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


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: 


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


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.


Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "New Business"

LJ: Who cares about Pima? Who cares about Diana? Who cares about "Marie-France"? Why is Matthew Weiner doing this to me? Does he not realise how little time I have left to experience the precious experience of finding out new news about my best friends in the world Don, Pete, Roger, Peggy, and Joan? Why is wasting my valuable Don, Pete, Roger, Peggy, and Joan time on losers like Pima? I hate Pima! Did any of you not hate Pima? Were any of you not taken aback by the intense ugliness of her vest, fat tie, and waistchain (Wait- is it called a waistchain? What is that weird-ass piece of jewellery even called? (Just kidding- Please never tell me. It's irrelevant.))? Is Pima going to be a recurring character? I can't decide which is worse: Pima being on the show again and having to continue learning information about her, or Pima never being on the show again and being forced to come to terms with how deeply Matthew Weiner wasted my time by having her on the show this time. My least favorite Pima moment was definitely when she asked Peggy if she'd ever been married and Pegs said no and then Pima was like "Me neither- ah, the adventures I would have missed" and you're just like "OKAY Pima, we get it, you've obviously fucked a billion people and are probably the world's foremost expert on, like, arrondisements. And no, I don't want to hear about the time you went to Copenhagen with Gertrude Stein." 

I'm pretty whatevs about Diana, but she's fine compared to Pima. She had some pretty cool lines at the beginning of the ep, before she got all ham-fistedly nouveau-Dick Whitman on us. I thought it was hot when Don asked her if she wanted a drink and she said "I'm already drunk" completely non-sloppily. I had really high hopes for Diana, at that moment. I was like, "Oooh, Diana, you're such a Don!" But as soon as her whole "second life in Racine" thing was revealed, I lost my ability to feel in any way invested in her storyline. No new characters! That's my final season of Mad Men motto. It's the me watching Mad Men equivalent of when people on the Internet say "No new friends."  

loved Don this episode! My old friend Don. He was so strangely sweet, and I nearly died (don't worry, just of cuteness) when he told Diana "I'm just pleased you're not cross." I'm just pleased you're not crossIt's a pretty normal thing for a British person to say, an old British person that is (but I guess just a regular-aged British person, back in 1970), and I think it would sound phony if 99.99999infinity% of North Americans said it, but somehow Don Draper managed to be the ONE American guy who could pull it off. Speaking of British people- is anyone else pissed about how Mad Men has thus far neglected to mention the Beatles' recent break-up? Probably not. Probably only Liz and I. But still! How hard would it have been for them to throw that little tidbit of information into some minor scene? Just make, like, Mathis say it. Or Ed! As far as tertiary characters from the copywriting department go, I'm only really into Ed. Remember how cute it was when he asked Peggy "I want you to be honest- should I let my hair grow out?" and then she ignored him? I say: "Sure, Ed!" I could definitely go for some new "Ed's hair" material to write about. He's the lone exception to my "No new Mad friends" rule. 

Today I decided that, from now on, I'm going to end my installments of Our Weekly Mad Men Column by appointing the Mad Men character who did the best job of being loveable to me my "Mad Man Of The Week." This week's first runner-up for Mad Man Of The Week was Marie Calvet, for being a general badass re: the whole selling all Don's furniture deal (Cool move, dude! Seriously cool move) and for saying "Let her go cry in church" about her losery daughter Marie-France, who in retrospect might have brought even less to the Mad Men table than Pima, and certainly gave Pima a run for her money in the Stupidest Name Of The Week contest I've secretly been running in my head this whole time (In the end, Pima took the cake. Stevie won last week; historically, Duck Phillips has won a lot too). But this week, the ultimate Mad Man Of The Week prize goes to...

Pete! For "Jiminy Christmas" and for cigarette-shaming Don, for "You're going to rent pants?" and for replying to Don's too cool for school "I'll throw my tie over my shoulder and roll up my sleeves- they'll love it" with a scathing "They probably will," and storming out of the office in the Pete Campbelliest huff that Pete Campbell ever Pete Campbelled. I'm so grateful for how Pete Campbell is always there to remind me that I'm not the only person in the world who JUST CAN'T WIN. He's the Patron Saint of the Down-on-their-Luck, which, when you think about it, is a very noble thing to be.

