Last weekend I took a character/animation voice class with a brilliant gentleman named Bob Bergen. He is a voice you’ve heard hundreds or perhaps thousands of times, most famously as Porky Pig (and Tweetie Bird and Marvin the Martian). Please check him out.

The first portion of the workshop was lecture and Q&A. All aspects of the voiceover business were up for discussion. One woman asked if age was an issue.

Bob assured us that it was not, that nothing visual would ever affect your castability.

Except there was this one time when he didn’t get a role because they were looking for a blonde.

*blink*

Anyway, I was reminded of the extraordinary voicover casting scene in the Wheel, when Peggy cast Annie over Rita, despite Ken’s better judgment (and of the even more extraordinary voiceover scene where Peggy destroys the very confidence that she was insisting on hearing from Annie).

In the first scene, Peggy is down to two women; Annie who looks the part, and Rita who sounds great. And Peggy cannot see. or hear. that Rita is the clear choice. And at first it looks like this is her sheer inexperience.

Later, the “Relax-a-Cizor” recording scene is one of those Mad Men moments where there is so much going on, layers and layers of subtext, that I can barely break it all down. Peggy is clueless. Peggy is cruel. Annie is confident. Annie is destroyed. Ken is on the prowl. Ken is a surprisingly sympathetic friend.

While viewing that scene the first time, what I saw was that she wasn’t nearly so comfortable in her own skin as it had appeared until that point. The sequence exposed some complex feelings she’d been harboring towards ‘beautiful’ women. They have the confidence. They have everything. So what does that say about her feelings about herself?

And with the pregnancy reveal in the final scene, you then question what it was you were witnessing in these earlier scenes. Peggy’s denial of her pregnancy sheds all new (albeit, hard, at this stage, to interpret) light on her character and motivations. I’d really respected Peggy with the one little exception of her thing for Pete. Now I think maybe she’s crazy, or at least really really fragmented. All of that colors those scenes. At the very least, what with squeezing out a baby a few hours later, we know she was probably a little more… tense than usual.

Anyway, back to my workshop. When we broke for lunch, I asked Bob if he’d seen Mad Men, telling him of this connection.

Porky Pig, it turns out, is another among our celebrity fans.

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