22.5.15

"Retreat Don Draper" Is Our New Life Concept Forever


BY LIZ & LJ

On Wednesday we watched the Mad Men season finale on the phone together and talked for three hours about how we're going to be exactly like Don Draper at the retreat from now on. Here's a partial transcript of RetreatDonCon.

LJ: You really called it on Don Draper not falling off a building.

LIZ: Well, I had a feeling.

LJ: Yeah - some gut feeling that the people who make the show aren't complete loser-idiots.




LJ: Don's basically the hottest he's ever looked here. I like how he's really '50s. 


LIZ: I like how there's finally some Doors on Mad Men.


LJ: Yeah, I don't really care about The Doors, but I thought it was a cool "We're in the '70s now" move.




LJ: Stan's jacket here is in the running for Outfit of the Week. I wish I could understand the exact 2015 equivalent of what it would mean to wear that. Would he be hip-hop, kind of? I don't even understand how people dress anymore.



LIZ: I don't care about this woman in bed with Don.

LJ: Yeah, we've sat through seven seasons of this. I need a little more than Don Draper having promiscuous sex with a hot blonde woman. I guess I'm happy that there's no Diana in this episode. It makes a bit more sense now that he was really just fixating on her unhealthily because he felt lost and he was putting it all on her. That checks out.




LIZ: Joan is the cutest person on coke ever in the world. I like how she's impressed by the efficiency of it. "Oh, it's so fast!" 


LJ: "Just like Harry Crane's computer! Just like a great secretary!" I also like that cocaine weaseled its way into Mad Men, like The Doors.


LIZ: Her boyfriend is so gross. That's such a gross positioning of his body.


LJ: He makes chillness so disgusting.



LJ: Peggy looks so cute this entire episode. She's so frumpy the entire series and then she finally just busts it out.

LIZ: I love all the cats on Bert's painting. And this is really cute too, her and Pete.

LJ: Harry Crane looks the best he's ever looked. He looks bad-ass.

LIZ: He eats that nice cookie. He's winning.

LIZ: I'm glad we got to see Pete again, I thought he was gone for good.

LJ: Yeah, I needed that. They just let us see them all again. 

LIZ: They really indulged us. After I watched it I was like, "Oh, Matthew Weiner's so nice! He was so nice to us." 

LJ: He really gets what lame losers we all are. We need it so bad.

14.5.15

Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "The Milk and Honey Route"


LJ: Betty Draper is dying. That's a spoiler. But it's really late in the week and if you haven't watched this week's episode of Mad Men yet then you're obviously not that committed of a Mad Men fan- I was going to say "Or else you are just a committed Mad Men fan having a busy week," but nope. I retract that thought. There is NO amount of busy that could keep me away from watching the PENULTIMATE episode of Mad Men! There are subway rides, there are breaks at work, there are bathrooms- so many opportunities to watch this episode and learn that Betty Draper is dying for yourself. It's not my responsibility to babysit all the half-baked Mad Men semi-fans out there; this Betty Draper spoiler is your karmic punishment for not loving Mad Men more. (By the way, who else is nostalgic for like ten years ago when nobody ever used the overly fussy word "penultimate" to describe the second-to-last episode of a freaking TV show. I really doubt we were all like, "Ah, tonight I'm staying in to watch the penultimate episode of Friends." Back in 2003, the only people who ever said penultimate were "pedants.") 

Anyway, I think Betty Draper's dying is the most beautiful fucking thing. Like, obviously I'm really sad about it, and have basically never stopped quietly thinking about it underneath all the other thoughts I think for the past four days or whatever. But she's just been so impressively serene all season, so placid, like a river, and this episode she just floated- I don't mean that in a condescending way; of course Betty has her head screwed on maybe even too tight: she's very much Of This Earth. (Virgo with her moon in Pisces, would be my guess). But in her pretty pale chiffon nightgowns, she reminded me of the ghost of a bluebird or the flower called a bluebonnet or a jellyfish. Betty's never been on any huge spiritual quest, but by peacefully and maturely accepting her own death she has ended up self-actualising more completely than any other character the show's wrapped up for us so far. Who knew? I guess Betty Draper was the George Harrison of Mad Men all along.  


I wish Henry Francis was a little less obsessed with the Rockefellers. Like, seriously, dude. You really have to stop incorporating the word "Rockefeller" into every conversation you and your wife have about her terminal cancer. It's not necessary, bro. (Henry Francis and I are bros, btw. Sorry! We just are.) Anyway, I just wanted to take this moment to shout out this mid-episode Betty and Henry argument, when Betty's like "Stop chasing your tail!" and Henry's like, "You're morose." What a classy fight! When my boyfriend and I fight we're just like, "Ugh ew leave me the fuck alone I had such a lame day at shitty work I'm fucking tired EW." A coupla boors, we are. But at least we never bring up the Rockefeller dynasty at inappropriate times. That's our saving grace. 


"Oh good, it's Duck Phillips," said... NO ONE! No one said that, except maybe, like, a serial killer? Maybe a serial killer would be a Duck fan? If there are any serial killers out there who watch Mad Men. I feel like there aren't, though. Serial killers would probably all fall into the category of people who are like, "Mad Men's just too slow for me."

