One thing I should make clear is that I think Christina Hendricks is the Millenial generation’s Helen of Troy or Marilyn Monroe. But like a lot of things, I think Hendricks is also grossly misunderstood most of the time. This article is a perfect example of so much that’s wrong with the way the media has approached Christina Hendricks: Read the rest of this entry »

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Salon.com’s Heather Havrilesky is my favorite television columnist. Hands down. Here she is picking up on some bits I missed from the season finale. Spoilers ahead! I liked this part of Havrilesky’s piece in particular:

In particular, the difference between Peggy and Joan and what they each want was beautifully expressed in seconds: Roger, Joan and Peggy are hunched over the books at the old offices, exhausted from their scrambling attempts to bring as much with them to the new firm as they can before they’re locked out, when Sterling asks, “Peggy, can you get me some coffee?” Without wavering, Peggy snaps back, “No.”

Read the rest.

—Daniel

Season Finale

November 9, 2009

In consideration of the people who haven’t yet seen this very awesome episode of Mad Men, I’ll warn you that the post below has a bunch of spoilers. Don’t click further if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to know what happens…

Read the rest of this entry »

Joan’s M.O.

October 27, 2009

This interview with Christina Hendricks in New York magazine is really worth reading. I thought this bit at the end was important:

It’s slightly troubling to me that people seem to regard Joan as a straight-up superhero.
Yeah, I get a lot of this sort of “you go, girl!” attitude. If you pulled her out of the sixties, people wouldn’t feel the exact same way. But I think there’s so much mistreatment of women, and the fact that she’s knocked back is powerful for people: She holds her head up high and works through it, and I think it makes people feel good that she’s not whimpering in a corner.

I think part of the reason people like Joan is because her resistance to being the chaste, submissive housewife seems somewhat equivalent to what she’s up against. In other words, it’s not intuitive to imagine she’d be as resistent to what’s considered okay for a woman to do today even though we don’t really know that. I’ve always thought of Joan as someone who needs a bit more freedom than was okay at the time. Now I’m starting to wonder whether she’s naturally rebellious. There is a difference.

—Daniel

The other day Ned was telling me about how he can’t stand Greg nomatter what happens to him, even grave humiliation and disappointment like in the last episode. But what about Joan’s rather racist comments to Kinsey’s then-girlfriend? Why is it that it’s so easy for the viewer to disregard that? Now, of course this is not nearly as horrific as raping someone, but I rarely find myself considering Joan a “complex” (as opposed to naturally good) character. I suppose it’s because we see much less of her in a bad light than we do of her as the victim or as someone caught up in something larger than her.

—Daniel

That may very well have been my favorite episode of the season. I saw Greg not getting the promotion and saw that somehow, I saw in some way Joan would keep her job, I saw that Lois wouldn’t be able to drive a lawnmower (just not as badly as she did), and saw that things wouldn’t go well with the overlords visiting. What I didn’t see was that Conrad Hilton would actually show up (and kudos to Judy for pointing out that could very well be the Hotel king himself) nor that Lois would mow over Guy’s foot. I also didn’t see that whole exchange between Joan and Peggy coming (Peggy thought that Joan had helped her? And that Joan thought she was somewhat responsible for Peggy’s ascension?) These were all big surprises.

Ok seriously though. An overarching theme of this episode had to do with greed, I think. Things have been disastrous for PPL and Sterling Cooper since they decided to get bigger. We know with SC, at least, that business was much better when the partners were the absolute head honchos. But look what happens when they do get greedy, someone’s foot gets chopped off. Don also knows better than to get greedy and take all of the Hilton Hotel advertising business (or perhaps a job) and instead go piece by piece. Joan and Greg didn’t know better than to assume their professional life was on the rise before it happened and instead became gravely disappointed. Better to remember what you’re good at and stick with it, that was the moral of the episode.

I was also surprised with who was disappointed by what. Joan seemed less than enthused with the prospect of having to continue to work for a living (although maybe she was processing the whole thing) and Don seemed excited (and later on disappointed) by the prospect of being promoted and moving to London. Didn’t see that coming.

The one thing in an otherwise excellent episode that didn’t do it for me is the Sally-Grandpa McCain storyline. I just never really cared, never had an interest, never sympathized.

Back to the Joan and Peggy goodbye. I think they were probably right, they were both responsible somewhat for the course of each others’ lives since they met by showing a possible path in life that either of them didn’t want to take. That’s my take on that. Maybe there were others. I think it’s fascinating whatever the correct interpretation is.

P.S. Ned totally called the outcome on the Pete vs. Kenny competition.

—Daniel

Bad Advice From Joan To Peggy

September 12, 2009

cm-capture-1I haven’t commented on last week’s episode and its successor is almost upon us. I may still get to what I was going to say but given the amount of procrastinating I’ve been doing I have my doubts. So, instead, I’ll just make a small comment on Joan and Peggy.

Nobody should be surprised that Joan gave Peggy advice. We’ve seen before (from the very beginning of the show) that Joan is happy to give Peggy advice. Alas, the advice doesn’t always align with Peggy’s desires, it works with what Joan would want if she were still in or just in Peggy’s situation. This last time with Joan advising Peggy on the roommate situation I suspect will result in something Peggy doesn’t like again (it’s starting to look like it already). Peggy will realize Joan’s advice isn’t  the course she wants to take, it’ll just take a bit longer than usual for Peggy to notice.

—Daniel