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Darrel Manson

Mad Men

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Cool to see Alexis Bledel on the show tonight.

By the way, does anyone else remember Jessica Pare from Jack & Bobby?


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I think the basic reason I can't get fully invested in Mad Men, while I completely am with Breaking Bad--and they are similar series in many ways--is that BB is about people fighting for their lives, and MM is about people fighting for their comfort.

Oh, MAD MEN isn't about people fighting for their comfort. It's about people searching for that thing, that little bit that makes existence worth it, and as such, this is a spiritual show, even if people aren't looking for answers in explicitly "spiritual" places. I'd go as far as to say that MAD MEN is a depiction of the spiritual crisis of the New America.

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Oh, MAD MEN isn't about people fighting for their comfort. It's about people searching for that thing, that little bit that makes existence worth it, and as such, this is a spiritual show, even if people aren't looking for answers in explicitly "spiritual" places. I'd go as far as to say that MAD MEN is a depiction of the spiritual crisis of the New America.

Well said, Ryan. As I wrote in my top 25 road movies essay, Don Draper has a good bit of Binx Boling in him.

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I think the basic reason I can't get fully invested in Mad Men, while I completely am with Breaking Bad--and they are similar series in many ways--is that BB is about people fighting for their lives, and MM is about people fighting for their comfort.

Oh, MAD MEN isn't about people fighting for their comfort. It's about people searching for that thing, that little bit that makes existence worth it, and as such, this is a spiritual show, even if people aren't looking for answers in explicitly "spiritual" places. I'd go as far as to say that MAD MEN is a depiction of the spiritual crisis of the New America.

Yeah, I get that, but at the same time, the show tries my patience for rich, successful people complaining about how hard their lives are. The point I was getting at is that if Don/Roger/Pete lost their jobs, they would still be pretty much okay, whereas Walter White really wouldn't. I see him as being consumed by his work to the point that there isn't anything of him left outside of it. I suppose you could argue that Don, etc, depend on their jobs as well, but the stakes don't seem as high to me.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I think the basic reason I can't get fully invested in Mad Men, while I completely am with Breaking Bad--and they are similar series in many ways--is that BB is about people fighting for their lives, and MM is about people fighting for their comfort.

Oh, MAD MEN isn't about people fighting for their comfort. It's about people searching for that thing, that little bit that makes existence worth it, and as such, this is a spiritual show, even if people aren't looking for answers in explicitly "spiritual" places. I'd go as far as to say that MAD MEN is a depiction of the spiritual crisis of the New America.

Yeah, I get that, but at the same time, the show tries my patience for rich, successful people complaining about how hard their lives are. The point I was getting at is that if Don/Roger/Pete lost their jobs, they would still be pretty much okay, whereas Walter White really wouldn't. I see him as being consumed by his work to the point that there isn't anything of him left outside of it. I suppose you could argue that Don, etc, depend on their jobs as well, but the stakes don't seem as high to me.

Would they really be "pretty much okay?" They may not be in danger of dying or starving or being killed by the Mexican cartels, but what Ryan is getting at is that MAD MEN is about characters for whom, like many of us here, the meaning of life is not a zero sum game of win or die. "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?"

I don't mean that to belittle BREAKING BAD, as I go back and forth which show I prefer. But the storytelling in this past season has been masterful. More satisfying than any movie I've watched in a long time.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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This season has been good, definitely, but I don't think it's been perfect. The Roger-LSD, Betty-fat, Pete-affair storylines didn't quite work (or haven't yet, at least), and the whole horror episode ("Mystery Date") felt off to me. As the focus gets deeper on the three lead characters (Don, Peggy, Pete), they seem to have run out of ideas for some of the tertiary characters.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I've resisted the "such-and-such will kill themselves" rumblings with MAD MEN for quite some time (I don't think it's in keeping with the show's M.O.), but I do think they have manuevered Pete Campbell into the perfect position if they did want to take the show that route. He's so depressed that he's acting in deeply desperate, frightening ways. He made that off-hand comment about his insurance policy covering suicide, and an earlier episode established that the gun from how many seasons ago is still in his office. Just sayin'. Of course, it's entirely possible that Pete could consider suicide without going through with it.

I'm retracting my previous theory that SCDP will break up. Given how the season has progressed, that doesn't seem to fit to me. But this season is nevertheless packed with forboding and desperation.