So yeah, I don't know, here's Duck Phillips. I feel like it was a really masochistic move, on Matt Weiner's part, to bring Duck Phillips back for one last disgusting hurrah. He was like "Yeah, Matt, do it. People are gonna hate this." And it's true, Matt! They did. Duck's storyline got off to a characteristically disgusting start with him saying "Fit as a fiddle" in a way that would have been "adorkable" if Pete Campbell had said it, but we can't all be Pete Campbell, can we? The part of the whole Duck-Pete-LearJet narrative that I hated either most or least, depending on how masochistic I'm feeling, was when he was begging Pete to go to the LearJet dinner and then said, "I just need to fill this one position, and I'll make it through the winter"- like, what the hell? Make it through the winter? How poor are you, dude? Are you a homeless person on the street? So dramatic! 

Also: I feel like Duck and Lou Avery must know each other, and like each other. I'll bet Duck was a supporter of Scout's Honor from Day One. 


Glad everything worked out for our boy Pete Campbell! I mean I am REALLY glad. But I don't have much clever shit to say about it, just wanted to state for the official Pete record that:

1. I thought it was really cool how he empowered his daughter by calling her Wonder Woman and not, like, Lambie-Pie or whatever
2. His globe bar is cool
3. When resident grosso Duck asks him, "Who's going to win the World Series this week?" he cutely replies "I don't know!" in an inflection reminiscent of how my thirteen-year-old self might have responded to my mother asking me a question about either a boy I had a crush on or my menstrual cycle.
4. At some point over the course of my day today I had the genius revelation that Wichita-Pete is going to become... wait for it... I'm so smart... *DJ airhorn sample*... THE WORLD'S HUGEST ELTON JOHN FAN. 


(Picture him wailing along to "You can't plant me in your penthouse" when he thinks no one's watching <3)


I know I already said "our boy Pete Campbell" in this Mad Men recap, but that's not going to stop me from being like 

IT'S YA BOY DON DRAPER

And then in the background Jay-Z calls out "Ya boy! Ya boy!" 

That's how I feel about presenting Don Draper to you guys this week. This entry has a bit of a hip-hop feel to it, on my end. Do you think Kim & Kanye watch Mad Men? I don't. I feel like they fall into the "Mad Men's too slow for me" camp, just like serial killers. Kim and Kanye need ACTION. 

Don Draper is Mad Man Of The Week this week. I like how he's just full-on going for it, in terms of his insanity. Did any of you watch the TV show Togetherness? It's fucking brilliant. There's this part in one episode where Mark Duplass' character is talking to his kooky spiritual guru about how when he was growing up his friends and family would always make fun of him for "weirding out," and then he goes on a cool psychedelic journey toward embracing his own weirdness. I think so much about how "weird"-ly applicable that is to Don's character arch- the whole idea of "feeling ashamed about weirding out until you have nothing left to do but weird out in a really extreme way." I'm so proud of Don for giving up on trying to be normal- such a fruitless pursuit!- and I love how he's totally open about the ins and outs of his weird new vagabond life with Sally. That seems healthy.


PS: I know the depth of this episode seems a little beyond such frivolities as Outfit Of The Week, but Sally's nightgown-and-tousled-hair look is taking home the Milk and Honey Route prize nevertheless. 

PPS: What does "The Milk and Honey Route" mean? When you Google it, the only thing that comes up is this Mad Men episode, and I already know about this Mad Men episode. 



LIZ: What a beautiful bushel of apples! I wish we could've seen Pete at the orchard, plucking those shiny red macintoshes from the trees in his turtleneck and blazer. And I'm curious as to whether Trudy asked him to pick up a jug of cider, or if he went and bought it on his own. Probably it's the latter. New-Lease-on-Life Pete Campbell's just a really thoughtful guy.

I also want to know if Pete ended up taking Tammy to Friendly's, and I want to know what he ordered when they got there. I feel like the old Pete Campbell would've ended up with some drab, dainty, Pete Campbell-y thing - like, one little measly scoop of butter pecan, and not even with chocolate sprinkles on top. But the new and improved Pete Campbell would totally just go for it and get himself a Jim Dandy, which is basically the ultimate "divorced dad taking his daughter to Friendly's" dessert option. A Jim Dandy, in case you don't know, is five scoops of ice cream, a banana, strawberry topping, marshmallow topping, chocolate topping, whipped cream, walnuts, sprinkles, and a cherry. It looks like this. Pete would eat that whole thing and then he'd eat the rest of Tammy's ice cream - which I just decided is a strawberry sundae, because he spoils her. His little Wonder Woman, "no worse for wear."

(Side note: I used to do some freelance work for a filmmaker who was a real loose-cannon type; every Thursday I'd go to her house in Hollywood and send emails for her while she stomped around and yelled a lot at no one in particular. One time she sent her boyfriend out to get her ice cream, and he came back with butter pecan, and she threw a huge temper tantrum, shouting, "HOW COULD YOU GET ME BUTTER PECAN? I HATE BUTTER PECAN!!! BUTTER PECAN IS FOR DEAD PEOPLE!!!!!" My point is that I thought that was a very original take on ice cream, and also on death.) 


