The Mad Men News So Good It’s My Own Free Sonic Root Beer Float
April 20, 2010

News sources are reporting that the fourth season of Mad Men premiere has been officially confirmed for July 25th.  Added to that, Mad Men‘s utterly brilliant third season?  The DVD set’s going for a mere $17.99 on Amazon, which means we can all stuff our faces silly with Trudy’s scrumptious hats and slices of apple pie with cheddar cheese with Henry Francis and Don and Betty’s spicy meatball of an Italian vacation (oh, and let’s not forget that side of fresh foot), and that’s far more sustaining than yet another order of the General Tso’s.  Even Don Draper agrees:

Seriously, when you’re as starved for some good Mad Men news as I am–particularly in light of Mattthew Weiner’s claims that the next season will probably be no homo and that Mad Men will end after its sixth season–I’m pretty sure this news is my personal enthusiasm equivalent of finding out about free root beer floats at Sonic:

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Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner’s Timely, Responsible Reaction to the Saddest Mad Men News Ever
January 29, 2010

Even though it’s been months since Mad Men killed a piece of my soul, I’ve chosen to remain optimistic about Bryan Batt’s future with the series, but earlier this week TV Guide Magazine reported that Matthew Weiner is keeping Sterling Cooper’s prized gay out to pasture.  Even thinking about it now gives me a serious case of Paul Kinsey face:

Sure, it’s Matthew Weiner’s prerogative to do whatever he wants with Mad Men, and I implicitly trust his decisions as its showrunner, but on the other hand:

I wasn’t ready for Sal’s departure when it first happened, and I’m nowhere near ready to move beyond the denial stage of my Mad Men grief, which looks like this:

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Mad Men Season Three to Hit DVD in March. SQUEEE!s Abound
January 6, 2010

We may have just wrapped up with the holidays, but apparently everyone’s favorite non-denominational winter holiday has put on its best vintage suit with matching fedora, poured itself a late-morning Scotch, lit up a Lucky Strike, and come ridiculously early!  No no, hipsters have not overtaken the nation’s IHOPs for hangover-fueled yet nonetheless ironic feasts of All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes (though you’d better believe they knew All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes before All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes were big).  Rather, AMC’s Mad Men blog has already announced that season three of Mad Men is out on DVD March 23rd!  SQUEEE!

Of course, there’s really only one appropriate reaction to such glorious news:

Given how season two didn’t come out ’til the middle of last July, getting more Mad Men on DVD so soon certainly comes as a surprise, but that’s not a bad surprise.  Just a surprise that’s going to have me breathing into a paper bag for the next several minutes. 

Think I’m overreacting?  Just check out this box art hotness, but make sure you’ve got your own paper bag handy.  ‘Cos, you know, vapors:

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This Week in Irresponsible Mad Men Recaps: Sometimes We Just Want to Break Free
November 9, 2009

Let’s just start off by addressing the moment I’m sure we’ve all been buzzing about from last night’s season finale of Mad Men:

mad men tea set scones

That tea set is gorgeous, and those scones look scrumptious.  If you’re going to let a person know that you’re selling their company after barely a year of ownership, you damn well do it with fine china and tasty pastries.  That’s not good business, y’all.  That’s just good manners.

Anyways, in not-as-exciting-as-scones developments, Sterling and Cooper and Draper voted to start a new ad agency, and Lane Pryce is coming along as well:

sterling cooper draper pryce

Seriously, watching the four of them scramble to get everything lined up for Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe was nearly as delicious as I imagine those scones to be.  Pete in his bathrobe negotiating his role in the new firm and getting Don to acknowledge his talents?  Delightful, and only surpassed by Don’s plea to get Peggy on board as well.  But obviously the best part about the forming of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is the fact that–by episodes end–nearly everything I love in this show is all under one roof:

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It’s a MotherTrucker to Irresponsibly Recap Mad Men in the Face of Historic Tragedy
November 3, 2009

While much of this season, from the utter shock of the John Deere accident to the abject horror of Peggy taking a roll in the hay with Duck Phillips, much of this season of Mad Men has been one surprise after the next; however, one thing that had been foreshadowed from the moment we saw Margaret Sterling’s wedding invitation flash across the screen was John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  Well, it finally happened in this past week’s episode:

mad men jfk assassination tv

While my irresponsible blogging instincts have me inclined to skip all the way past all of this quagmire of historical seriousness and get straight to the matching shoes and dress Trudy was going to wear to Margaret’s wedding before Pete decided he was kaput with Sterling Cooper (seriously, that blue was fabu!), I think the above image really sums up what this past week’s episode was actually about, which was watching television.

