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kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I feel like you could spend years unpacking this one episode, there's so much going on

One small thing, I love how awkward Megan is in general. Blurting out "Cynthia!" here and "Don's divorced!" with Heinz, plus her time having to deal with the absurdity of being Don's secretary. It feels authentic though, like it's not a stereotype or she's comic relief or something.

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kalel
Jun 19, 2012



sending you all my energy Jerusalem. deadlines are lame imho

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



It's interesting how Peggy has tried to fill the void created by Don. She really does, possibly unconsciously, attempt to become him: she abuses clients and coworkers like Don, she naps and goes to the movies like Don, she uses work to push away loved ones like Don, she's even physically intimate with non-S.O.'s like Don! But in each of these cases, the show makes a point of demonstrating why she can't be him, even if she wants to. She can't yell at clients and get away with it because she's not a man. She can't treat her coworkers like trash because she does really value them and they open up to her when they're vulnerable (Stan tells her about his photography anxiety, Michael tells her about his upbringing and his beliefs about himself). She might get into fights with her S.O. but she allows herself to be vulnerable and emotionally honest (a lesson Don is just on the verge of grasping). She jerks a random guy off in a theatre... uh yeah actually that was kind of weird. But she was high as balls so *waves hands dismissively*

The wonderful irony is that Peggy can't be Don because she isn't a broken mess of a human being.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



The structure of the episode is fine as a one-off, especially keeping in mind roomtone's comments about Don and Roger's storylines being better uninterrupted. it's sort of reminiscent of s3e7 "seven twenty three" which opens with three disconnected shots of three characters (Peggy, Betty and Don) in media res before showing how those characters got into those situations.

Tangentially, one thing I appreciate about Mad Men is the way things like dreams, hallucinations and trips are portrayed (Roger's trip, Betty's dreams/hallucinations in labor in s3, Don's visions of/hallucinatory conversations with his father in s3). Very rarely do they attempt camera tricks or too-clever editing—they're always diagetic. Makes these experiences feel a lot more emotionally honest.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



JethroMcB posted:

Here's the issue of Life Roger was flipping through.

The sole user review is quite something.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Love this episode!

I don't think Roger actually attended or bet on the 1919 World Series (doesn't really line up age-wise), he just sees the event itself as symbolic of his inherited wealth. He has realized that his upbringing (the game, so to speak) was rigged in his favor, and when the jig was up and Lucky Strike left, he lost his sense of self-worth. Now that he's realized that fact, he's choosing to be proactive instead of resting on his laurels and pouting.

We've watched this character stumble through relationships for over five seasons, the whole time utterly unaware of himself and blind to his own shortcomings. As eyeroll-worthy as it is to see a man of such enormous privilege talk about simple emotional truths like he's the first one to have discovered them, it's very gratifying to see this manchild finally gain some measure of self-awareness, even if it was at the hands of a drug-induced dissociative experience.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



The only story I can remember off the top of my head is when he tells Peggy about the time he jumped off a cruiser into the water with his shipmates. This is in one of the latter episodes of the final season. I never got the sense he held high ranking position of command, if any. If he ever mentioned a ship going off course I would assume he used the informal "we"

kalel fucked around with this message at 01:06 on Nov 2, 2021

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



small tangent

Jerusalem posted:

She leaves, Emile looking pained himself, so he is happy when Bobby curiously asks if he has to give people shots and he gets to explain that he is a professor, not a medical doctor. Don adds as he returns to his seat that anybody with a high degree in a field is called a doctor, absentmindedly noting it's from the middle ages. Emile nods and agrees, seemingly impressed in spite of himself that Don doesn't just ape social niceties but appears to have educated himself as well.... curiously, THAT he seems to appreciate.