It's possible I just really need a vacation, but the idea of drinking whiskey and eating pretzels and watching TV in my underwear in a motel bed sounds like heaven to me right now. Other than that, Don's creepy motel adventure was not so heaven-like for me. My stomach hurt the whole time we were at the vets fundraiser: I kept waiting for those men to do terrible things to Don, and when Pam Beesly's ex-fiance showed up I got all extra freaked out, probably still traumatized from that time he tried to beat up Jim Halpert. So apart from the pretzels, the only motel-related things I enjoyed were:

-when Don boredly dove into the pool
-when Don made a big deal of hatefully staring at the Coke machine
-that new bit of info we learned about how Don went to night school. It's just very cute to think of Muppet Baby Don Draper in night school in New York City, learning how to type.


Oh hi, I'm Pete Campbell, the cutest person in the whole wide world, with my giant glass of milk and big hunk of pie that my adorable daughter made me. Look at me, look how I've arrived. I'm about to live my best life. I'm going to Wichita, far from this opera forevermore. I've also made the weird move of taking a job at an aircraft company, despite the fact that just years ago my father perished in a plane crash. I am truly extraordinary. 

So yeah: Pete! My sweet darling Peter Dyckman Campbell. I woke up on Monday morning to a text from LJ, reading "Happy 4 Pete," which was a great start to the week. My best moment from the pie scene was when he said "Eat with me" to Trudy. It was one of my top five Pete Campbell lines of the night, along with:

-"I dare say, it got you excited trying to close over coffee"
-"I think it feels good and then it doesn't"
-"YOU STUPID WINO, YOU'RE GOING TO DESTROY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
-the part when he says "Good morning" to Trudy instead of "Goodnight," and his voice is the most perfect balance of creepy and sweetly tender. Pete is just the cutest little cheeseball-creep.

My only complaint about the pie scene is he forgot to take the pie home. I hope Trudy had the good sense to throw the pie out, or at least hide it, so that Tammy wouldn't think that Pete didn't want it. Apparently I'm very concerned about the Campbell family's dealings with the Lyman Orchard apples, and all 
related apple-produced goods.


The last thing I want to say about Pete is I love it when he talks all cosmic-like, going on about the supernatural origins of things. And that it's so classy how he didn't try to stay the night. I agree that his singing along to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on that weird stereo thing that Ken Cosgrove/Ben Hargrove wrote a short story about would be the most breathtaking thing in the world.


And here's Don, with his stupid Sears bag and his big dumb life, sitting on the bus bench all pleased as punch. It's cool how he inspired that Andy kid to get the hell out of dodge. And I loved how no-drama he was about delivering the bag of money to the awful Betty's-dad-lookalike motel owner. Don is so chill. I don't get people who say things like, "Don Draper's gross and sleazy and a drunk, I don't see the appeal." They're probably the same people who don't like Anthony Bourdain because "he's arrogant." Why would you ever want to turn on the TV and watch people who are nice and sober and humble and completely free of all vices? That sounds so depressing. It's so depressing to not love Mad Men.

Anyway - the one Don-related concern I want to voice here is: he's not going to abandon Sally, is he? He can't. He can't orphan his kids. Along with the ghost of Anna Draper, Sally is his soul. 


In addition to not getting people who don't like Don Draper, I also don't get people who are like, "Matthew Weiner killed Betty on Mother's Day! Matthew Weiner hates women!" That seems pretty reductive to me. Let's all just allow for the possibility that the world is a little cooler than Matthew Weiner holing up in his office and studying calendars and triangle graphs and bending the plot of his entire series so that the revelation of Betty Francis's impending death will occur exactly on Mother's Day, 2015. Let's just live that way instead.

So, yeah, Betty. The thing I can't shake is that moment when we see her climbing the stairs at school, and she's having a hard time and obviously hurting - but then a boy says hi to her and her face lights up into the biggest, brightest, most beautiful smile. She's partly faking but she's also so excited to be at school, so proud of herself and so happy to be recognized. In general I think a lot about the idea of wanting to do something forever, and putting it off and putting it off, and finally getting the courage to give it a shot - and then having it all blown to hell by forces entirely beyond your control. That's what's happened with Betty, and the way she carries on so tranquilly, with such grace and actual joy: it's so heartbreaking and beautiful. Birdie is a hero now.


6.5.15

Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "Lost Horizon"

(Yesterday we watched the latest Mad Men episode together over the phone. Here is a transcript of our LostHorizoncon.)



LIZ: I'm happy for Meredith that she's got her shit together now.

LJ: Oh my god, she's killing it. She's such a boss. Is it realistic that a person's hair would've looked like that?

LIZ: Yeah, the bouffant kind of thing?

LJ: It's just really extreme.

LIZ: She does look like a little poodle.

LJ: I wish my hair looked like that. I wish I could execute that daily. My hair's so messy compared to Meredith's.




LJ: What is he doing here? Why is he so enthralled by the window?