Seriously, if we weren’t actually watching archival news footage reporting on JFK’s assassination and the subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald this past, we were likely watching someone watching news coverage.  While Don assured his kids that everything would remain the same, and Joan assured Roger that the world was still turning as usual, the near omnipresence of the television in this past week’s episode served as a reminder of how things really were changing in the 1960s, and how integral a part television (and particular televised news) would play in this cultural shift that has led to our current era of media oversaturation.

There’s something so antiquated yet prescient about being reminded of a time where news didn’t travel by Facebook or 24-hour news network.  Added to that, seeing the phones at Sterling Cooper go dead from the overload was comically surreal in that it was like seeing 1960s version of Twitter go down, but nobody turned to Western Union telegrams to vent their frustration.

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This Week in Irresponsible (and Timely) Mad Men Recaps: Once Upon a Time, When We All Loved Doggy Chow
October 31, 2009

My goodness.  Has it really been nearly a week since this past week’s Mad Men?  Shitfire, y’all, it really has been!  And even though the interwebs have already had a week to give us thoroughly considered and Does that mean this week’s Mad Men won’t be recapped?  Absolutely not!  But does that mean this week’s recap is going to make like a Talking Heads’ concert film and stop making sense?  You’d best believe it!

First things first, serious talk and schadenfreude :

suzanne farrell hahaha

I mean, I hate to sound like an unsympathetic monster, but there was something waaay too satisfying having to watch her walk back home after spending half an evening hunched down in the passenger’s seat of Don’s car.  Seriously, I’d about had enough watching Don and Suzanne wreak havoc on my eyeballs plan their romantic getaway vacation this episode, but fortunately Betty and the kids came back early from their trip to Grandpa Eugene’s house, which brings us to the serious talk:

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This Week in Irresponsible Mad Men Recaps: Where’s My Betty Draper Hysterics?
October 20, 2009

Responsible Mad Men recapping blogs probably try and follow the narrative arch of the episode, and they’d probably delve a little more into the fact that Sterling Cooper is once again up for sale, which makes Lane Pryce sad and his wife very happy.  I am not that blog.  Now let’s do this thing irresponsible style!

So Paul Kinsey was intimidated by Peggy and her keen improvisational skills, and then he got too drunk while working on his Western Union account.  This taught us all the important lesson that you should always write down the brilliant ideas that you have when you’re drunk so you don’t forget them.  If he had written it down, we’d have instead learned the equally important lesson that the brilliant ideas that you have when you’re drunk are never as brilliant in the sober light of day, but that’s neither here nor there.  Anyways, Peggy fortunately used his screw up to save him, and I was I left baffled that telegrams were something people still actually used in 1963.  Also, maybe it’s just me and my love of all things of questionable taste, but Aquanet is doing wonders to Peggy’s hair.  

In other plot lines, Don’s relationship with Suzanne Farrell unfortunately continues to happen:

don draper suzanne farrell do not want

I find this plot to be like the narrative version of Ipecaca, and I blame this largely on the fact that Ms. Farrell hasn’t once seemed interesting enough to warrant such of devotion.  A scene with a Maypole, a drunk dial, and a few lines of straight up crazy is all it takes to have Don Draper all up in your lady business in a serious sort of way?  I’m deeply unimpressed with the both of them.  And the fact that the writers continue this charade.

The lone silver lining to their bumping uglies, though, came in the form of Suzanne’s epileptic brother, Danny, who was helped by Don to do what else?  Pull a Don Draper.  That’s just him being philanthropic by sharing his secret to happiness and success: it comes from running away from the unpleasant parts of your identity.  Or, in Don’s case, all of it.  You may be constantly haunted by your past and incapable of genuine human intimacy, but at least you’ll get signing bonuses and shiny awards at the fortieth anniversary Sterling Cooper parties.  Fair trade, I’d say.

And speaking of fortieth anniversary Sterling Cooper parties, Trudy Campbell’s party ensemble was some kind of wonderful:

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It’s Times Like This That I Question My Commitment to Sparkle Mad Men Motion
October 14, 2009

Oh thank goodness!  A video recap of this past week’s episode of Mad Men that spares me the emotional agony of having to really go into detail with this episode:

It’s not as though this past week’s episode was bad.  Au contraire!  This past week’s episode was quite exceptional.  There were little pleasures to be had, like how Pete Campbell spent the entire scene where Sal was filming the Lucky Strike commercial histrionically coughing up his lungs after some of the Lucky Strike fellows convinced him to try a cigarette.  It may not be this:

But then again, what is?  That’ll do, Pete.  That’ll do.

