Mad Men General Discussion Thread

#1
Here's the new place to discuss Mad Men, created and written by Mathew Weiner, previous co-writer with David Chase on many significant Sopranos episodes. This link will take you to AMC's Mad Men website. Interface is bit clumsy, but search around thru the tabs and you can watch the episodes online for freeee! Watch it on Sundays at 10pm, or anytime On Demand with Comcast or online. :smile:

http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/about/

Re: Mad Men- General Discussion Thread

#2
Anyone catch last night's new epsode? Quite a change in direction to say the least! This season is turning out to be quite different than last season so far. Don and Betty's roles have really changed, and i can sure see trouble coming. Have to say that their story does sound alot like the stories of people i have known that were raised in that era. You can see the budding potential eating disorders/ (maybe later developing anorexia?) issues and possibly alchohol probs down the road for little Sally. And as for Betty- not exactly a future 'Mrs. Robinson', but we are really getting to see her dark side! Not sure how characteristic Don's candidness about his childhood beatings was, but their discussion of it was an important milestone in their relatonship, imo. And hopefully, it will help Bobby get a break from that crazy hand he's been getting dealt lately.

And back at the office, what was up with Duck questioning the presence of Harry in the American Airlines prep meeting? Was that little exchange just to show us that they aren't up to speed on the coming importance of television commercials- or just that Harry hasn't really made his mark? Did i miss something there? How 'bout the scene with Bobbi Barrett-- rang a bit hollow to me.

Re: Mad Men- General Discussion Thread

#3
Pretty close to the best this show has to offer, in my opinion. Excellent balance between all the storylines.

I liked the scene with Bobbi. I think it worked at least partially to get Don off the hook for his behavior with her in the last episode; we see how soon she comes to see him after that incident, and how she once again pushes Don hard for a sexual encounter. Clearly she has her own code of conduct and Don didn't go too far beyond that. I am definitely curious about the potential TV show plotline - I assume we'll be seeing more of her and of Jimmy in upcoming episodes.

The kids were strong in this episode, I thought. Sally made me laugh a couple of times, particularly her clapping when she finds out she's going into work with Don, and Bobby generated a lot of sympathy. He seems like such a somber little kid. I think I saw an echo of sixth season Sopranos there - does Betty hate Bobby the way Tony hated AJ?

Colin Hanks fit in very well. He's a better actor than I thought.

Re: Mad Men- General Discussion Thread

#4
Yeah, young Bobby is quite the little actor! That sympathy-generating scene when he came into the bedroom and apologized to his dad was amazing- and then with Don giving him a hug-- well, truly touching. For a minute there ( i figure on purpose), the camera kind hung on him when he was standing in the doorway, and he had a stance that was imo made to look exactly like the stance they showed young Adam in during one of the flashback scenes at the railroad station (when they received "Don's" coffin), as well as a scene when Adam was older and waiting for Don to respond to him-- Sort of limp arms and a silent, yearning face. Heartbreaking- and evoked a tug of compassion from Don, and me too.

You're right about Colin Hanks- surprisingly good in this unusual role. Couldn't quite tell if they were trying to make a judgement about the fact that Peg's sister sort of ratted her out to the priest (what's the real motivation for that weird confession?); or was the point that the sister genuinely had conflict about the situation? She seems like a nice enough person- and truly big hearted to raise mini-Pete as her own.

One thing i know- in real life, no way would a priest let a conversation run on like that, with the confessing person talking/gossiping about someone else's supposed sin. Another thing- any other Catholics out there that can answer this one?: Peggy's sister (character name Anita Olson Respola) started to make the final Act of Contrition in english (with the priest doing the latin part), and she spoke the term "In the Name of the Father, Son and "Holy Spirit". This was in 1962, which was still pre-1965 Vatican II. I'm pretty sure it would be most likely that in 1962 she would have said "Father, Son and Holy Ghost". Then again, maybe thats just how it was in my old-fashioned little town. Some people still say Holy Ghost.

