Important Things to Pontificate While We Try and Play Catch-Up: Is Mad Men Too Sexist?
August 9, 2010

Oh man, y’all.  If there’s one thing that’s great about summer Fridays at my place of work, it’s that I get every other Friday off of work.  If there’s one thing that’s not the new hotness, however, it’s that putting in the extra hours to get those precious Fridays off has made me a raggedy-ass bitch when it comes to tending to this particular corner of the interwebs.  Blog productivity has shamelessly fallen to the wayside, egregious errors have been made, and I still haven’t gotten around to discussing the eagerly anticipated/probable train wreck that is Burlesque.  Sure, this little blog may not buy my bacon and eggs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel obliged to those of you out there who so kindly indulge my crazy.  Anyways, apologies are like the Lost series finale (obligatory, yet wholly unfulfilling), so point being: IT’S TIME TO BUST SOME BLOG ASS AND START GETTING CAUGHT UP ON EVERYTHING.  (That’s my motivational speaker voice.)

In the mean time, though, let’s all ponder the following important question:

I remain of the opinion that there’s no such thing as being too sexist Mad Men strives to create an accurate–not revisionist–portrait of the 1960s, and leveling charges of sexism at Mad Men confuses the sexual and gender politics of the era with those of the show itself.  Mad Men‘s “sexism” is in fact a meta-commentary on sexism, if you will, but that’s just my interpretation.   That being said, let’s go watch a short video that attempts to get to heart of the matter:

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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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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 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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