Then there’s Conrad Hilton, and he is one fantastically crazy old man!  When he’s not thinking of his hotels as missions bringing American values to Godless nations or have a depressive episode, he’s getting ornery over saying that he wants the moon and not literally getting the Moon in his ads.  Damn, y’all, looks like somebody needs his gilded Depends changed, ASAP!

Also, I think it’s safe to say that AMC needs to start making webisodes of Betty Draper writing letters that are set to montages of her doing things in the Draper household.  It was like The Lake House, except without time travel and ugly turtleneck sweaters and general awfulness.  So really it was nothing like The Lake House.  I just enjoy referencing that movie because it was so ridiculous.  And Sandra Bullock’s turtleneck sweater was so ugly.  

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The Mad Men Recap That’s All About That One Scene in Italy
October 5, 2009

A responsible recap for this past week’s episode of Mad Men would go into more detail about all the developments in the plot.  After all, this episode found Pete Campbell home alone while Trudy vacationed with her family, and so he naturally had to take his shirt off in celebration:

Looking good, Pete Campbell.  Sadly, all this free time left him at first helping (how kind!) and then forcing his lovin’ (how gross!) on  his neighbor’s German nanny.  Sure, he’s wormy and pathetic, but I still delight in his ways, but this was a sad new low.

There was also that kiss between Betty and silver fox politico Henry Francis, which was certainly high on the list of Benjamin’s Giddily Anticipated Mad Men Plot Developments.  Then Betty and Don went to Rome to visit Conrad Hilton’s hotel.  Oh, and Sally hit Bobby because she’s a lesbian because Bobby teased her for kissing a neighborhood boy.

Yes, responsible recaps would expand upon such significant plots and use them as opportunities to wax poetic/analytic/philosophic.  This is not that sort of recap, though, and so I give you this video to make sure I didn’t miss any of the important details:

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Mad Men Brings the Sexual Intrigue/Grossness. Oh, and Let’s Not Forget the Chaise Lounges.
October 1, 2009

I think the best way to start this week’s (much belated) Mad Men recap is by appreciating the perfect perfection of this still:

don draper face-plant

Huzzah.  Yes, today’s moment of embarrassment comes as a result of Don make the smart decision of hopping in his car with a tumbler full of whiskey, picking up two seemingly innocent ne’er-do-wells, pops a couple phenobarbitols, has a hallucination of his awesomely white-trash father:

archie whitman awesomely white trash

And then the two kids beat up Don senseless and take his money.  Given his self-destructive recklessnes, Don seems to be an ad man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Perhaps I should muster up some sympathy, but instead I’ll just relish how–as a single image decontextualized from the narrative itself–the Don Draper post-face-plant picture is pure comedy gold.  GOLD!

But it was just Don making bad decisions this episode.  Oh no no no.  Peggy was in the bad decision business as well:

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The Mad Men Super-Gigantic, Three-for-One Recapapalooza
September 22, 2009

Oh man, y’all.  I get a little bit tardy (for the party) with keeping my blog promise, and then Sunday night’s episode happened, which was the usual Mad Men greatness.  Until the end, which was easily the ballsiest (and most utterly insane) television Mad Men has put forth thus far.  I’m tempted to prematurely insist that this episode was a game changer for the show, but I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Before we talk about the crazy, let’s go quickly recap the highs and lows of the past three episodes.  A blog promise is a promise, after all, which means we have to discuss things like jai alai, the sport that Regina George would have a few choice words for if she worked at Sterling Cooper:

regina george jai alai

Maybe it’s the fact that any discussion of sports is inherently a discussion I don’t care about, or maybe it’s just that choosing such an obscure sport felt like an incredibly forced way of depicting Horace as spoiled to the point of delusion, but I was not having the jai alai plot.

Fortunately, when Mad Men tries to get all sporty and butch on me, they give us Sal talking about his vision for the Patio commercial:

Sal gets so excited about Ann-Margret that he starts camping about his bedroom.  Kitty makes a sad-face that is totally heartbreaking.  What’s not to adore about this scene? Oh, that’s right: NOTHING!