Even during the Sopranos- sometimes they got the catholic cultural references 'wrong', or misunderstood, and it would bug me. For example, like using the confessional to convey information in a way that really would have been unlikely (They made similar mistakes in scenes showing Carmella and Father Intintola). It seemed apparent that they had advice from someone who really didn't have a handle on the history or true knowledge of the changes resulting in current practices, which then made the authenticity fall short.

Other Mad Men church scenes obviously took great care to acurately re-create the pre-vatican II Mass: The priest with his back to the people while consecrating the host, saying the Mass in Latin, etc. (Now of course, the Mass is in English or whatever local language, the priest faces the people, and the people participate more and are included).

Even the name of Peggy's church is of great significance: The Church of the Holy Innocents, which refers to the story of all the baby boys killed off by King Herod. Per the gospel of Matthew, after the visit of the Magi, (or three kings, or shepherds), Herod, in a fit of rage and jealousy, ordered all the baby boys in Bethlehem and surrounding countryside to be slaughtered in an attempt to destroy his perceived rival, the infant Jesus, the Messiah. These "innocents" are honored by the Catholic Church as martyrs.

i think its an important image here, because a key theme has been the fact that Peggy had an "out-of-wedlock" child at a time when there was usually no option for unwed mothers; and now in this ep, we are seeing her sister grapple with it. The obvious counterpoint: abortion-- came up as a major theme in the past ep, with a focus on Peggy's response about it regarding the Belle Jolie commercial potentially planned for The Defender's episode dealing with abortion.

Its apparent that Weiner won't be shy about developing this major theme and factor of change prominent in the 60's, leading to the socially approved Roe vs. Wade solution to unwanted pregnancy in 1972, which many perceive to be a sort of slaughter of Innocents.

When the priest gives Peggy the Easter egg "for the Little One" (after the camera focuses on her little boy toddling by)- clearly her sister Anita is in the background observing. Where is she really coming from? Its not yet fully clear to me, but i am suspicious. i can't help but think of the hypocrisy that i have often observed, especially as a catholic from within my own religion: judgement and shame directed towards the unwed biological mother, while at the same time further judgement and shame in modern "post Roe v. Wade" times towards mothers who abort. "Damned if you do, damned if you don't".

Re: Mad Men- General Discussion Thread

#5
Perhaps I'm naive, but I think Peggy's sister is coming from exactly where she said she was during the confession. She sees herself as the good daughter, the one who has done everything as she should, and has gotten no credit, while her sister, who had a baby out of wedlock (with a married man the father, to boot), receives no punishment and is, in fact, not judged at all for it, seemingly. The one thing their mother does do is pressure Peggy to go to church, which her sister of course already does. Of course, the reason the family walks on eggshells with regards to Peggy is because she was deemed to have had a breakdown (this is reading between the lines, but I get the feeling she was committed for a short time after her son's birth, at least for evaluation, and she was definitely deemed unfit to raise the child herself), so they're just pleased that she seems to have recovered and became friendly with Father Gil. Her sister is possibly not as understanding as the rest of the family, though she is certainly a good person to be raising Peggy's baby, and the friendship seems like an undeserved reward for Peggy to her, I think. I'm not even sure she intended to "rat on" Peggy when she made the confession - I don't know if there was malice in what she did. Hopefully my point here is not too muddled.

As far as the gossiping in the confession, we saw that Father Gil is untraditional both when he says grace and with his sermon. Couple that with his relative youth and the shock of what he had heard, and I think that's a possible reason why he allowed that to happen.

Re: Mad Men General Discussion Thread

#9
Tried to post at the amctv.com "talk" blog...- but they're having lots of trouble with their very cumbersome- lame -forum. My first post is already lost and lots of people are complaining about the format (no indexing, etc.).

i 'spose if no one is going to chime in here- well, we can't wait forever, as the show is so hot- and demands attention and discussion!! Anyone else posting somewhere on this incredible show? :icon_biggrin:
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