Buy the Mad Men Season 1 DVDs from Amazon.
Buy Mad Men: Music from the Series, Vol. 1 (Soundtrack) from Amazon.

Disc One opens with the 10 second JWT spot, and then an AMC commercial for Season 2. Then the menu has the famous silhouette with scenes from Smoke Gets in Your Eyes playing kinda translucent in the area that’s normally white and blank. The fade to the next menu item (such as special features or episode list) is cigarette smoke.

I expected to select an episode and then turn commentary on or off, but no! The episode starts right away. Instead, you have to go to special features to see a list of commentaries.

Disc One:
Scoring Mad Men
Mad Men Music Sampler
Season 2 Preview
Commentary 1 for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Matt Weiner
Commentary 2 for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Alan Taylor
Commentary 1 for Ladies Room: January Jones and Rosemarie DeWitt
Commentary 2 for Ladies Room: Michael Gladis and Elisabeth Moss
Commentary for Marriage of Figaro: Jon Hamm, Maggie Siff, and Darby Stanchfield

Disc Two
The clips shown over the menu are from Babylon this time.
Advertising the American Dream
Pictures of Elegance (an “interactive gallery”)
Commentary for New Amsterdam: Vincent Kartheiser, Alison Brie, and Lisa Albert
Commentary 1 for 5G: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, and Aaron Staton
Commentary 2 for 5G: Lesli Linka Glatter
Commentary 1 for Babylon: Christina Hendricks and Maria & André Jacquemetton
Commentary 2 for Babylon: Andrew Bernstein

Disc Three
Menu clips from Shoot
Establishing Mad Men
Commentary 1 for Red in the Face: January Jones, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, and Vincent Kartheiser
Commentary 2 for Red in the Face: Tim Hunter
Commentary 1 for The Hobo Code: Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, and Bryan Batt
Commentary 2 for The Hobo Code: Phil Abraham
Commentary 1 for Shoot: Janie Bryant and Matt Weiner
Commentary 2 for Shoot: Dan Bishop

Disc Four
Menu clips from Nixon vs. Kennedy
Commentary 1 for Long Weekend: Christina Hendricks and Matt Weiner
Commentary 2 for Long Weekend: Tim Hunter and David Carbonara
Commentary for Indian Summer: Elisabeth Moss and Matt Weiner
Commentary 1 for Nixon vs. Kennedy: Jon Hamm, Vincent Kartheiser, and Rich Sommer
Commentary 2 for Nixon vs. Kennedy: Alan Taylor and Matt Weiner
Commentary 1 for The Wheel: Jon Hamm, January Jones, and Elisabeth Moss
Commentary 2 for The Wheel: Matt Weiner, Robin Veith, and Malcolm Jamieson

29 Responses to “DVDs”

  1. Glass Darkly Says:

    (Cross-posted from another thread, most of the typos still in place.)
    Okay, here are my recent revelations from listening to the commentaries…

    I’ve recently been reading a book: How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines… One of the topics in the book is the recurrence of the vampire theme in lit, even if the story isn’t outwardly a vampire story. As an example, Daisy Miller by Henry James.

    The theme is really about someone draining not just the youth — but the innocence — from the object of their attention.

    Roger Sterling says to Mirabelle (Long Weekend), his chosen twin, after a night of talking about the translucence of her skin that he would like to just bite into her skin and suck her blood. Not the Roger Sterling who always ends up talking about his daughter? Not the Roger Sterling who is trying to hold on to his youth? Not Roger Sterling who picked the barely legal twins? Roger Sterling as a vampire who feeds on innocence? Yep.

    I also noticed what I take as evidence of genius casting. January Jones says in Ladies Room that she was up for Peggy, but MW didn’t think she had the innocence (going by memory). It doesn’t seem to be that it’s so much innocence as earnestness. Let me ’splain.

    I think JJ does a terrific job as Betty, so the below comments are not meant to be disparaging, but rather a comment on terrific casting, and speaking to her effective portrayal as being a result of the right woman for the job.

