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The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

I've been going through the series again. we're a ways out, but I think I've finally decided that the season 6 premiere is the worst episode of the entire series. There are just a lot of odd decisions at many levels. It starts with an in media res that's resolved later with a really jarringly-cut scene, and from there it's really just weirdly structured. The first part mostly focuses on Don and Betty in large discrete chunks and just feels... empty? full of air? Don doesn't even arrive at the office until 30 minutes into the episode, at which point the episode falls into the normal routine of ping-ponging between other characters (in this case, Roger and Peggy). It's like the Marriage of Figaro in reverse, except that episode works for me (unfortunately not for Jerusalem at the time) because Don's uncomfortable demeanor at home underscores his, and the audience's, preference for the excitement of the office. Here it's just unsettling. And speaking of unsettling, I don't think the show realizes how hosed up that rape "joke" Betty makes is. Rant over, I'm sleepy now

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Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



The Klowner posted:

I've been going through the series again. we're a ways out, but I think I've finally decided that the season 6 premiere is the worst episode of the entire series. There are just a lot of odd decisions at many levels. It starts with an in media res that's resolved later with a really jarringly-cut scene, and from there it's really just weirdly structured. The first part mostly focuses on Don and Betty in large discrete chunks and just feels... empty? full of air? Don doesn't even arrive at the office until 30 minutes into the episode, at which point the episode falls into the normal routine of ping-ponging between other characters (in this case, Roger and Peggy). It's like the Marriage of Figaro in reverse, except that episode works for me (unfortunately not for Jerusalem at the time) because Don's uncomfortable demeanor at home underscores his, and the audience's, preference for the excitement of the office. Here it's just unsettling. And speaking of unsettling, I don't think the show realizes how hosed up that rape "joke" Betty makes is. Rant over, I'm sleepy now
Did you watch the second Ep with it, they premiered at the same time on AMC during the first airing

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


The Klowner posted:

And speaking of unsettling, I don't think the show realizes how hosed up that rape "joke" Betty makes is. Rant over, I'm sleepy now

Yo what the gently caress was up with that, I had forgotten about it and had to rewind to make sure I heard correctly. Here's the thing: I don't think it's totally out-of-character for Betty to say that? But it is way out-of-character for Henry to not have a stronger reaction.

Anyhow, I agree that the first hour doesn't gel, but that's also the episode where we meet Bob Benson. So it has that going for it.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

yeah but that first 30 minutes of part 1 is just a slog

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I can say immediately that I have always thought that was the worst episode of the series. It's BORING.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






Yoshi Wins posted:

I think they do a great job taking recognizable conflicts, like trying to get recognition at work, and having them play out in conversations that are more concentrated and more intense than the ones that usually happen in real life. The show has a high degree of emotional verisimilitude, but everything is heightened.


Yeah, I think we see this especially with Anna. He just seems like a normal, decent guy when he's with her. She already knows his secrets and has already forgiven him for the thing he did that affected her. There's nothing to fear.

Rachel Menken loving called it. Past the jmage Don's a coward.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Shageletic posted:

and oh yeah Jerusalem, now that you're onto Season 4, how do you rank Mad men in the great scheme of Shows. Was it better/worse than you expected? You're always so careful in your reviews to not just blurt out your opinion of its quality. Well, not overtly.

We'll see if the quality keeps up but so far it's just a magnificent series. The production values are great, which is a help, and the actors of course are excellent and seem to understand they're part of something special and work hard to live up to that... but the writing is also just great, it nails such distinct characters and doesn't shy away from exposing how deeply flawed they are without getting (so far) cartoonish, even for characters like Paul, and also providing plenty of reminders that they're still human beings who by nature are complex and often contradictory and can't be reduced to simply good or bad.

I'm sure part of that is the pedigree of the crew coming from Sopranos and already having good working relationships, but Weiner (or his producers) also had a remarkable eye for directors: I notice a lot more women writers and directors than I ever saw on Sopranos, and I wonder how much that helped in creating some well-rounded (and similarly complex) female characters. Before I saw the show I used to hear a lot about how female characters were just there for eye-candy while the show reveled too much in the early 60s mentality of "women are just there for our enjoyment), and now watching the show I can't believe how anybody could really take such a surface level reading from it. Then again I also heard a lot about how Don was an "alpha male" to be emulated and respected and... well I mean.... what?