PS: Can you believe that Sekor Laxatives is still around? It BLEW MY MIND when Sekor (Sekor? C-Kor, Seeckor... whatever) Laxatives came up in that Roger, Caroline and Shirley scene. Seriously! SC&P have managed to hang onto that account since Season One! Amazing work, whoever's account that is! (Probably Pete.) 

LIZ: How do we feel about Stan's girlfriend? I wasn't totally on board until Pima started talking shit about Elaine being "overdeveloped" and unworthy, and then I instantly went full-on TEAM ELAINE. I'm glad she's a nurse, and one of those nurses who's constantly in her nursing uniform, like Terri on Three's Company. When Stan Rizzo has his Mad Men spinoff set in Venice Beach, she and Terri can be nurse friends, and Stan and Jack Tripper will be such deep bros. I've also decided that when Venice Stan goes to the taco stand he gets a minimum of five tacos, and at least one is something adventurous like buche. Stan Rizzo's got "adventurous eater" written all over him.

I also like the Richard Prince-y vibes of Elaine's nurseness. If Elaine were a Richard Prince painting, she'd be Second-Chance Nurse:

But overall I agree with LJ on "no new characters." Really the only Diana-related thing that interested me in this episode was when she first came over to Don's place and he did that thing of pressing his nose into the crown of her head. Such a weirdly intimate expression of affection, for someone you've spent a total of about 17 minutes with. In that moment I felt the easiest kinship I've felt with Don Draper since that day in the beginning of the seventh season when he was eating a candy bar and drinking a Coke at the same time. Sometimes Don is just some weird kid who wants things to be sweet.

Megan is constantly drinking white wine in the middle of the day! This is by far the best thing about Megan. Look at the size of that bottle. I also liked when she told her sister: "It's a sin to be a ghoul." It's rare to work a word like "ghoul" into conversation and actually make a fairly insightful point. Thanks to Megan Draper and dictionary.com, I now know that one definition of "ghoul" is "a person who revels in what is revolting." 

Sally's room is so great, but - where on god's green earth is Sally? I heard somewhere that some of the remaining Mad Men episodes are going to be longer than usual, so hopefully next week will be like six hours of hanging out with Sally at boarding school, listening to Melanie or Simon & Garfunkel or Carpenters records, sneaking cigarettes, reading this weird issue of Teen magazine, ideally with zero Glen Bishop presence (sorry, I've got a high Glen Bishop tolerance, but I don't wanna waste my remaining Mad Men time on him either).

I'm always curious as to what Don's opinion on the art department's "Work Smarter Not Harder" poster might be. I'm guessing it's maybe similar to my feeling about that Cheryl Strayed "Write Like a Motherfucker" mug, which I find both cute and vaguely distasteful in its cuteness. Something in me just bristles at the notion of cutesifying what should be internalized, and I'm pretty sure that old nose-kiss Don Draper would side with me on that.

I also agree that Pete Campbell is the best person in the world. I love how fat he is now. I mean really he's not even remotely fat, but he's definitely a bit puffed up, worlds away from Chip-n'-Dip-era Pete. And I'm dying to know what song's playing in his car during the driving scene: some site called TuneFind.com says it's "The Train" by The Souls, but I can't dig up any other evidence of that song existing. I've tried listening closely to the Pete's-radio song, but to me all it really sounds like is Foxygen. It actually probably is Foxygen. Pete Campbell's always been way ahead of the curve.


Our Weekly Mad Men Column: Liz & LJ on "Severance"


LJ: So! Here we are! It's finally happened for us. It's April of 2015! Mad Men is ending, I moved to England, and I'm turning thirty in June. My life, for so long, has been focused on my own fanatic desire to find out the answer to the question: "What will my life be like when Mad Men is ending, I'm about to turn thirty, and I live in England?" Now I know! The answer is: "Pretty cool, m8." But also pretty boring, since that's just life's style. Even Mad Men is kind of boring! You know? Mad Men season premieres are the most boring episodes of Mad Men around. I'm always a little bit let down by them, and then I pretend I'm less let down by them than I actually am since I'm such a passionate Mad Men lover and I feel guilty speaking a single word against it. The first episode airs and the texts from all my Mad Men friends start rolling in, and I'm all "Yeah! Roger Sterling's mustache! Oh my God! So crazy!" but it's not that crazy, guys, is it? It's a pretty natural progression, for Roger.