LIZ: I think it's that it can't open. Also, the whole idea that Don is going to actually jump out a window at the end of Mad Men - I feel like that's the same as thinking that John Lennon would actually write the lyric "Everybody smoke pot." It's like the same level of...

LJ: ...insight into art.

LIZ: Yeah, exactly.

LJ: If that's how Mad Men ended, I would be so sad.

LIZ: When people ask me do you think he's gonna jump out the window, I wanna start yelling, "What is wrong with you? How could you ever think that?"

LJ: "Yeah. That's my opinion. I think Don Draper's going to jump out a window."




LJ: I like how they're gracefully transitioning us out of knowing certain characters. Like, "This is your moment to say goodbye to Shirley. She's not on the show anymore. Reflect on all the times we've spent with her."

LIZ: I hope that was the goodbye for Harry but it probably wasn't.




LJ: I hope it's the goodbye for this lady on the right here.

LIZ: She thinks she's such the sharp wit.

LJ: She's the worst new character since Pima. She's the Pima of "Lost Horizon."

LIZ: She dresses like Pima kind of.

LJ: She wishes. She wishes she was Pima: that's how bad she is.




LJ: Joan looks really good. I wish I had that dress. Also, later in the episode, Peggy's wearing a similar look to Joan's. I feel like that's a conscious choice to link them together.

LIZ: I was so excited 'cause I thought Joan was finally going to have friends. But she's not. Joan isn't ever allowed to have friends.





LJ: I love Ed. I was really hoping this would lead things in a romantic direction for Peggy and Ed.

LIZ: But he said "Call me."

LJ: But I thought it was like, "Call me about a job at McCann."

LIZ: I thought it was like, "Call me, let's go out."

LJ: Maybe he was like, "Whatever, I'll take what I can get. I'm Ed."

LIZ: I feel like he's from right now. But it doesn't bother me like it usually bothers me when people seem like they're from right now.

LJ: He would kill it right now. He would clean up.





LJ: Who do you hate more? Ferg or Jim Hobart?

LIZ: I hate them both so much. I'm really grossed out by the way Jim Hobart moves around.

LJ: Ferg's shoulders are just a bit much for me.

LIZ: They're both completely disgusting. I guess Jim Hobart is more evil.

LJ: Ferg is more aggressively disgusting. But he's also more handsome. I'd rather make out with Ferg than Jim Hobart.

LIZ: I don't ever want to make out with Ferg!

LJ: But you have to!

LIZ: No!


30.4.15

Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "Time & Life"




BY LIZ & LJ

LJ: I watched this episode of Mad Men while lying in bed at 5 in the evening, or afternoon, depending on what time you think the afternoon ends; personally, I believe it ends at four. 4:30 PM is an afternoon/evening limbo, and then the evening officially begins at 5, which is a really ugly time of day to find yourself lying in bed, lighting-wise and everything-wise. I was eating this really intense yogurt parfait. One of the ingredients in the yogurt parfait was- no jokes- passionfruit jam. I was worried that the wildness of my parfait was going to distract me from Mad Men, but then it didn't, and then I started worrying about the opposite problem, that I was missing out on the full experience of enjoying my parfait because it was obvious from the get-go that this instant classic of a Mad Men ep would demand my full attention. I looked down at my suddenly illicit-seeming parfait like "Should I even be doing this????" But in the end, "Time & Life" and a wildly intense yogurt parfait revealed themselves to be an instant classic of a pairing, just like a bottle of Kenny Cosgrove's beloved Chateaux Margaux '53 with a rack of lamb and gratin dauphinois. 



I'm so ambivalent about Kenny Cosgrove's relationship with Chateaux Margaux '53... said a nerd. There's a thing on the Chateaux Margaux website where you can scroll through every vintage of Chateaux Margaux and some poor soul has written a snazzy little paragraph about what it was like. Great wine research, Matthew Weiner! Chateaux Margaux Dot Com affirms that '53 was indeed one of the estate's all-time greatest vintages; "it expresses," it reads, "in a particularly perfect way, the genius of its terroir." I initially read "particularly perfect" as "perfectly perfect," which is a way cooler way to describe the genius of its terroir in my opinion.

At first I was really into the idea of Kenny being a wine nerd, but then I thought harder about it and was like "How pedestrian!"- Kenny's not a wine nerd, he's just a rich dude. His favourite wine is the greatest vintage of the most famous wine from the most famous appellation in the world. Boooooorrrrrrriiiiiiinggggg. Y'all know Ted Chaough would be able to wow you with an absolutely stunning ten-pound bottle of some weird, like, Friuliano, and don't even get me started on how nuanced Stan Rizzo's hypothetical taste in Scotch whiskey must be. 

