A few thoughts about Helen Bishop in New Amsterdam.

She and Betty get pretty up close and personal, (though it pales in comparison with Glen Bishop’s version of up close and personal. But enough about that). With Helen and Betty you certainly never feel that they connect. Betty hears a lot about a marriage gone bad. It is probably the first time she’s ever heard these kinds of details from a divorcée.

Later in the episode, Betty tells Dr. Wayne, (aka “Mr. Personality”) that Helen is likely jealous of her.

Wait. Seriously? Umm… didn’t Helen witness Don walking out on Betty at Sally’s birthday party a few weeks earlier? More than witness it; she was part of the rescue committee, what with her Sara Lee cake.

There is this one moment I love; Don comes home late, sees Betty and Helen sitting on the couch, gives a very brief and polite hello and then slinks up the stairs. I found it hilarious. So much unspoken from Don—What the hell could they possibly be talking about? Damn, she’s my type. Wow, she knows I ran out on my kid’s birthday party. I am SO not allowed to talk to that woman.

And somehow I felt like Helen got all that subtext, and was unphased. Helen is a bit like Joan in her understanding of men and their responses to women. (more…)

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There’s just been so much going on, so I figure it’s time for a little roundup.

Interesting (and by interesting I mean, thematically confusing) article in today’s the Independent (London), featuring Mad Men. Peter York has a few thoughts on the media’s (and its consumers) obsession with nostalgia.

There’s always been a re-model urge in the sampling culture – right from Run DMC and Aerosmith walking that way, with its coarsely ironic mock-the-rocker sub-text. But increasingly there’s the urge to get it right too, to catch the shimmering moment and recreate the mindset. Before destroying it. In ‘Madmen’, everything looks lovely and everyone behaves appallingly, they’re snobbish, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, the works.

Mad Men wins a Peabody. And while many other fine shows won as well, the article by Maureen Ryan over at the Watcher (Chicago Tribune) features a photograph of Mad Men. Maureen Ryan who, as it turns out, thinks Basket of Kisses is The Shit.

It was announced that Mad Men will be coming to Blu-Ray. Whatever that means. But the Season One DVD release date of July 1st was confirmed. You know, the date that we announced awhile back to the sound of much skepticism.

TV Guide’s Matt Roush brags about his insider status at the Paley event, where the cast and Matt Weiner spoke (hey this article features an awesome video clip montage from the event). Matt (Roush, not Weiner) misspells Sterling (as in, Stirling Cooper/Roger Stirling).

AMC’s Mad Men blog features a Q&A with Aaron Staton, who plays Ken Cosgrove, and one with Andy Umberger, who plays Dr. Wayne.

They’ve also done a fascinating piece on Peggy’s weight transformation.

We told you all about how Mad Men’s fashions were featured in the Huffington Post.

And in some ways the most exciting, BoK anonymously received a description of the planned opening sequence of Season Two, Episode One.

Not gonna lie, we are busy busy busy for a blog about a show that’s only on in repeats!

Okay, here’s a thing.

In Shoot, Jim Hobart, from McCann Erickson. He’s on the phone with Don, pitching the woo, and says, to show how much power they have:

“You want to sell corn, we do a show about Indians”.

The very next scene, Betty is talking to Dr. Wayne. (I included more of this than is necessary for my point; I just really like this monologue. I got a lot of it… not all, but a nice chunk.)

“He was just a copywriter at the fur company. I remember he saw that I didn’t like giving the coat back. That’s always the hardest part.

He asked me out. He wasn’t shy. I liked that. I said no. Then three weeks later the coat arrived at my apartment. Who knows what kind of Indian trading he had to do to get it.”

Hmm.

And in the final dinner scene between Don and Betty, there is corn on the cob on the table.

Does it have a secret meaning? Is it a subtler theme than even birds or trains?

Or maybe it’s just lyrical. Sometimes, I will place a word into a song (or a blog, for that matter), because it just sounds pretty. Maybe this painting just needed a touch of blue here, here and here, to have it be just so.

Whedonesque, your source for all things Whedon, congratulates Mad Men for its Golden Globe win.

That’s because two Whedonverse stars are on the show. Vincent Kartheiser (Pete) was a major character (Connor) on Angel season 4 (and had guest appearances in season 5), and Christina Hendricks (Joan) had major guest shots on Firefly as Saffron, and a small (tiny) part in Angel season 1 as an Irish barmaid.

What Whedonesque failed to mention, but Roberta’s eagle eyes noticed, was Adam Kaufman, who played Bob Shaw, the air-conditioner salesman who penetrates Betty’s imagination in Indian Summer. He played heartbreaker Parker Abrams in Buffy’s fourth season.

Coolest of all to the lover of detail is Andy Umberger, who is Betty’s shrink, Dr. Wayne. He has appeared on all three of Joss Whedon’s series, on Buffy as D’Hoffryn, who is Demon in Charge of Vengeance Demons (a tough job with major seniority), on Angel as Dr. Ronald Meltzer (a seriously creepy one-off villain in season 1) and in a small role on Firefly as captain of the Dortmunder in the pilot.

Weiner just talked about a technique he uses to keep it real, which is to ensure that Betty has a closet. Even though she shops a lot, he says, you will see the same outfits repeated.

He said that she wore the same dress for the family portrait that she wore to her first day seeing Dr. Wayne; it is what she would choose. Sunday best.

I would just like to point out that the only other time I have ever seen this (with the exception of a particular pair of earrings on a soap opera years ago; I’ll come back later to describe them) was on thirtysomething, a show that I loved as much as I love this one. Hope had a very specific wardrobe that rotated and she always looked good but never too good, like an overwhelmed young mother with a hippie streak would really dress (also with some favorite pairs of earrings). I had never seen that before or, or since, until now.

We’ll keep an eye on Joan, but I do suspect Joan would spend a lot of money on new dresses all the time. And I’m sure she has lots of sources of income to support it.

Addendum:

Okay, so a hundred years ago, there was a character named Megan on One Life to Live, played by Jessica Tuck. She has giant blue eyes, round and really an incredible blue. The character frequently wore a pair of earrings with big round blue sparkling stones that sat close to the ears (as most earrings on soap operas do). I was mesmerized by the effect; how they reflected her eyes. And the directors obviously were too, because soap operas never ever EVER (at least back then; I don’t watch them anymore) repeat wardrobe elements. Ever. But these earrings next to Megan’s face were magical.

On a personal note, around the same time period I met a young girl who was just a really hot young thing, and she had my coloring, with bright round dark brown shiny eyes. And she had a pair of earrings with round black stones set in silver, and it had a similar effect.

It took me years to find the right earrings for myself. I do have a pair now, and I’ve never pulled it off quite the same as Megan or Stephanie, they certainly do make my eyes pop.