outside, neutral color etc. Very SC. He’s still Don even though his company is Mondrian. Contrast that with Don’s apartment joint: dark, stark, bad whore, bad sex. The office is bright new moving forward. Don’s place is dark, dank, sad. Where Don is right now. The upbeat office, the beaten down Draper; sad with a whore.

Don and the whore: Two different good-looking people who are yet similar in their desperation. For what exactly?

The first meeting in the office, Don, Pete and Roger are like the 3 musketeers Peers. Unlike the first 3 seasons. But the first 3 seasons petty alpha-male issues do come forth here as well. Some things change, but never really do change. At one point Don gives in to Roger, part of his again remaining down. Another symbolic Don Draper line, to keep us all in line, Roger saying to Don, “who knows who you are? ” One of the base Mad Men themes in stone here in the first episode.

Did you notice Bobby is suddenly disciplined?

And did you see the globe in the black and white old tv clip we quick saw? We saw lots of globes last season. One is here again tonight.

Globes, Earth, spin round and round with no beginning and no end; like a carousel. (to paraphrase, it travels like a child travels, around and around, backwards and forwards, cough, cough, Kodak personation ahem) I still maintain the motif of carousel is underlying in this series as we visually saw with the maypole dance last season, and lots of globes last season, and we saw a globe here in episode one already. But that’s just me. We’ll see.

Don at the end, his pitch. After being beaten so down, at the end here, we see him rising from some ashes. He was beat down in the work meeting, he was beat up last year in many ways, and this season began with him somewhat wretched, wasn’t he in some ways. So what does he do? He has another “it’s toasted” moment. See the similarities from the first ever episode? He talks about the competitors, less than the product. He has his Don (rising back) moment.
Is this foreshadowing?

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 1 continued

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 by greg1835

Peggy telling the new guy we haven’t seen, “Chop. chop Joey” — Peggy telling a man what to do.
The office is bright, geometric Mondrian, yet in the end Peggy’s skirt is geometric in pattern….but bland, earthy, dull. Along the same lines, but different, which is a metaphor of Peggy herself. Peggy in line with, yet against, the office.

Speaking of Peggy, Don saying to her, ” Spit it out, honey.” Probably one of the more important things of the episode. Doubt it’s foreshadowing of romance bc that would be too simple and network tv untalented hack cheesy.

We saw Peggy start calling Draper, Don, first name, before this season. No one does that. But Peggy did. There has always been a triptych of Don/Betty/Peggy, and this is one of the more important developments of it.

It’s not about cheesy soap opera possible romance; it’s about Don taking her more seriously, personally, calling her by a term of affection; something this man never does…