I always interpreted "it's from the middle ages" as Don belittling Emile's station, as if to imply that calling people in non-medical fields "doctors" is an antiquated practice. at least that's how Emile seems to regard the comment based on the body language and tone of his response.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Jerusalem posted:

I had to stop writing for a bit because I was laughing too much at this scene:

https://i.imgur.com/bpmfrYm.mp4

:allears:

Lmao

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



There's a lot of fun moments in this one

- I love the shot right before Pete begins to trick Howard into inviting him home for dinner. There's Pete's plastered-on smile; then Howard leans forward to place his things on the ground, his head obscuring Pete's face; and when Howard leans back again, Pete's expression has completely changed to one of ugly, seething revulsion. It's a great visual demonstration of one of Pete's core character traits: the interplay between obvious facade and the rotten emotional core beneath it.

- I really appreciate the extremely diplomatic answer Ken gives when asked to give his thoughts on one of the formulations of Cool Whip: "Can't imagine it getting any better than this!"

- Don's face and his frozen mid-lighting-up position when the assistant tells him not to smoke is priceless

Also, Don's comment "don't cook in bare feet" weirdly calls back to Anna Draper's excuse for having a broken foot before Stephanie told her the truth, though I'm not sure the significance of it (unless this is just something people say that I'm not aware of?)

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



JethroMcB posted:

I wish we were getting more of Pete's professional life to contrast it to how consistently sweaty Ken is in his.

"I am so thirsty!"

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Ungratek posted:

Mad Men was never a subtle show, but the smog outside the apartment representing Betty just always seemed too much to me.

what, the smiling blue whale with bloody harpoons sticking out drawn by her son didn't do it for you?

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



This episode is full of great quotes and one-liners, but nothing beats Rich Sommer's monotone delivery of "Are you kidding me." after being told of Paul's scheme and being handed the script.

A few historical notes: "Prahbupad" in this episode in fact refers to Srila Prabhupada, aka A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the very founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He came to America in 1965, founded ISKCON and established a temple in NYC in 1966, then another in San Francisco in 1967. So the timeline does line up for Paul to have discovered, and spent some time within, the movement.

Additionally, Paul's script is based on an actual spec script that was supposedly in consideration but never filmed. "According to an interview with DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) in David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek, one proposed mission would have involved McCoy and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) beaming down to a planet where the inhabitants viewed Uhura as a slave-owner and McCoy her slave."

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Didn't really notice until now how the show has been subtlety putting Don and Joan into a few scenes together for the past few episodes: Don asking Joan how to let Megan go, then Joan reviewing Clio submissions with Don, and finally this episode with their commiserating at the bar. Notice the numerous cuts to Joan during Don's speech. A little bit of clever writing and editing to really set the stage for the next episode and some of their interactions in Season 6.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



thinking about it more, Joan accidentally(?) gets right to the heart of Don's inner conflict with her line about wanting. Don is trying to convince Joan (as a way to convince himself) that he doesn't know what he wants—and implicitly, as a result, he doesn't have to assume responsibility for his actions if he's just following his desires blindly. (This also ties a bit into the American Hurrah stuff; "people buy things because they want to feel good" means that consumers are blameless—it makes it sound like the natural course of things.) and yet Joan (as Don's conscience) insists that he knows what he wants and it's exactly what he's afraid of. is it worse to not know what you want, or to know exactly what you want and be unable to change because "it's just the way you are?" the whole conversation is a thinly-veiled discussion about the nature of faithfulness and desire. Not only does it suggest the connection between infidelity and jaguars for the next episode, it's very portentious of the very last scene of the season—Don knows who he is, and he hates himself for it.

hopefully that made sense. it's four in the morning and I'm thinkin bout those mad mens

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



so what you're saying is (Evangelion movie spoilers ahead)

he needs to go the Anti Universe and fight Archibald in a giant mech?

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Jerusalem posted:

:stare:

I.... I want to punch Pete Campbell in the mouth. His smarmy little mouth. Jesus Christ.

JESUS CHRIST.

Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Yeah this episode is monumental. It feels very much like a season finale... and yet, there's two whole episodes left in the season.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



quote:

She starts smartly by agreeing with Rick that he's right, before pushing Harry's idea about targeting women anyway but making it seem like a natural follow-up to Rick feeling the ad has run its course: they can change the target easily.