Something I like is that Roger and Ted Chaough are the two characters they chose to give cool 1970s mustaches to. Imagine if three seasons ago someone was like "What is the major characteristic that Roger Sterling and Ted Chaough have in common?" You would have been like "I'm stumped." But now it's April of 2015, and we're all like fifty billion years old, and the answer is "A mustache." So cool how now we're all so wise. I love it about myself. This wisdom. 

I just realized in the middle of writing this post that you can't screen-cap episodes of Mad Men you downloaded off iTunes, which has really screwed over my ability to represent my Mad Men opinions perfectly. I just looked up "Ted Chaough mustache" on Google and found a bunch of GIFs from a Buzzfeed post entitled "We need to talk about those epic mustaches on Mad Men," which I disagree with. I don't think we need to talk about "those epic mustaches on Mad Men" anymore, or ever again really. Let's just accept that they exist, and then move on. But don't worry guys!!! I am more than okay with talking about the big reveal of the night... 

Ken's eye. 

Ken's eye. Ken's eye! "Seeing Ken's eye" was the most exciting that happened on this week's episode of Mad Men by far. I think so much about Ken's eye. I guess it's gone, huh? The eye itself, I mean. The eyeball. I guess his weird, wet, purplish, fluttery eyelid is covering up a big ol' socketful of NOTHING. Nada. I'm glad to finally find out the truth about Ken's eye, as I was unclear about what was up with Ken's eye for all of last season. (the truth is: he has no eye). I liked when his wife said "You gave them your eye!"- so few situations exist where that could be an appropriate sentence to say! I don't understand why Ken is so chill about having his eye blown out of his skull and now only having one eye forever. I get that he's supposed to be a relatively happy-go-lucky character, but losing an eye? I, personally, have an extremely minor eye disorder called Dry Eye Syndrome, and I freak out about it, like, once a day

Here's Don. Don and I got off to a good start in this episode- I thought it was really cool and impressive how he was telling his bevy of hot babes and best pal Rodge a hilarious anecdote about his whorehouse past. If I were Don's therapist, I would be really proud of him him for doing that. I think it was the most psychologically healthy thing I've ever seen Don do. That, tied with the time he went swimming and wrote in a notebook. 

After that "breakthrough," things went downhill for Don and I. He mostly bored me. When he went to Rachel Menken's shiva his eyes looked like two pinpricks, like a cartoon character's eyes, like two pools of pure black. That was interesting to me. 

I can tell that this is going to be one of those seasons of Mad Men where I relate to Peggy Olson A LOT. I just started a new job that I care about, so I've got a bit of an "I've got something to prove" mindset going on. When it comes to our behaviour in the workplace, Peggy Olson and I share a similar approach to constantly undermining our own excellence: so tense! I feel like it would be cliche to use the word "defensive" here. 

I think Peggy's biggest problem here was that she was drinking red wine- at an Italian restaurant in 1970, so it must have been Chianti. Peggy Olson's not a Chianti drinker, that's just obvious. If I could do anything in the world with Peggy Olson, I'd play her the new Courtney Barnett record and we'd share a bottle of white Burgundy. I hope she goes to London instead of Paris. She'd like it here. How repressed people are. 

Stan, of course, was the real star of this episode for me. I like how Stan just pops up for about thirty seconds per episode to be SO FUCKING CHILL and have THE RIGHT IDEA ABOUT EVERYTHING and wear nope not one but TWO smashing pieces of turquoise jewellery in "Severence"'s case. This was my favorite scene of the episode, when Peggy's being the hugest downer ever and wearing a crumpled orange vest and skirt combo as her dumpy hangover outfit, telling her cool confidante <3Stan<3 about her barely-embarrassing post-drunk France predicament and his body language is so breezy, so involved, and he says "Sounds like fun!" in such an easy, honest way, and his voice is like a grizzly bear speaking- okay, I just decided that my ultimate Mad Men outcome is for Peggy and Stan to end up together, and I want Stan to be the guy she goes to London not Paris with. Stan would love London! He'd feel so at home at a pub with "Arms" in the name. 