    JJ also says (Ladie’s Room) that she didn’t understand the joke about the Lobster Newburg and Gimlets not getting along, and that she still doesn’t get the joke — referred to it s Lobster Gimlets.

    This commentary is also with Rosemary DeWitt and she asks JJ if Betty knows at that point if Don is cheating with Midge, and JJ seemed like she hadn’t given it a lot of thought. She also seems surprised when RD says that Don loves Betty a lot, but as if she wasn’t sure convinced either way. She also mentioned how you can’t ask a guest director for insight into character, even though — of course — you’re the expert on your own character. She does mention getting a lot of insight from MW, which makes sense.

    THEN, actually BEFORE, but never mind, I listened to the commentary with Elisabeth Moss and she came across as a very different kind of actress.

    EM spent a fair amount of time talking about her character, speaking to the instand understanding she had for Peggy, and how MW gives her few notes on character because she really gets Peggy. She likes discussing Peggy with him, but doesn’t feel like she needs it, and that there is often only one right way for her to play it, so there doesn’t need to be a discussion. She also, like JJ, talks about guest directors, and that — while they’re great — they have the problem of not really knowing the characters.

    In a way, JJ and EM dovetail in the belief they’re the experts on their characters, but JJ comes across as being willing to cede more control over to directors and to play what’s on the page without really knowing everything there is to know about Betty.

    EM comes across as a woman with more definitive ideas on her character and more of a curiosity — it sounds like she has more of a partnership with directors, writers, and MW.

    Both of them play their characters well, and come across as intelligent but I think the above traits mean they were cast well.

    Betty is the type of woman who doesn’t need to understand every joke, and will smile politely at something she doesn’t get. She looks to Don just not as spouse, but as father figure, or at least allows him to treat her like a child on occasion. She is usually calm and accepting of her role as wife and mother. She has reason not to give a whole lot of thought to what’s going on in Don’s head or where he spends his time. Like JJ, she seems to think of some things as being on a need to know basis.

    Peggy on the other hand? I see her as always being on time to secretarial school, I envision her in elementary school as having an apple for the teacher, and I imagine her with her hand up in class a lot. If there is something she doesn’t understand, she seems like the type to find out. I bet she has a dictionary. Even on her first day she was willing to tell Don, albeit jokingly, that she didn’t want to entertain Pete.

    Great Casting!

    Oh, EM also said that she things Peggy has a true love of advertising and that her interest was never in being a secretary.

  2. S. Tarzan Says:

    [Oops. Sorry, Deborah! This is also cross-posted.]

    Roger Sterling says to Mirabelle (Long Weekend), his chosen twin, after a night of talking about the translucence of her skin that he would like to just bite into her skin and suck her blood. Not the Roger Sterling who always ends up talking about his daughter? Not the Roger Sterling who is trying to hold on to his youth? Not Roger Sterling who picked the barely legal twins? Roger Sterling as a vampire who feeds on innocence? Yep.

    Which connects in an interesting way with Roger’s comment in “Red in the Face”, about “that glow of pure youth” that young women have until they’re about thirty–his words; speaking personally, women over thirty are awesome–and it’s that glow that really attracts him.

  3. wisefish Says:

    After watching Ladies Room last night, I have a question…

    Does it seem like Don is fairly new to SC?

    Based on dinner conversation with Roger and Mona and after dinner in the car talking with Betty, it seems like Don may be new to the job. Like he and Roger are just getting to know each other and feel each other out.

    It never struck me before that Don seemed new to the job.

    Any thoughts?

  4. Glass Darkly Says:

    I see what you’re saying. I don’t know if it’s that he’s actually new, or that WE’RE new at that point, and they were trying to introduce us to the set-up. Roger is his superior, Don doesn’t talk about his past…

    He was there long enough to have a former secretary.