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Jerusalem posted:

We'll see if the quality keeps up but so far it's just a magnificent series. The production values are great, which is a help, and the actors of course are excellent and seem to understand they're part of something special and work hard to live up to that... but the writing is also just great, it nails such distinct characters and doesn't shy away from exposing how deeply flawed they are without getting (so far) cartoonish, even for characters like Paul, and also providing plenty of reminders that they're still human beings who by nature are complex and often contradictory and can't be reduced to simply good or bad.

I'm sure part of that is the pedigree of the crew coming from Sopranos and already having good working relationships, but Weiner (or his producers) also had a remarkable eye for directors: I notice a lot more women writers and directors than I ever saw on Sopranos, and I wonder how much that helped in creating some well-rounded (and similarly complex) female characters. Before I saw the show I used to hear a lot about how female characters were just there for eye-candy while the show reveled too much in the early 60s mentality of "women are just there for our enjoyment), and now watching the show I can't believe how anybody could really take such a surface level reading from it. Then again I also heard a lot about how Don was an "alpha male" to be emulated and respected and... well I mean.... what?

I started watching it when it was partway through the third season. Like 3/4 of the guys I knew were buying suits and drinking rye because of this Alpha Male Don Draper. I started watching the series to see what all the fuss was about and after the first episode I was really wondering why they were idolizing him. By the end of the first season it was pretty clear that he was badly damaged and pretty pathetic in a lot of ways.

But people also idolized Walter White, so who knows?

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Jon Hamm is a tall, attractive guy with a deep voice who is capable of speaking with an appearance of confidence. Men like to imagine themselves being tall, being attractive, speaking with a deep voice, and appearing confident. I think when people say they want to "be Don Draper," what they really mean is "be Jon Hamm."

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Additionally smoking and drinking have been cool for a really long time, but this was the first show in a while to really play it up. This show (like advertising) told the people who smoke and drink that theyre ok.

Crespolini
Mar 9, 2014



The Klowner posted:

Jon Hamm is a tall, attractive guy with a deep voice who is capable of speaking with an appearance of confidence. Men like to imagine themselves being tall, being attractive, speaking with a deep voice, and appearing confident. I think when people say they want to "be Don Draper," what they really mean is "be Jon Hamm."

Basically. Pointing out the ways in which he's actually weak or insecure inside is missing the point, because that's not part of the fantasy, the image is.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



People idolize Alec Baldwins character in Glengary Glen Ross. Some people even think Donald Trump is strong, rather than a whiny baby. Some people just think acting like an rear end in a top hat means youre the alpha or whatever.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Jerusalem posted:

Before I saw the show I used to hear a lot about how female characters were just there for eye-candy while the show reveled too much in the early 60s mentality of "women are just there for our enjoyment), and now watching the show I can't believe how anybody could really take such a surface level reading from it. Then again I also heard a lot about how Don was an "alpha male" to be emulated and respected and... well I mean.... what?

Staggering. Maybe they were working exclusively off of early season 1, when Betty's still kind of a cipher and they hadn't anticipated Christina Hendricks giving Joan such a presence that she would become a major character, so she's mainly just a snippy foil for Peggy in a tight dress?

The Klowner posted:

Jon Hamm is a tall, attractive guy with a deep voice who is capable of speaking with an appearance of confidence. Men like to imagine themselves being tall, being attractive, speaking with a deep voice, and appearing confident. I think when people say they want to "be Don Draper," what they really mean is "be Jon Hamm."

So... the fantasy still involves alcohol abuse?

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

I think someone else referenced it previously, but there's a YouTube channel called Charisma on Command that makes heavy use of Don Draper to demonstrate how to project confidence in body language, methods of persuasion, etc. In a vacuum, if you haven't watched the show, I could see the appeal of attempting to emulate Don Draper since he always looks and sounds cool, but in context this advice is pretty laughable with even a passing knowledge of the show. It's pretty surreal, for instance, to watch someone cite the scene where Pete attempts to blackmail Don in S1 as an example of keeping confident under pressure. It's also pretty ironic to use a television show character to give tips on persuasion techniques.

There are a lot of channels that use clips of mad men out of context to push some regressive ideological agenda, but that one's probably the most successful, and it hurts to see it recommended to me... because I did watch the videos in earnest years ago. I don't recommend anyone give this channel any views (especially Jerusalem for spoiler-related reasons).

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

Obscure to all except those well-versed in Yuuzhan Vong lore.


Can someone remind me what Bettys rape joke was?