Also, behold what happens when Pepsi’s bad-idea ad baby shimmies and shakes its way out of the womb:

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The Mad Men Recap Where the Internet Threatens to Collapse in on Itself
August 31, 2009

As per usual, last night’s Mad Men was par spectacular.  Certain things, like Betty and Don’s ever tumultuous relationship, remained the same.  For example, Dan solves his distaste for Roger Sterling’s blackface performance by making himself an Old Fashioned and cryptically discussing his past with a bartender.  Meanwhile, a silverfox by the name of Henry Francis flirts with Betty at Roger Sterling’s Derby Day party; naturally, she does the only the only polite thing to do if you’re a married, pregnant, and fending off advances from another man: Shoot him the ol’ fuck-me eyes.  That’s just proper social decorum when you think about it, and Joan would probably remind us that Emily Post says so.    They fight when Betty realizes Jane drunkenly reveals that she knew about Betty and Don’s split, Roger gets called out by Don for being a tackyass who flaunts his embarrassing marriage, then Betty and Don hug.  With all that drama, it’s no wonder that Sally turning into a thieving lesbian.

Fortunately Trudy Campbell continued her wearing-the-best-hats streak, and then she and Pete did the Charleston:

My goodness how a dancing Pete Campbell GIF can make everything better.  Right?  Right.

We also discovered that nothing changes the uncomfortable conversation of screwing up a surgery like Joan playing the accordion.  Really, it was amazing, and just another reason to remind us that she’s the World’s Second Greatest Joan.  Her husband is the undeniably the worst, and it’s quite heartbreaking to see her trapped in a marriage that amounts to little more than a case of Stockholm Syndrome that substitutes marital “obligation” for sympathy, but she seems like the character most primed to benefit from The Feminine Mystique (which we all know came out in 1963), so I optimistically suspect that this situation will eventually turn around.  I mean, seriously:

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Peggy Olsen Singing “Bye Bye Birdie” Never Gets Old. EVER.
August 28, 2009

I’m certain that the second people at AMC get wind that this clip is online, embedding will be disabled; and, soon after, copyright laws will have this clip going the way of the dodo, the dinosaur, and my beloved clips from Powder Blue.  Until then, though, let’s all bask in the sublime, almost Lynchian pleasure that is Peggy performing “Bye Bye Birdie” in this past week’s episode of Mad Men:

LOVE IT.  Particularly the way the crazy burns in her eye.  Oh, and the way she calmly returns to brushing her hair as though this ain’t no thing.

Seriously, I’ve watched this scene too many times to keep track of, but that hasn’t stopped it from being just as incredible the 137th time around as it was when I first watched it.  I obviously don’t need anymore reasons to love Elisabeth Moss’s work on the show, but Matthew Weiner blessed us with this little morsel of ridicuweirdness, and I’m not going to complain.  

Now let’s all watch it AGAIN!

Of Pepsi Ads, Peggy, and Pregnancy Dresses: Small Pleasures from Last Night’s Mad Men
August 24, 2009

Excellent news!  It seems that the good folks over at AMC are crafting handy dandy video recaps for each episode of Mad Men, which means I officially don’t have to worry about plot summary!  I can just prattle on about the small pleasures of Mad Men and leave the serious recapping to those who are less ridiculous than me.  So should you only vaguely remember last night’s episode on account of that cocktail-induced fog, let’s get a quick refresher:

Sterling Cooper lost the Madison Square Garden account on account of their resident bohemian bear (thank goodness, because tearing down Penn Station was the worst), Sterling’s daughter doesn’t want his twentysomething wife at her wedding (even though he’s a total silverfox, you can’t really blame her), Betty’s father is moving into the Draper household (a noble move on Don’s part, but this does not bode well), and Peggy totally pulled a fuck-and-run (no further commentary; that speaks for itself)!   But as is always the case with Mad Men, the deliciousness is in the details.

Details, for example, like the fact that the opening shot of this episode gave me a whole new reason to fall in love with Mad Men:

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Here’s Pete Campbell Dancing to Brighten Your Day
August 20, 2009

Ask, and you shall receive:

This is simply the best thing to happen all week.  Well, the best thing since Mad Men premiered on Sunday.  No, I take that back.  It’s totally the best thing because I can watch this any time, anywhere.  I can’t lug my DVR to work, but I can watch this GIF whenever I need a Pete Campbell pick-me-up.  I could probably watch this all day, and I quite likely will.  It’s just that wonderful.

Also, let’s all agree that Vincent Karthesier’s the best.  I mean, everybody on that show’s the best, but particularly Vincent Karthesier.

Much love to Lydia for finding it on Kottke.org, and lots of love as well to This Recording for making my Dancing Pete Campbell GIF dreams come true.