    Whether he is new or not, there is an implication that dining with Roger is new, yet later on he makes himself really at home at the Draper residence. Was that the first time?

  5. wisefish Says:

    Right, Glass Darkly, not like he’s brand new, but that he’s only been there a few months, maybe?

  6. Roberta Lipp Says:

    I have wondered about the notion of his being new myself, and yet never managed to mention it. There is a feeling that he’s been there forever, but agreed; there’s a lot of effort to let him know how happy ‘we are’ with him, and that has him feel a little new to me. So, not sure.

  7. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Maybe newly promoted?

  8. S. Tarzan Says:

    I feel like there has to be a long-standing relationship of trust between Don and Roger, because in the pilot, Roger allows him to walk into a meeting with a major client without asking what he has, which is kind of a tremendous gamble and not something I see him doing with, say, Paul.

  9. Glass Darkly Says:

    We’ve discussed before how the scene with Joan and Roger in Babylon looks like an Edward Hopper painting, and the writers of the episode also point that out in the commentary track.

    I believe that MW also mentions Hopper during the scene with Pete outside of Peggy’s door in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

  10. Deborah Lipp Says:

    I haven’t watched the Babylon commentary yet, but you’re right about MW and Smoke.

  11. hullaballoo Says:

    So far, I’m liking most of the extras–especially Advertising the American Dream, Pictures of Elegance, and Establishing Mad Men. Some of the commentaries are off-putting, though. I haven’t listened to everything yet, but the commentaries where the participants are together in the studio are far better than those where it’s just one person ruminating about his or her character, or two separate commentaries spliced together.

    And whoever said that DVD extras can sometimes be disappointing because then you find out that the actors are twits and have no insight whatsoever, was spot on. I’m not naming names, mind you, just nodding my head in agreement.

  12. Glass Darkly Says:

    ::Speculates on possible “twits,” but decides not to formally guess.::

    There are definitely people who are more impressive and likable than others. There are also combinations that seem better than others.

    The spliced commentaries are still enjoyable to me, but they can be jarring — especially if the spliced portion has nothing to do with what’s on screen.

    I absolutely love the embarrassment of riches though — even if it means that I’ve heard 8,200 times that Talia Balsam is married to John Slattery and that Glen’s daddy is someone or another important to the show. 😉

  13. Debra Says:

    I’m enjoying it and I’m completely sucked in to all of it. I’m determined to go through it slowly, watching each episode,and then with every commentary. I just watched “Red in the Face”. I can’t wait for Rich Sommer’s commentary.

    Here’s my problem though. After replacing Disc 1 in the nifty lighter case, I tried to close the thing, only to get the disc caught between the metal outside of the lid and the plastic inside of the lid, getting gooey sticky stuff from the double-sided tape on the disc. I’m annoyed because it sure seems like a design flaw (for such a well-designed show!). We seem to have gotten the adhesive off the disc. I haven’t checked the disc for damage yet (NO GOING OUT OF ORDER!), but if it is damaged, I may even complain about it to AMC.

    Has anyone else had any problems with the packaging?

  14. hullaballoo Says:

    “::Speculates on possible “twits,” but decides not to formally guess.::”

    LOL, Glass. I have to admit that mostly the “twit” thing is not true with regard to this cast, but there were one or two who made me heave a deep sigh…

  15. Deborah Lipp Says:

    I haven’t hit any hardcore “what a twit” moments yet, but there are times when it’s like…you don’t know that?

    I think the stupidest thing I’ve heard so far was that Christina Hendricks thought Roger Sterling referencing a “pearl necklace” was dirty. Hello? That wasn’t dirty until about five years ago.

  16. Glass Darkly Says:

    I’m not sure she didn’t know that. It does have the second meaning now, and most modern viewers now have it in their frames of reference. What I mean is, the line works in a very legitimate way, but quite possibly was written as a double entendre for the audience.

    What can I say? I like CH and she comes across, to me, as a very smart actress. I think she, along with Elisabeth Moss, are the actresses to watch.