Now Rick is interested, not realizing she's effectively ignored his earlier question to Harry, asking how they'd do that. They does put Peggy on the spot, and she sits pondering, quietly mouthing ideas to herself as Harry and Ken stare hoping that she'll pull a rabbit out of a hat... and she does. She suggests they run the ad the same as before with the man in the leather jacket being chased by screaming girls, but this time instead of running into a bar full of more sex-hungry women... he runs into Lady Godiva on a horse? Warming to her own idea, she suggests they make their Godiva as nude as television will allow, and have her haul the now love-struck man up onto her horse and ride him away to safety. The tagline? "The right woman loves Chevalier Blanc."

this scene is basically this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vWqnKhQhUM

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I keep writing and rewriting posts about this episode and it gets bigger and more complex every time. I could write 500 words for each and every scene in this episode easy. you can't even write about one scene in isolation because everything connects to everything else so organically

imo, Megan's audition scene is one of the most important scenes of the episode (let alone the season as a whole) yet it's so easily overlooked with how tectonic the rest of the episode's plot beats are. It's kind of a surprising inclusion in the episode at first, because most of her acting journey thus far has been depicted through conversation with Don; we've only actually seen her lying on the floor of a stage that one time when Don's listening to the Beatles record. So her audition scene starts directly after Joan's night with Herb, and for a moment it's like, "wait, where are we? Why are we seeing this?" And then it just kind of ends abruptly. And then you realize, oh, Megan's situation is being juxtaposed with Joan's. And then you consider the actors themselves, and then you realize that Jessica Paré (and by extension, Christina Hendricks) probably went through similar treatment during their careers. In fact, their looks probably informed their casting for this very show. Consider also Julia's scene in this episode: while talking about portraying the Jaguar for the commercial, she crawls on the table like a cat while the camera is pointed straight at Meghan Bradley's rear end. The character is an actress portraying a piece of meat for the consumption of the male gaze, and the actress of the character is portrayed as a piece of meat for the consumption of the male gaze. The writers are depicting men being complicit in the exploitation of women's bodies for monetary gain... while drawing attention to the fact that the show itself engages in this kind of behavior. It's brilliant writing that begs deep critical analysis of the show's themes, but what's remarkable is how innocuously the show aligns the pieces together: Megan and Joan, two characters who are so loosely connected* in the plot, their arcs coming together so suddenly through simple editing to suggest a profound thesis statement about our relationship with women in media.

*yet it is significant, if perhaps coincidental, that it is Joan who first addresses Megan by name—and thus introduces her to the audience—way back in the first episode of season 4.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



We're really zooming to the finish line now! I guess work slowed up Jerusalem?

(I'm not complaining :D)

kalel fucked around with this message at 16:21 on Dec 1, 2021

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



This episode is a real gut punch. Suicide is difficult to address in television in a way that feels honest; I think the show did a very good job being completely naked and unafraid in its portrayal of the psychological path one undergoes towards ending one's own life.

On a lighter note, I never get tired of Roger's line about Baxter being a "wax figurine." I wonder how Ray Wise feels about that line...

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Blood Nightmaster posted:

the only thing I didn't really care for in s6 was Sylvia, looking back. Like Don having another affair made sense from a narrative perspective but she had to be one of the least interesting people he'd been with IMO

her being completely whatever might be part of the point. Don is just reaching out for something, anything to hold on to to keep himself from falling into the gaping maw of his own security. which makes man with a plan and the crash back-to-back in the middle of the season so painful to watch

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



quote:

What follows is an incredible scene, one in which Jared Harris as Lane Pryce runs the gamut of emotions, as he races through each of the five stage of grief in shockingly quick order.

Speaking of the five stages of grief, I want to rewind slightly and point out Hamm's incredible performance during the final scene of the last episode.



Denial.



Anger.



Bargaining.



Depression.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I'll have you know my "sweaty desperate man" is quite convincing

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I suspect the retrospective on this season will be a doozy.

