Mad Men seems to have taken home another trophy, this time at the 12th annual Art Directors Guild Awards.

— Excellence in Production Design for an Episode of a Single Camera Television Series: “Mad Men” — Episode 9 “Shoot”. Dan Bishop, production designer.

No doubt, this is the kind of kudos we expected all along. When I first started watching, what I told people was that at the very least the production, filming, set design/dressing would get props. Not that those elements are least.

I just re-watched Shoot the other day. Stunning.

SO not to beat a dead Weiner horse, but he spoke extensively about the episode. I asked him (I actually never finished my long and wind-y question, because he jumped right in, and Janet Maslin interrupted, and I interjected into her interruption, and herds of antelope and kittens were running wild in the streets) about his themes, like birds and trains, and he picked up the bird talk and ran with it.

First he mentioned that the new testament considered birds to be good symbol. (more…)

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When Roberta and I first saw Marriage of Figaro, one of the things we discussed was Don sitting at the train tracks. Was he contemplating suicide? In The Ladies Room, Paul says he’s late for a meeting because someone jumped in front of his train and killed himself. You don’t drop a remark like that for nothing. Especially Matt Weiner doesn’t drop a remark like that for nothing.

So all through season 1, I absolutely believed that Don was contemplating suicide that afternoon; that’s why he sat at the train. Sure he’s a bastard: He’s a bastard for walking in with no explanation or apology, for choosing a moment when his daughter needed him to fall apart like that, for acting as if there had been no crisis in the first place. But he’s also so horribly wounded that it seemed to me that he could not for the life of him leave those train tracks. It just hurt too much.

Only now I don’t think he was suicidal. I think it was the train.

The second major motif of Mad Men (other than birds) is trains. Don doesn’t get off the train in his home town, leaving the real Don’s body to be Dick Whitman. Don’s identity is first hinted at (in Marriage of Figaro) on the train. Trains are escape.

One thing we learned about Don in Nixon vs. Kennedy is that he always wants to run away. Running away is the only thing he’s 100% sure he knows how to do. I think, now, that’s what he was contemplating in MoF, he was looking at the train and deciding whether or not to escape.

I was just watching Episode 4: New Amsterdam, and then I realized I wanted to watch it from the beginning and take notes, so I turned it off to resume later, but that’s not why I’m telling you this.

So, to start over.

I was just watching Episode 4: New Amsterdam. Early in the episode, Betty is reading to the children and ends a book with “Church bells rang out, and the air was filled with flying birds. No kingdom had ever been happier.”

Maybe we should be collecting these. It’s starting to seem really significant.

On edit: And later in the episode, Pete offers to take Walter to see “Bye, Bye Birdie” and Walter says “I don’t like birds.” Uh huh.