Infidelicious
Apr 9, 2013


Shimrra Jamaane posted:

Can someone remind me what Bettys rape joke was?

She's weird and Jealous of Sally's talented violinist friend that is sleeping over and accuses Henry of wanting to gently caress her, and suggests they go rape her together and Henry is like "What the Christ, Betty"

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Shimrra Jamaane posted:

Can someone remind me what Bettys rape joke was?

it's not so much a joke so much as Betty accusing Henry of being attracted to a 15 yo girl and graphically describing how they might go about raping her. It's not presented as someone having some kind of mental breakdown, which is what it reads like, but it's framed by the show like an extremely off-color joke and it's very disturbing

quote:

You're so calm from all that violin.

She plays beautifully.

You and Bobby had the same look on your face when she was playing.

She's a year older than Sally. Shame on you.

No one would blame me for leaving you for a teenage musician.

She's just in the next room.

Why don't you go in there and rape her?

-I'll hold her arms down. -Betty, what the hell?

You said you wanted to spice things up.

Will it ruin it if I'm there?

You know what? If you want to be alone with her...

I'll put on my housecoat and take Sally for a ride.

You can stick a rag in her mouth and you won't wake the boys.

All right. All right, Betty.

My goodness. You're blushing.


Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011



the scene in question is at about 3:56 in this clip, although I recommend watching the whole thing for context

The take I had on it was that post-Don Betty has been able to be a lot more open about sex in her marriage and decides to use what happened earlier that day as a really hosed up fantasy to get him in the mood. Like she's going for kinky and takes it twenty steps too far because a) it's rape and b) the girl is Sally's age. Of course it backfires because like Henry says, "What the hell?"

edit: also let's not forget this is in the middle of her sudden weight struggles so there's definitely an element of insecurity/jealousy mixed in there too. Looking back and remembering how she goes to hunt down said girl afterwards in the slums when she bails on college makes me wonder if she felt any remorse for those comments and was overcompensating by trying to "rescue" her. I honestly forget what her real intentions were there, it's been so long

Blood Nightmaster fucked around with this message at 18:00 on May 5, 2021

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

Obscure to all except those well-versed in Yuuzhan Vong lore.


Infidelicious posted:

She's weird and Jealous of Sally's talented violinist friend that is sleeping over and accuses Henry of wanting to gently caress her, and suggests they go rape her together and Henry is like "What the Christ, Betty"

Well, I forgot that happened but now I remember. Yikes

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



Blood Nightmaster posted:

the scene in question is at about 3:56 in this clip, although I recommend watching the whole thing for context

The take I had on it was that post-Don Betty has been able to be a lot more open about sex in her marriage and decides to use what happened earlier that day as a really hosed up fantasy to get him in the mood. Like she's going for kinky and takes it twenty steps too far because a) it's rape and b) the girl is Sally's age. Of course it backfires because like Henry says, "What the hell?"

edit: also let's not forget this is in the middle of her sudden weight struggles so there's definitely an element of insecurity/jealousy mixed in there too. Looking back and remembering how she goes to hunt down said girl afterwards in the slums when she bails on college makes me wonder if she felt any remorse for those comments and was overcompensating by trying to "rescue" her. I honestly forget what her real intentions were there, it's been so long


Betty is obsessed with controlling young women the same way her Mother controlled her.

The scene works pretty well, Season six is by far the darkest season, it's where all the veneer of the previous seasons is stripped away and you see just how incredibly damaged, miserable, and traumatized the whole cast is.
Paralleled well by the Vietnam war really heating up in that period. It's what makes the final Hershey speech so good, Don is finally able to accept his childhood and begin syncretize between his former and new personas.

It's no surprise that the next season is the one where people can finally begin to move past their previous mistakes and trauma and look forward positively to the future. Symbolized by the moon landing and the Finale.

I do think it gets a little muddled with the split season but it's there.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Yeah betty is hosed up, it's weird as hell but not really a joke.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



I never actually thought about it, but Betty was traumatized by watching her mother waste away from illness, then when she gets cancer she chooses to go back to school rather than resign herself to fate like her mom.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Ask the pigeons about Betty OOH WAIT YOU CAN'T

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




The Klowner posted:

I don't recommend anyone give this channel any views (especially Jerusalem for spoiler-related reasons).