"Love is a stranger" by itself is a curiously ambiguous phrase. It could mean that love is completely absent from your life, or perhaps that love is present but you're unaware of it. It could also mean that "love" comes to one in the form of a stranger, through a chance meeting or a one night stand. We hear Nancy Sinatra sing the phrase as we see Pete and Don's faces; for all of their differences, they share the feeling that something is wrong with their lives— perhaps even that something is wrong with themselves—and they fill the void with work, with extramarital affairs, with alcohol, with miniature orchestras. They're a sad pair, more alike than either of them could know.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Lady Radia posted:

mad men is not a subtle TV show

I think mad men is very subtle in a lot of ways, but I also have a terminal case of the brick brain so I'm not the best judge of that sort of thing lol

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I've altered my opinion slightly, mad men is subtle in its themes but it is not subtle in its character interactions, if that makes sense. What the characters feel about themselves and about each other should be pretty obvious from scene to scene, but how those interactions fit together in the larger tapestry and what you're supposed to take away from it is very much left up to the viewer

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



On the subject of whether or not the show is subtle, here's a clickbait article about season 1 "Mad Men: 9 Things From Season 1 That Haven’t Aged Well" (note, light spoilers for seasons yet to be covered for some of the characters mentioned). I couldn't believe number 8!

quote:

Don Immediately Forgiving Roger

When Draper's boss, Roger Sterling, feels lonely after a long workday, he pesters his employee into a night on the town. His behavior escalates, his words slur, and they end up back at the Drapers.

After dinner, in the kitchen, Sterling gropes Betty while Don is out of sight. When Don returns to the room, he's aware that something has happened, but his anger is directed solely at Betty. Even the next day, when Sterling comes clean, Don shrugs it off like it's nothing. The words spoken and the actions taken are in line with the show as a whole, but that doesn't make it easier to watch in the 2020s.

if you remember the plot of the episode you'll know this is a baffling interpretation of events. This is what people mean when they say it's a subtle show.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012




:lmao: :laffo:

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



great write up jerusalem.

I love the conversation Peggy and Don have in the last episode. the interesting thing for the audience that Peggy probably isn't aware of is that Don is also talking about Megan when he says, "That's what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on." He's expressing not just his sorrow at losing Peggy, but his fear that what happened to her will parallel what could happen to Megan if Don helps her—and what could happen to his perception of her. Which makes Peggy's response heartbreaking: "don't you want them to?" He does, because he wants her to be happy, but he also doesn't, because in his mind it would mean she won't need him anymore. For Don, there are a lot of parallels between these two women.

Also, it's interesting to see Pete demonstrate such self-awareness in his conversation with Beth in the hospital. He knows he isn't happy, and he feels trapped in his own life. Again, the similarities between Pete and Don are apparent.

kalel fucked around with this message at 05:44 on Dec 16, 2021

kalel
Jun 19, 2012




Dependency appears to be something Don finds necessary in relationships with women. He controlled Betty and treated her like a child; he took care of Anna financially until she died; he discovered Peggy and made her his protege—and workhorse. He deliberately sought out lovers with an independent streak, the women you can't have, as if to gain control over them somehow*.

But now, each and every one of these women is gone, and he blames himself for it. And now, with Megan, he sees her leaving as inevitable—either she succeeds, becomes independent, and doesn't need him anymore, or she doesn't succeed, grows to resent him, and leaves. So, if she's going to leave anyway, why not help her? And, too, if the relationship is doomed anyway, why not seek other women? He has a perfect fairy tale happily ever after with a beautiful wife radiating pure love.... and he turns and walks away. It's necessary for him to create the truth he's already decided about himself. "Even though success is a reality, its effects are temporary." "Happiness is the moment before you need more happiness." Don walks into the darkness and starts to look for The Next Thing, because he "knows" that it's just a matter of time before Megan leaves him, like every woman in his life before her.

(*This need for dependency and control will come up again in season 6 when we get a better look at how the women in Don's childhood robbed him of his agency.)