Sorry to brag, but I was a really early adopter of "having a crush on Kenny Cosgrove." I was into Ken Cosgrove before most non-losers who aren't obsessed with Mad Men even registered that he was a character on the showBack when he was, like, the Mathis of his day. But I get the impression that tonight's Ken Cosgrove is probably the last you or I will ever see of Ken Cosgrove, and to tell you the truth I am OVER IT. He's all yours, girls! If any of you still want him after he said "I'll have a snort" (in reference to the bottle of Chateaux Margeaux that Rodge & Pete were plying him with in the middle of the whole Sterling Cooper West to-do, 19:26 in, in case you want to hear it for yourselves). His delivery makes him sound like he's named Snort. An unpopular Muppet Show semi-regular named Snort, or maybe The Snort. Maybe The Snort could be a guest star on Scout's Honor



Speaking of Muppets: guess who else is a Muppet? Only this time, not a gross snort-Muppet, but rather a lovable, adorable, Letrasetting, New World Sauvignon Blanc-drinking, enthusiastic-about-"Ortho Pharmaceuticals"-style regular Muppet, like Grover? 

Well, obviously, it's Ted. I think the picture of Ted was probably the giveaway here. 

I was writing down a list of things I think Ted looks like now that he has a long, droopy, caterpillar-y mustache, and I landed on a tie between "baseball dad" and "frowny muppet." Maybe, like, "Frowny Muppet eating a hot dog, which he calls a 'red-hot,' at his Muppet son's little-league game." Yeah, probs that.



Would you have a look at these two bros? They cool. This cozy-ass Don-and-Ted scene was one of my favorites from this entire gorgeous, brilliant artistic achievement of a Mad Men episode- it's Don at his personal warmest- absolutely emanating warm, familiar, mulled cider and s'mores at a bonfire on the beach vibes. He's even sweeter than he was when he let all the little kids and stage moms auditioning for Stan and Peggy's Play-Doh or whatever commercial out of the elevator first, because that's how much he loves Ted Chaough. He loves Ted so cutely much! I feel like Don's deepest opinion about Ted goes something like: "I'm so happy that, out of all us craphead guys like Roger and me and Harry Crane and et cetera, he got to be the one naturally good guy in this whole godforsaken ad game of ours." It's a point of pride for him, I think, his being down with Ted. 

PS: Don't forget how Ted adorably describes his new girlfriend as being: "Not too young, gorgeous, a little bit deep." 



Ted also wins my Mad Men Outfit Of The Week prize this week, just barely edging out Shirley & "We should put a bell on you"-era Meredith in this Muppety little muted autumnal earth tone little number he's sporting while Joan and Roger have a sexy secret moment I only know about from doing this screen cap, and Don ineffectually tells his officeful of Sesame Street-looking insubordinates that "This is the beginning of something, not the end." But it's it's 1970 now, and in 1970 the office looks like Sesame Street and no one gives a SHIT about Don's knack for public speaking. Ted's just like, "Where's the baseball game at?" Pete, I think, is mostly feeling uncomfortable about the fit of his suit which, I think we can all admit, is off. He's trying his best to give a shit about the McCann announcement, but in his heart he's just like, "Is everything sorted with my waistcoat right now? It's so short!" 



Ugh, how unappealing was it when Jim Hobart slowly enunciated "CO-CA CO-LA" at Don in the boardroom? Also, isn't it pathetic how I know Jim Hobart's name? I feel like anytime I ever fuck up my job, like, my actual job-job, my boss should be like, "Laura, you know Jim Hobart's name, but you don't know this?" and I'll be like, "Shit, yeah, good point," and genuinely be motivated to perform better. So: shout-outs to you, my boss, if it turns out you're secretly reading this! I won't think you're weird for bringing this up next time I forget how to do something terribly simple, which will probably be tomorrow. Sorry I'm using up all my brain-energy on Jim Hobart. 

Anyway, don't you think it's symbolic how Jim Hobart was like "Pop some champagne!" but then they just ended up drinking shitty beer? That's my cool sommelier's analysis of Mad Men. I liked when Joan said "Don't be a baby, I'll see you tomorrow," to Roger. That's going to be my new sign-off, with everyone. 



Ay-yi-yi! Holler at these two sexy-ass babes. Stan's not Mad Man of the Week this week, but I still want to shout him out for saying "How the hell did that turn into that?" about Peggy's fight with the stage mom- it was like the 1970 equivalent of when people in Tumblr posts say "THAT escalated quickly." Mad Man of the Week this week goes to a tie between Peggy Olson and Sekor Laxatives. Sorry, I'm just so obsessed with how Sekor Laxatives are in every episode of Mad Men ever. They're so creepily loyal to Sterling Cooper! Like, get a new agency, guys! It's the seventies. Holler at Janus and McWhatever like Dow Chemicals or whatever. 

My favorite trait in Peggy Olson has always been her severe lack of professionalism. Once, a thousand years ago, Liz and I wrote a blog post for our old blog called If Mad Men Were Beatles, and we suggested that Peggy Olson was both the George Harrison and the Linda McCartney of Mad Men, but this is no longer relevant. Now, in 2015, and 1970, Ted Chaough is George, and Dawn Chambers is Linda. Don Draper's not in the Beatles, because he's a square old dud (not dude- dud), and Peggy's John Lennon. Joan's Paul. Mad Men is a fucking feminist classic. 