I would recommend Jerusalem avoid watching any mad men clips on youtube in general, because I watched a few and now i'm getting recommended clips with massive spoilers in the title

I imagine Jerusalem is aware of how the internet works and is doing this already but just in case, it is a minefield out there

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


For sure, there are some developments you really are best seeing as they arrive.

feedmegin
Jul 30, 2008




JethroMcB posted:

Staggering. Maybe they were working exclusively off of early season 1

I think there's a lot of this, yeah, same as the people who claim the show glamorises adultery. Haters aren't going to watch the whole thing.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






Jerusalem posted:

We'll see if the quality keeps up but so far it's just a magnificent series. The production values are great, which is a help, and the actors of course are excellent and seem to understand they're part of something special and work hard to live up to that... but the writing is also just great, it nails such distinct characters and doesn't shy away from exposing how deeply flawed they are without getting (so far) cartoonish, even for characters like Paul, and also providing plenty of reminders that they're still human beings who by nature are complex and often contradictory and can't be reduced to simply good or bad.

I'm sure part of that is the pedigree of the crew coming from Sopranos and already having good working relationships, but Weiner (or his producers) also had a remarkable eye for directors: I notice a lot more women writers and directors than I ever saw on Sopranos, and I wonder how much that helped in creating some well-rounded (and similarly complex) female characters. Before I saw the show I used to hear a lot about how female characters were just there for eye-candy while the show reveled too much in the early 60s mentality of "women are just there for our enjoyment), and now watching the show I can't believe how anybody could really take such a surface level reading from it. Then again I also heard a lot about how Don was an "alpha male" to be emulated and respected and... well I mean.... what?

The female writers on Mad Men wrote some of my favorite episodes, including a few coming up.

e: also that Don Draper is a MAN stuff kinda died away in the second season or so. That's why its hard to find any MRA bullshit involving Don Draper OWNING stuff that actually incorporates stuff that happens on the show the 3rd season and beyond. Just a weird blip.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

God forbid the Google/Facebook/Amazon/Twitter ad-mind figures out mad men is one of your Interests and tries to recommend or advertise a bunch of spoilery poo poo

feedmegin
Jul 30, 2008




Torquemada posted:

Featherstonehalgh is Fanshawe
Cholmondeley is Chumly
Caius is Keys
Magdalene is Mordlin
We just do this poo poo so we can tell if you belong or not.

No, Magdalen in Oxford is Maudlin. Magdalene in Cambridge is pronounced how you would expect.

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


Shageletic posted:

The female writers on Mad Men wrote some of my favorite episodes, including a few coming up.

e: also that Don Draper is a MAN stuff kinda died away in the second season or so. That's why its hard to find any MRA bullshit involving Don Draper OWNING stuff that actually incorporates stuff that happens on the show the 3rd season and beyond. Just a weird blip.

I know Betty was a pretty frequent target of the "what a bitch" commentors before Breaking Bad took off like a shot and Skylar became the new MRA hate target.

Other then that the men of Mad Men didn't really catch on as role models or heroes like similar shows. The biggest thing I was aware of was people trying to copy the fashion and lifestyle habits.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


feedmegin posted:

No, Magdalen in Oxford is Maudlin. Magdalene in Cambridge is pronounced how you would expect.

Well I mean of course that's just obvious

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Actually if we're talking about mapping bands to mad men, there's The Dear Hunter's concept album series which tells the story of a rural son of a whore who goes to war in a far-off country, steals a dead soldier's identity, and makes a new life for himself in the big city, where despite success he is hounded by his past trauma and attempts to cope by cheating on his significant other and abusing drugs.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Shageletic posted:

e: also that Don Draper is a MAN stuff kinda died away in the second season or so. That's why its hard to find any MRA bullshit involving Don Draper OWNING stuff that actually incorporates stuff that happens on the show the 3rd season and beyond. Just a weird blip.

The period setting of the show does so much heavy-lifting in this sense, too. This show does a better job than any I've seen of depicting social change that feels slow and gradual until you realize it was remarkably fast. I found the characters and setting utterly alien in S1...it felt like no context I'd ever encountered in my own lifetime. Almost nobody behaved quite like people I've known IRL. But by the end, the ways people talked, the general look and feel of society felt so much more familiar and contemporary.

And so much of Don's alpha male shittiness is tied up in that. Like, the only reason he gets away with how he behaves in the early seasons - the intense secrecy, the compartmentalized double life, the infantilizing and authoritative dynamic with his wife, the shocking irresponsibility at work - is because of how sacrosanct white male patriarchy was in 1960. Everyone enables him, even celebrates him, because his lovely behavior is echoed everywhere. Nobody challenges him because they aren't empowered to do so.