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What did you all think of Alexis Bledel as Pete's lust interest? Casting her was the first note all season that has felt totally wrong to me, but I'm wondering if that's because I've watched too many episodes of Gilmore Girls.

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What did you all think of Alexis Bledel as Pete's lust interest? Casting her was the first note all season that has felt totally wrong to me, but I'm wondering if that's because I've watched too many episodes of Gilmore Girls.

I don't know. I couldn't get GILMORE GIRLS out of my head, so there was some dissonance there, and I didn't love her delivery of her lines. But something about the casting worked for me, in that I wholly believed in her as an object of obsession for Pete Campbell.

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Hey all. I'm just joining the conversation, but I love MAD MEN.

Re: the sense of a "spiritual crisis" (an essentially modern one) that these characters are going through--totally agree.

This was the subject of an essay I wrote at the end of season 4: "The Suicide of Character in Mad Men."

And near the end of last week I also posted a column on season 5 thus far. Great season so far, for sure.


"What is inside is also outside." -Goethe via Merleau-Ponty, in conclusion to the latter's one extended rumination on film
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Is it a coincidence Mad Men aired an episode titled "Dark Shadows" the weekend the Depp/Burton movie came out?


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Is it a coincidence Mad Men aired an episode titled "Dark Shadows" the weekend the Depp/Burton movie came out?

Nope. No more than it was a coincidence that Megan criticizes the TV show during the episode.

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I think this most recent episode was probably the weakest of the season. Felt a bit like filler--all the episode does, really, is emphasize things the other episodes have already told us--and it didn't all come together as beautifully as many of the preceding chapters. But there were good, smaller moments here and there, even if the episode on the whole didn't provide us with anything especially vivid or enlightening.

Edited by Ryan H.

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A Paul Kinsey episode?

I liked it. I always wanted to know what happened to Paul, given his dabbling in the counter culture.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I dug the episode too. I wasn't sure about the Hari-Krishna element, but I like where they ended up taking it.

I'll be interested to see whether MAD MEN takes Joan and Don where this episode hinted they might be going. It seems a bit obvious, but there's overwhelming sexual tension there...

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I think last night's episode was easily the best of the season, and maybe of the series.

Also, there's more to what happened at Megan's audition than what we saw, right? I feel like the whole episode pointed toward that.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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RE: last night's episode

I thought Lane's death was as much an admission the show didn't really know what to do with him as anything. All of his moments this season felt out of context and were just there to telegraph his end. Don's reaction to the situation was good, though.

The best moment of the episode might be Betty's smile when she held Sally on the bed. Betty clearly saw it as proof she had won her daughter back from Megan and Don. It was the best (only good?) moment January Jones has had this season.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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RE: last night's episode

I thought Lane's death was as much an admission the show didn't really know what to do with him as anything. All of his moments this season felt out of context and were just there to telegraph his end. Don's reaction to the situation was good, though.

The best moment of the episode might be Betty's smile when she held Sally on the bed. Betty clearly saw it as proof she had won her daughter back from Megan and Don. It was the best (only good?) moment January Jones has had this season.

I see your point.

I figured Lane was a goner as soon as he forged the cheque occured. (My wife can verify). A man who can't ask others for help with money is not the sort who is going to rebound from the much more massive humiliation that comes when it is revealed.

Quite the episode that makes me very uncomfortable (in a good way) about what's going to happen in the finale next week.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Well, I think we can now properly begin to interpret the title of next week's episode.

I thought the development, whatever else we might say about it, worked as an extension of Lane's character. If you look back at some of the stuff in season four, you get a glimpse at stuff that really seems to lead into last night's episode.

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Well, I think we can now properly begin to interpret the title of next week's episode.

Yeah, seems pretty obvious now.

thephantom.jpg


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Finally all caught up--and wow...I'm still in shock. Even though I'd come across a few spoilers, I really didn't see things moving in the direction that they did. No real complaints, but

part of me wishes they hadn't shown us Lane's body. Maybe it was the right decision on the creative team's part, but it felt like too much in the moment. I would have preferred if they'd cut the scene at the moment when Don, Roger, and Pete break into his office

. Still, I think I can understand why they didn't. Very excited (and a little scared) about next week's finale.

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