Peggy is Mad Man of the Week for every reason a Mad Man could ever be Mad Man of the Week. I'm probably just going to give Mad Man of the Week to Peggy for the remaining three episodes of Mad Men on principle, but this time I am awarding her primarily for her "Just like a man does" speech, which has made me cry three times so far (twice while watching it the two times I watched the episode, and another time on my bus ride home last night, just because), for being able to access an eloquent and acerbic retort to every point that arose during Peggy v. Stage Mom, and, most importantly, for understanding that the only possible response to the statement "You're right" is "I know."  

Don't be a baby, I'll see you tomorrow-
Laura Jane. 



LIZ: When Joan got up from the table at the bar, I could feel it in my chest. It was this nice, slow, warm kind of hurt, like anytime I've ever sat around a bar or a kitchen table or a living room with a bunch of people I love, and someone's moving away very soon and this is our last hurrah, and all you want is for the night to go on forever and for a little while it feels like it really might - but then that first person gets up to leave, and your heart just sinks, because it's all over now baby blue...or something like that. In that Joan moment I could feel all the SCP dudes just wanting her to stay and stay, and it was sweet, heartbreaking, perfect, awful. But I'm glad she was the first person to break away. I'm glad she's the one who's most immediately got somewhere else to be.


I'm guessing this is Joanie and Don's last together-moment, for us. I was worried that Mad Men was going to end with things being all weirdsies between the two of them, but no, they're totally fine, they love each other. Speaking of goodbyes: I'm sad we'll most likely never see Kenny again, but he really went out with a bang. Also, when I read what LJ wrote about Snort, I laughed so much that I choked on my Diet Coke in a way that made Diet Coke go up my nose. It was extremely painful! And 10,000 percent worth it. Ever since watching the show Sunday night I'd been so curious as to what LJ's "snort opinions" might be, and boy were they more than I ever could've hoped for.





Look at these two. They're so sweaty, greasy, disheveled, red-faced, ridiculous. The cigarette-lighting and the kiss were so romantic and no I don't mean "bromantic." Two beaten-down-by-life dudes drunk on beer on some stupid night like Tuesday, rambling about women and their own stupid lives in some bar, looking fantastic and loving the hell out of each other: that's romance, to me.



Don's "Marie Calvet reaction shot" was cool too, and inspired me watch "Don Draper Says What" for the first time in a couple years. My current review of "Don Draper Says What" is it's still better than 98 percent of all other videos on YouTube, though I now find its jokiness a little off-putting. Don Draper's confusion - and performed confusion - is deep and heavy and no laughing matter.



And I just loved all those shots of everyone all lined up, how it's so blatantly Matthew Weiner taunting us all, like: "Get a good long look at these beautiful babes, 'cause in one month's time they're GONE LIKE THE WIND." That's so cheap of Matthew Weiner, and also so generous. Way to contain multitudes, man.




Nice Paul-esque side-eye there, Joan. I'm sure it's a moment of Joan tacitly acknowledging her cool new Paul status by referencing the part in A Hard Day's Night when we first meet Paul's grandfather and John says "He can talk then, can he?" and Paul replies "Of course he can talk, he's a human being, isn't he?" and Ringo says "Well if he's your grandfather who knows HAHAHAHA" and Paul pulls that fantastic bitchface. You know what I mean.


This was a nice "callback" or whatever the hell to the scene in season 1 when Pete tells Peggy his elaborate fantasy of going hunting and killing some animal and bringing it home and having "this woman" cook the animal up in a cast-iron skillet and then watch him eat it. I wonder how Peggy feels about Pete now - is she like What was I thinking?, or is there still some residual affection happening there? I hope it's the latter. I really just want everyone to be secretly in love with each other forever.


But more importantly: Stan and Peggy are going to get together now, right? I don't know much about this stuff, but it seems to me that if you've got a thing going with someone where sometimes you call each other and stay on the line even as you're doing other things just for the comfort of knowing the other person's there, you should probably hold onto him/her for as long as you can. Or at least make out with them a little! And then move away to California, or maybe to London. Wherever your heart might call you to.

P.S. There's a moment in the bit after the whole Suzy thumb-stapling debacle when Stan and Peggy get back to work and Stan does this amazing hair flip. It occurs at precisely 30:21. Someone please make me a gif of that, so that I can text it whenever I need to express mild annoyance but a general willingness to carry on with the situation at hand. A gif like that would be so useful to me.


I really like how this bit was shot like that part toward the end of Grease where Principal McGee's addressing the graduating students over the intercom ("Among you young men, there may be a Joe DiMaggio, a President Eisenhower - or even a Vice President Nixon!"), and as she speaks the camera closes in on each character getting all starry-eyed about his or her dream future. In the above screencap Ted Chaough looks exactly like that T-Bird guy being stoked on the possibility of becoming the next Nixon, and I'm truly so happy for him.