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Deepak doprah

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Jerusalem posted:

some other threads I run regularly elsewhere

do you have a list? would like 2 post in more Jerusalem threads

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



this is the first part of a two-parter so some of the questions it poses will be answered directly in the next episode

quote:

Rosen remarks that this is quite a spread, unaware of course than until recently EVERYBODY was crammed onto this floor and there was barely any room. Don actually seems uncharacteristically nervous, still somewhat in awe of the surgeon he saw save the life of their doorman right in front of him, nervously offering him coffee before leading him on to the supply closet.

Don's demeanor here reminds me strongly of a tween boy on his first date, except in reverse, because while he is very confident around women, he is utterly incompetent when it comes to making a friend he didn't meet through work. It's so adorable :3:

quote:

Dawn arrives looking for Dawn, but seems momentarily at a loss when she sees Dr. Rosen, who is quick to shake her hand and introduce himself. She explains that the photographers are waiting for Don in his office (which is why he was in the lounge to be see by Rosen in the first place), apologizing to Rosen that she didn't know he was coming. Don is quick to explain it's just a visit by a friend and not business, but something... seems weird? Dawn's reaction is far more than simply a secretary caught by surprise by her boss having a meeting she didn't know about, and though Rosen introduced himself it kind of felt like she already knew him? Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into this?

My read here is that Dawn is caught off-guard by the fact that Rosen isn't an account. Don doesn't really have friends, so there's no protocol for how she ought to behave in this situation, so she has to think for a second about how to proceed

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



it's because of the incredibly dumb and pointless in media res opener + the strange intercut of timelines in the scene where Don and Megan return to new York and greet Ray Abruzzi's character ten minutes later. I refuse to believe a human being cut this episode thinking that bit was good unless they were being mind controlled by an AMC exec

plus Christopher Stanley's weirdly muted reaction to Betty's horrifying remarks. her rape joke is shocking to the viewer who has gone without mad men for a year and is watching the opener for the first time, but it would be a lot more palatable if an audience surrogate could react with equal shock. again this is a problem that's easily fixed in the edit, just insert a hold on Henry's face while Betty goes into lurid detail.

however, this episode also gives us beard Stan. in short "the doorway" is a land of contrasts

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I also feel like the scene where Sandy and Betty talk in the kitchen is way too long. Sandy's character in general seems to have a disproportionate amount of screentime in relation to what her character contributes to the show. It seems her only purpose narratively is to get Betty to be jealous and to realize that young hobos exist. Sandy is given the introduction and initial screentime of an important recurring character but she disappears from the show and from every character's memory after the end of the next episode. maybe Jerusalem will give his thoughts about the character next time but next time will be his only opportunity lol

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



kalel posted:

again this is a problem that's easily fixed in the edit, just insert a hold on Henry's face while Betty goes into lurid detail

I'm showing my rear end because I quickly checked and there is a quick cut like this, but Henry looks, I don't know, amused-shocked? I feel like a detailed rape fantasy joke should evoke a stronger emotional reaction, and his reaction should be the focal point of the scene. If it really is a case where Henry is used to it I'd really like a little more context in the moment to establish that

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



that's only true for the men however. Joan and Peggy continue to look fabulous

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



ram dass in hell posted:

not to open up pandora's box or anything here but isn't it kind of a spoiler that pete survives to s7e1? given the shock of lane's suicide and how much of a shitbag pete is despite having a wife and kid idk ??

it's avoidable, but for the kind of show mad men is, I don't think it's a big problem. everyone's barometer on this issue is slightly different but I think as long as people aren't spoiling major plot events e.g. Lane's death or upcoming changes to the company, it's fine to talk about certain major characters in the future tense sparingly

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kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Bob freaking sucks!!!!!

Jerusalem posted:

Yeah, thanks for the link but I'll wait till I'm done. I'm so close to the end now and I've succeeded beyond my wildest dreams in avoiding spoilers, so I don't want to take any risks :)

spoiler alert: mad men... is good

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