A Day Late and a Beef Bourguignon Short, We Finally Have a Mad Men Recap!
August 18, 2009

So I spent my Sunday sipping Pimm’s cups and preparing a beef bourguinon for a Monday crock potting.  It was all very Betty Draper; however, as the cruel mistresses of food fate would have it, I didn’t turn on the crock pot before leaving for work the next day.  I headed back home upon realization and turned on the crock pot, but in my frenzy neglected to make certain that the crock pot was actually plugged in.  Ruh-roh:

crock pot catastrophe

Needless to say, I could’ve broken a chair (Betty Draper style), but I instead chose to drown my sorrows with chicken salad sandwiches and Cary Grant movies, so this recap will be more…impressionistic.  Sure.  That’s a fancier way of saying I’m distracted by my mourning over the loss of French cuisine (because I’m ridiculous), so let’s go with it.

ANYWAYS!

Culinary disasters aside, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the wait for Mad Men was worth it.  Seriously, sweet Don Draper deliciousness, y’all:

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Benjamin’s Hard-Hitting Questions: Who’s Your Favorite Mad Men Character?
July 31, 2009

Let’s get one thing clear straight off the bat: This post is written under the impression you’ve made your way through at least the bulk of Mad Men‘s second season, so MAD MEN SPOILER MINES AHEAD, y’all!

That said, as I near the home stretch of getting caught up on Mad Men season two, I’ve been realizing just how much the characters have evolved and evolved into even more complicated and multi-layered over the course of this season.  I’ve also realized that season two is some of the most emotionally wrenching television I’ve even seen.  Whether it’s watching the Draper household slowly crumble under the earthquake of marital dissatisfaction or witnessing The World’s Second Greatest Joan (Ms. Holloway, for the uninitiated) find the prospects of advancing her career through Sterling Cooper’s Television Department more appealing than simply playing doting housewife to a doctor, Mad Men‘s second season has been as perfectly depressing at times as it is perfect.

That said, one of the genuine bright spots this season has been Elisabeth Moss’s Peggy Jones.  Sure, there’s plenty of the 😦 as she feels the loss of having given up her son at the end of the first season, but her earnestness and genuine desire to do good by other people is nothing if not utterly heart-warming.  Added to that, she’s grown from the Donald Draper’s meek secretary to a woman of surprising, if sometimes occasional, confidence.  She’s really quite fantastic.

And then, of course, there’s this:

peggy kurt makeover

Kurt, Peggy’s Eurogay coworker, is so excited.  I’m so excited.  Peggy, apparently, is so scared.  Of course, she needn’t be.  The moment in which Peggy–hair literally (and indubitably metaphorically) let-down and fabulously flipped–waltzes into Sterling Cooper with her fresh, homo-friend approved ‘do cut sent tingles down my spine.  TINGLES.  It’s one of those moments in which we’re reminded of a universal truth: Gay man and straight women are the peanut-butter-and-jelly-esque backbone of society.  We always promise deliciousness.

Anyways, I still have two episodes to go, yet based on a certain promo photo that’s cropped up on the internet earlier this week, it’s safe to say Peggy will continue to bring the deliciousness this upcoming season:

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Rejoice! There Will Be Mad Men Season Three Recaps!
July 25, 2009

Are you not the most excited of excited over the imminent return of Mad Men to television?  I know I am.  Seriously, I’m at DEFCON: Riciculous whenever I think about season three, and I’ve yet to get fully caught up on season two, but that doesn’t mean I already think it’s the best season of television of all time!  Where else do you get Colin Hanks as a priest, the beautiful January Jones giving brilliantly nuanced sadface as Betty Draper, or Bryan Batt’s tragicomic genius as the closeted Salvatore Romano?  NOWHERE.

Everything about every episode is truly perfection, which is why the promise of Mad Men‘s third season makes me wet.  Literally:

mad-men-season3-full-543x800.jpg

What does this poster mean?  Did someone set off the sprinklers in Sterling Cooper?  Is this actually a visual metaphor for the murky emotional waters that Don Draper inhabits?  Why am I even asking an irrelevant question?  It’s Mad Men, and that’s all that matters.  The third season could be inexplicably set in Atlantis for all that matters, but so long as we still have the dreamboat deliciousness that is Jon Hamm and the world’s second great Joan (Holloway will always be second to Crawford, but she’s still the tits, pun intended), I’m fully on board.

So on board, in fact, that today I blog promise to write on every episode of this season, which we can all recognize is the one thing this blog was missing.  Well, that, and an appreciation for fish tacos (the vaginal metaphor, not the tasty Mexican meal, duh), but I’ve no plans to go pull Lohan, so you’ll have to survive on Mad Men adoration and my love for the fabulousness that is Christina Hendricks:

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