One of the best tricks the show pulls off is that society and its values change *around* Don, pecking away at his insulation of male privilege and challenging things that nobody used to question. [S6+] Part of why the later seasons feel so much sadder and more pathetic is that Don tries the same things he always did, things that might've had some glamor to them years before, but by now they've been laid bare as what they always were: Don is a sloppy drunk. His affairs are gross and cruel, and the disrespect he shows his wife is hideous. Yeah, in some ways he's "getting worse," but the only real difference between Rachel Menken and Sylvia Rosen is time and perspective. By the time he's loving Diana Baur in an alley, the spell's totally broken. This guy's not sexy or cool.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Xealot posted:

One of the best tricks the show pulls off is that society and its values change *around* Don, pecking away at his insulation of male privilege and challenging things that nobody used to question. [S6+]

It happens even earlier than S6, Divorced Don is where he really starts to skid. There's an episode, I want to say it's in early S4, where everybody at SCDP is ducking out early for the day for some reason and some of the young copywriters go to check in with Don; they find him passed out on his couch with a drink by his side and somebody mutters "Leave him, he's pathetic." The next generation is already seeing him beyond being the millionaire with the corner office and his name on the door.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Xealot, I agree with all of that except for possibly the part about Diana. I'm not certain we actually disagree about Diana, so I'll elaborate.

While I don't think it was sexy or cool to get involved with her, I also don't think it was a natural progression from his past affairs. He was somehow emotionally drawn to her, recognizing her loneliness and sadness. It really doesn't seem like he's just chasing the high of a new relationship again. Don genuinely turns over a new leaf after the end of season 6 (he's still flawed, of course!), and the brief relationship with Diana is one he wouldn't have been able to have before, not because it's less of a sexy or cool dalliance, but more because Don isn't just pursuing some fantasy.

The thing that's really said about his relationship with Diana is that he wants to help her and he can't.


But yeah, I really agree with a lot of your post, Xealot. I also feel like the people seem so strange in 1960. This aspect of social change in Mad Men is less often discussed than its treatment of feminism, racism, orother political issues. The show also depicts a social trend towards more open communication and takes a favorable stance on it. So much trouble is caused by Don being so closed off. Sometimes I just want to shake the screen and yell at Don, "Talk to the people close to you!"

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

We are Not Amused

A friend of mine wrote an article that was him watching the premier of mad men season 6 without having seen any of what came before. Kinda, what is it like to come into late mad men cold. Then after he wrote his review, I watched the first episode with him. The contrast between the premier and season 6 episode one is what made him watch the rest of the series. He wasn't really interested in it before then, but the question of how the hell you get from season 1 to season 6 was something they wanted to see.

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



pentyne posted:

before Breaking Bad took off like a shot and Skylar became the new MRA hate target.

I recall the OP of every Breaking Bad-thread here even had to put up an explicit warning that calling Skyler a oval office would get you banned, because it was just so constant and incessant.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



KellHound posted:

A friend of mine wrote an article that was him watching the premier of mad men season 6 without having seen any of what came before. Kinda, what is it like to come into late mad men cold. Then after he wrote his review, I watched the first episode with him. The contrast between the premier and season 6 episode one is what made him watch the rest of the series. He wasn't really interested in it before then, but the question of how the hell you get from season 1 to season 6 was something they wanted to see.

I told my mom to watch the series at season five start date. She loving started at one episode in season five before she actually listened to me and went back to EP1, I had her convinced for most of season one that Meghan was also don's wife at the time and his secret was that he was a polygamist

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011



ulvir posted:

I recall the OP of every Breaking Bad-thread here even had to put up an explicit warning that calling Skyler a “oval office” would get you banned, because it was just so constant and incessant.

As somebody who's never seen Breaking Bad I have to ask, why was this opinion so ubiquitous? I don't mind spoilers if it helps contextualize things. I hear it was a great show so I'll probably watch it someday regardless

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ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



Blood Nightmaster posted:

As somebody who's never seen Breaking Bad I have to ask, why was this opinion so ubiquitous? I don't mind spoilers if it helps contextualize things. I hear it was a great show so I'll probably watch it someday regardless

it baffled me even the first time I saw the show, but I think it was because they somehow perceived her to stand in Walts way and hold him back from becoming the next drug kingpin, or something. basically just completely misunderstanding the point entirely, like everyone idolising Draper or Anthony Soprano

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