  17. Glass Darkly Says:

    Sigh, forgot to mention that the term has been around a lot longer than 5 years though — ZZ Top had a song about it way back in the early eighties, and not sure it was a new term then. I have no reason to believe it goes back to 1960 though.

  18. Deborah Lipp Says:

    She comes across as smart and down-to-earth in a way I find appealing, but I totally got the impression that she didn’t know the line was not dirty in 1960.

  19. Deborah Lipp Says:

    I did a quick perusal, Glass, and you’re right. Origin seems to be 1980s, possibly Australian. But it’s hard to look up because you hit so much disgusting stuff.

    It certainly wasn’t in common usage, though. There’s a sort of “everyone knows that” quality about some very dirty stuff now, probably because of the ‘net. In the 80s, I thought I was fairly sophisticated; I was single, I lived in NYC, I went to clubs, I fooled around, and yet I never heard the term.

  20. Glass Darkly Says:

    I can imagine the pitfalls of a Google search. 🙂

    I accept it might not have been well-known. I think that being in my very early teens when the song came out might be why I knew it — what kid doesn’t want to know all the naughty terms in order to shock and appall one’s peers?

    I’m still voting for that sentence at that moment being a wink to the audience. I imagine someone would have disabused her of the notion at the time had there wasn’t anything to it.

    In fact, I kinda see the term as something that was supposed to make the viewer snicker, and the jewelry case was a “get your mind out of the gutter, folks,” prop.

  21. Roberta Lipp Says:

    I’m pretty sure that who you need to ask about pearl necklace is an old queen. I believe the gays can take credit for this one.

  22. hullaballoo Says:

    LOL, Roberta. It does sound like something Divine might have referred to in an old John Waters movie.

  23. Roberta Lipp Says:

    That’s who we need. Jon Waters could settle this for us in a heartbeat.

  24. Glass Darkly Says:

    Mr. Waters is scared of me — there might be a restraining order. He was attending a wedding at the St. Paul with a man he referred to as his husband. I was there on business. I said to the people around me, Oh My God, that’s John Waters. And then he kinda ran like hell, because I’m sure he wanted to just live his life. I was uncouth.

  25. Roberta Lipp Says:

    Glass, I am impressed. You scared Jon Waters? You are thought uncouth by Jon Waters?

    I am unworthy.

  26. Glass Darkly Says:

    Yes, I scared a man who’s career was built on a transvestite eating dog poop.

    Don’t forget it. 🙂

  27. Glass Darkly Says:

    Interesting possible mistake. In the commentary for Hobo Code, Bryan Batt points out that one of the guys in the art department is from My Three Sons, and that’s correct — Barry Livingston (bald man with glasses) was Ernie.

    However, on the commentary for The Wheel Jon Hamm states that Peggy’s office mate was on My Three Sons as one of the sons, and that does not appear to be the case. He is credited as Jonathan Spencer:

  28. dansj30 Says:

    I have a unified theory on DVD commentaries:

    The interesting ones concern themselves with either broad character/series themes, or interesting minutia (e.g. “this line coming up really shows the character in a nutshell,” or “see that prop in the background? it was the actor’s original bicycle from when he was a kid.”)

    But when a director or dp goes on about how s/he likes to block scenes or dedicates 3 scenes of the episode to the weekly script/shooting schedule, it gets infuriating.

    On a couple of episodes they do that with MM (not naming names, ahem) – I’m sitting there like, “talk about the scene, already!!!”.

  29. Glass Darkly Says:

    I know what you mean. I’m watching the commentary because I’m invested in the characters and the show in general. If I really liked a scene, or feel an actor nailed it, I want to hear about that.

    Sometimes, and not talking about MM specifically, the scene will be one that moved me and the actors will be laughing and joking, and it can cheapen things.

    Or the commentary has someone who speaks very narrowly about their interest and inadvertently derails the more general discussion.

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