But overall, yeah: passionately agree with LJ about Jim Hobart's disgusting enunciation of the words "Coca-Cola." In her Grantland recap Molly Lambert said how she had to run right out right and get herself a Coke after that - but I had the opposite reaction, and decided to never consume another Coca-Cola product again as long as I live (which obviously I lied about, since I'm drinking a Diet Coke right now). Really I just want to spite Jim Hobart, for leaving Joan out of his lame-o wannabe-Grease-principal speech. I don't really have anything to say to make that all better right now, so instead I'll just send out some good Joan vibes with this oldie but goodie, my #1 fave "aspirational selfie" of all time: 


23.4.15

Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "The Forecast"




BY LIZ & LJ

LJ: Oh cool, a new character! Yup, I'm talking about this schmo: 


Wow! I just spent such a long time mulling over whether to refer to this grosso as an "ugmo" or a "schmo"; I really thought "ugmo" was going to take it, but then "schmo" crept in and triumphed in the end. Good for you, "schmo." You earned this.

Anyway, I hate this guy. I was being 1000% sarcastic when I said "Oh cool, a new character"- In case you missed last week's instalment of Our Weekly Mad Men Column, I came up with this thing where my Final Season of Mad Men Motto is "NO NEW CHARACTERS!" This week, I have slightly amended my motto to feature the all-caps and an exclamation point. It's a very passionate topic for me. 

What's this guy's name again? I'm about 80% sure it's "Richard," but I'm not even going to bother checking, because I don't want to dignify him by putting any effort into admitting he exists. I watched "The Forecast" for the second time while drinking a weird Chilean Riesling at 2 AM last night, and in the "Richard(?)" section of my notes, I wrote down: "Sexy yogurt commercial voice," and then there's an arrow pointing to the word "yogurt," and next to it I've written "Trying to make yogurt seem decadent." What I mean to say is: he sounds like the voiceover from a commercial for 30-calorie cartons of key lime pie or cherry aspartame cheesecake-flavored yogurt that the yogurt manufacturer is trying to brainwash women into believing will satisfy their craving for an actual good dessert. The other major thing his voice reminds me of is the cartoon lizard named "Rango." I have never seen the movie Rango, and understand that the real Rango was voiced by Johnny Depp; I'm merely suggesting that if they ever decide to make a straight-to-video Rango sequel, this actor would be a good choice for taking over as the voice actor. I should be his agent. 

I found it a little upsetting that Matthew Weiner thinks this is the kind of guy Joan should go for. A yogurt-voiced sixty-year-old with an ascot and a pale blue polyester jacket, a chunky bronze ring and an even chunkier I.D. bracelet. Barf. While I recognise that different people have different tastes in things and accept the fact that yeah, no kidding, Joan and I would definitely go after different sorts of men- I still think that just because you're the kind of person who wouldn't be revolted by a leathery-skinned real estate developer who says "free as a bird," it doesn't mean that you're dying to end up with him. 


That being said, Joan really killed it all episode. Clearly, the "I'm choosing my son over you" monologue was her shining star, but I also really loved "Must be real radicals to prefer low-income housing to a golf course," to which her ugmo boyfriend replied, "Who's side are you on?"- ew. Not yours. The one thing the ugmo boyfriend did that I liked was when Joan was on the phone with her aggressively-bespectacled babysitter (whose Buddy Holly glasses did not match her flowy hippie caftan and jeans), and he wandered over to the ice bucket and said "Ice! That's the sign of a good hotel" or whatever. I don't know, I thought that was kind of a cool point. 


Pegs spent a lot of this episode fuming. Just storming through the SC&P office, gritting her teeth and seething. I guess she never went to Paris with Stevie. Or maybe she did, and it was just that unexceptional. I liked this little outfit of hers. It reminded me of saltwater taffy. 
   
However, this week my Mad Men Outfit Of The Week (a new Mad Men sweepstakes I just invented) award goes to... Sally little's brown number! (first runner-up is Joan's sparkly blue thing. Dead last goes to a tie between every single the schmo wore)


I was pretty into Don this week. He was really Sterling Cooper-ing it up. You know? He is fully back into the having a job swing of things. He goes on his introspective little "The Forecast"-y adventure with himself, but for the most part, he's just a guy at work, doing the job an organisation is paying him to do. He faces a couple management challenges, deals with them generally effectively, looks out a window, uses a Dictaphone- classic "Don in the office" behavior.

I feel like he's secretly thrilled that his personal life's a failure, as it gives him an excuse to throw 100% of his energy back into his work. I love how, more than anything, Mad Men is a show about a bunch of people who use work to distract themselves from how profoundly they hate their lives. 




Ted Chaough took ten million years to awkwardly rip off a chunk of donut using only one hand and it made me want to sing him the "Even when I'm with my boo, boy you know I'm crazy about you" part from "Dilemma" by Nelly & Kelly Rowland. And of course by "with my boo" I mean "lying in bed with my boyfriend watching this week's episode of Mad Men on my MacBook Air." 


This episode made me nostalgic for when Glen used to be a fat little baby who looked like Matthew Friedberger. At this point, everybody in the world knows that Glen is played by Matthew Weiner's son, Marten Weiner, but what we don't talk about enough is how weird it is that Matthew Weiner chose to spell his son Martin's name as Marten, like a pine marten. Is it a pine marten reference? Also, Marten Weiner is sometimes credited as Marten Holden Weiner- of course Matthew Weiner is the kind of guy who would name one of his kids after Holden Caulfield. Sometimes, when people I went to high school appear on Facebook cuddling their new babies named Holden, I want to high-five and low-five JD Salinger so hard for being a recluse all his life. You should see the kind of basics who are naming their kids Holden these days! 