LIZ: I'm so happy Peggy Olson's in love with Brian Krakow now! It completely makes up for him never winning over Angela Chase. And he looks so good, with his vastly more managed hair. I love how awkwardly he rubs his palms together in that "Let's eat! Mangiamo!" gesture when their food arrives. And I'm proud of Peggy for bouncing back from the whole debacle with the lasagna and the veal, and from "Stevie"'s weirdly bitchy handling of all that. I worry that, if placed in the same situation, I would've gone all "Uh-oh, weak-willed. MAYDAY, MAYDAY!" But Peggy does that nice little pivot. She's so grown up now. She's really come a long way from "So...you drive a truck." So here's Stevie in Mr. Katimski's class, making cool points about how Peggy Olson's eyes are nothing like the sun:

But for me the star of the show was absolutely Kenny. I love his PJs and how he leaves them unbuttoned to reveal his cute belly and surprisingly abundant chest hair! I love his spitty delivery of the words "Ferg's feelings" in the meeting with Ferg and Roger. I love that little "Hmph!" sound he makes after Don walks away from the phone booth. I think it's so funny how he's already thought about how cool he'd look on a book jacket. Also, he's probably the best dad in the world, or at least on Mad Men. Second-best is Don - who's really trying with Sally and who will forever be one of my all-time favorite fictional dads because of that time he called Gene "honey" in season 4 - and at the bottom of the barrel is Pete. I love the hell out of Pete Campbell, but his reading of Goodnight Moon to Tammy in season 5 was so goddamn creepy. Although I do give him snaps for bringing it all back around later in that episode, when he's fighting with Trudy about hating Cos Cob and shouts "There's no goodnight noises anywhere!" Maybe Pete really is a writer.

But yeah, in addition to the eye comment, I thought Jennifer's telling Ken he should write "something sad and sweet for all the people who don't have the guts to live their dream" was pretty bizarro. But also kind of on-point. Maybe that's what I'll say to people from now on, when they ask me what I'm writing.

God, Joanie's retail therapy sesh was so depressing. Though I did appreciate how "I can wear that with boots" was the deciding factor on one of the dresses. All I want for the end of Mad Men is for (1) Joan and Don to be cool, (2) Joan and Peggy to be cool, (3) Joan to get everything she wants for the rest of her life and never have to deal with smug slimy losery sleazebags ever again.

The scene with Don and Rachel Menken's sister really got to me. The whole I-hate-you-but-I-get-why-my-sister-loved-you dynamic is so beautifully played. Also I just really love it when Don Draper cries. I never not cry when Don Draper cries.

A few more points:

-Stoked that Don's back in his old office. And it's nice how he put Lane's Mets pennant up on the wall.

-Oh my god, when the Topaz guy calls Harry "Mr. Potato Head," and then in the next shot Harry looks exactly like Mr. Potato Head: genius! Love a good Mad Men sight gag.

-Is Ted Chaough divorced? Is that why he's allowed to have Don over to his apartment to pre-game the Vogue party? Super-curious. I even wrote in my notebook "Ted Chaough: divorced?", my second time watching this episode.

-I like Elizabeth Reaser. When she was on True Detective for three seconds, I was still holding a grudge against her for being in the terrible and hateful movie Young Adult. I'm over it now. She should break out of the "boring/adoring wife/girlfriend" role more often.

-And I had to include my own Stan screencap because (1) Stan Rizzo all the time forever and (2) I wanted to show off his cool mood ring. I love how in each season Stan Rizzo becomes more and more groovy and further and further away from his obnoxious, boxy-bodied frat-boy-nudist self of season 4. Let's have a spinoff where Stan Rizzo goes away to California like he always wanted, and lives in Venice on the boardwalk and drinks beer in beach bars all the time, and gets a cool bartender girlfriend, smartly avoiding the whole totally-played-out Laurel Canyon scene. I really wanna know what Stan Rizzo's favorite band is, though my money's on Creedence Clearwater Revival.