Betty Draper is Mad Man of the Week this week. Everything she said and did was really chill and classy and sensible. My favourite part of the entire episode was when Sally freaked out about Glen going to Vietnam and then Betty smoothed the whole thing out by coolly telling him, "Don't let this mar your afternoon." I loved "Don't let this mar your afternoon" so much! It was such a mature thing to say. I feel like, if I were Glen or Glen's girlfriend, it would have really helped me move on with my day. I would have had a grand old time at Playland after all.

I love how sweetly happy Betty looks every time she tells someone she's going back to school, I love her for being affiliated with January Jones' incredibly-loveable Instagram account, and I love her for resisting the urge to make out with Glen, which would have been the worst choice in the world. She is a fully-grown Betty. She is in full bloom.  


LIZ: Joanie is so excited about her French toast! At first when she ordered the skim milk, grapefruit, and pot of coffee I was all, "REALLY????" But then she just went for it - she's in California, with her beautiful nightgown and frilly sleep mask, and that pretty pink get-up. But yeah, I agree with everything LJ said about Sad-Yogurt Voice. He dresses like Mr. Furley. Except Mr. Furley is somehow way more chill, what with his not yelling at women about their life choices in hotel rooms and all. 


Is that a beer? Is Don just walking around the office, drinking a beer? That's a cool move. Also: Roger's boots! I don't care about the Gettysburg Address or the Bahamas, although I suppose I'm vaguely curious as to the frothy tropical cocktails Roger's going to drink there.


As soon as the doorbell rang at the Francis house I said to myself, "THAT BETTER NOT BE WHO I THINK IT IS." But of course it was Glen Bishop. I mean who else could it ever possibly be, really. And in the end it was 78% worth Glen Bishop showing up, for that moment when he's in the kitchen with Betty and tells her, "Everything was peaches and cream." It's very original to use the expression "peaches and cream" and somehow make it all foreboding.


Sally's room is adorable, but does she really have no posters on the wall? Isn't she, like, 16? Or 17? Maybe Betty doesn't let her hang posters; maybe that's why her room's so cleanly decorated. But I'm dying to know what Sally's into these days, music-wise. One of my favorite albums that came out in 1970 is Fun House by the Stooges and while I realize it's way too soon for Sally to get into all that, hopefully at some point she'll have a cool little Iggy phase. When The Idiot comes out she'll be in her mid-20s, and I think the Bowie-ness of that record will suit her quite nicely. She'll look so great, boredly smoking while "Sister Midnight" plays at some crazy party in Alphabet City.


All I have to say about this moment is (1) Sally looks so tough, throwing shade, and (2) I think Don and Sally are going to be okay. Even if he's oozy and embarrassing, he keeps it pretty real with her, and that counts a lot.


I agree that Ted Chaough is so beautiful with his donut. He looks so calm and totally okay with his life. I don't relate to getting all moony-eyed as I gaze off into the distance, dreaming about landing a pharmaceutical company, but I do appreciate his cool pointing. My friend Paul was recently teasing me about how apparently I often point as a means of accentuating something I've just said, and my hope is that my pointing is very Ted Chaough-esque in its chill intensity.


And I'm posting the vending machine shot again, because of course I am. On Twitter LJ's buddy Matt asked the very important question "what did Don Draper buy from the vending machine?", and I've been thinking about that a lot. My guess is Don went with the Baby Ruth, because Baby Ruth seems...I don't know, manly? Because of baseball? Although Clark Bars and 100 Grands are both pretty classic and no-bullshit, just like our old pal Don. And no way he went for the Butterfinger or Jujy Fruits; those both get stuck in your teeth, and Don Draper ain't got time for that. Mike and Ikes are useless and I refuse to dignify their existence, and "Snik Snaks" are way too cutesy, and I really hope that Don didn't get himself a Hershey's bar and then go hide in his office and brood about prostitutes. I feel like he's beyond that now. He's getting his act together, in his own elegantly sloppy, Don Draper-y way.

So either the Baby Ruth, the Clark Bar, the 100 Grand, or the M&Ms - if only so he can do that dumb thing of shaking the M&Ms out into his palm and then tossing each one into his mouth with lots of showboaty flair, and somehow make it all look hot.


Another confusing moment about this scene: what was that look that Don gave Peggy and Pete as they each huffed off in opposite directions? Was it something like, "Huh - did those two...secretly conceive a child at some point?" Or maybe it was, "God, I'm really gonna miss these guys when Mad Men's over in four weeks and none of us works here anymore." But most likely it was to keep with the whole "Forecast" theme of Don Draper being left standing alone in hallways or bus stations while everyone else moves on with his/her life. Whatever, I don't feel bad for him. This probably has lots to do with my being a pathological optimist, but I'm generally of the opinion that Don Draper's going to work everything out and be fine forever. Like he said: he's got imagination.