One thing we haven’t gotten much of a look at is the women’s grooming process. We see them all look so perfect (or, occasionally not, like Carol the day she got fired and Francine freaking out over Carlton’s affairs).

For the most part all we see is the occasional lipstick application. But we don’t see what it takes to get Joan’s and Betty’s hair so flawless, or Helen Bishop’s face looking photo-ready. (more…)

I’ve posted in the past about the Whedon connection to Mad Men. Well, my son and I are watching Angel on DVD these evenings, and lo & behold, looks like Darby Stanchfield (Helen Bishop) guest-starred in the Angel Season 2 episode “The Anniversary.”

It’s very geeky, but I love finding things like this.

Last week, April 17th, was Joel Murray‘s birthday. Joel plays Freddy Rumsen, the drunk who discovered Peggy Olson’s knack for standing apart from the crowd, “seeing the benefit” of the product, and ultimately, for copywriting. I remember him as Greg’s goofy friend on Dharma and Greg.

And next week, April 29th, is Darby Stanchfield, who plays the oozing Helen Bishop. The AMC site/blog/thing just posted an interview with her. She’s been getting a lot of work over the last few years, and just nails it as Helen. And it’s more than simply a matter of how she works the pants…

(I’ve been working on a whole Helen Bishop post… gimme a few hours and come back for it.)

April birthday Kisses to both of you!

I was watching Long Weekend tonight, and taking extensive notes. I’ll have more to say later on. But for now, I was noticing this. That Don is not a womanizer.

People all over the Internet are angry at Don for cheating on Betty. And yeah, Don’s a cheater. An adulterer. These are bad things and we can be mad at Don. But he’s not a skirt-chaser. He’s not, to put it plainly, Roger Sterling. (And I have some thoughts about Roger I’ll also be fleshing out—no pun intended—in the near future.)

In Long Weekend, Roger says he wants to use Don “as bait.” He knows the way to go is to pick up two young women and end up with one. This isn’t new; he’s after the same thing in Red In the Face, and only wrangles an invitation to dinner when his plan fails.

Roger is a womanizer. He wants warm, lovely flesh. He wants a young woman to remind him of youth. He wants beauty and soft skin and lips like strawberries in milk. Don wants something different.

When Don says he wants to go home he means it. He doesn’t want to be with Roger, with twenty year-olds on their laps. He’s a bad husband, but he believes in the salvation of being a husband and having a family. And it’s when that salvation doesn’t pan out that he goes for Midge, and then for Rachel. He tells Rachel in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes that he doesn’t believe in love, but he’s deeply romantic; he believes each of these women might save him.

(more…)

Here’s a quick bit of parallel in the show that I hadn’t thought of before. Don grabs Betty. Betty reacts with a little fire in her eyes, but basically with passivity. Later, Betty slaps Helen.

So can we conclude that Betty was “really” slapping Don when she slapped Helen? A bit of deflected anger?

And then later the conversation with Francine, in which Francine lets off a litany of absolutely deranged reasons to hate Helen Bishop. De. Ranged. Add these two incidents together and it seems like this is who Helen is; a place for the married women to project all their fears, anxieties, and rage.

“I like redheads. Their mouths are like a drop of strawberry jam in a glass of milk.”

Forgive me, MM writers. I love you all.

But this episode, about which I have so much more to say, seems to have a big fat continuity issue.

Thursday #1
It is the end of the workday. Roger speaks to his wife about the weekend plans. He is then told by Bertram Cooper that the Nixon boys are coming in at the end of the week. Joan has a bag packed and is taking a train with her roommate Carol for a weekend away. No mention that she is taking a Friday off, but okay so far.

How do I know it’s Thursday? Don says to Peggy, trying to make sure she’s not working too late, “Just because tomorrow’s Friday, doesn’t mean I expect to be pulling your head off the keys in the morning”. (God, that line is a mouthful!)

That night, it’s drinks for Don and Roger, and then the disastrous dinner at the Draper’s.

Thursday #2
The next morning, Roger offers Don a bottle and an apology. At lunch Pete exchanges a chip-and-dip for a 22-caliber rifle. (more…)

This post, via its title, is dedicated to the memory of Heath Ledger.

Let me say this. It was this episode that solidified my love for this show. I’d been watching the previews, all the behind-the-scenes stuff, for quite awhile, and was excited about the prospect of this show. And I definitely liked the first two episodes, but the jury was out. The whole thing could rely on clichés and stereotypes and time travel references like Don’t remark about ‘some kind of magical machine that just makes copies’ in the pilot. Marriage of Figaro showed me that I didn’t have a clue as to what to expect. That this show felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before, that it wasn’t fucking around, that it was on its own ride, and yeah, I was along for it.

1. I love Rachel’s reaction to the chicken. While she herself resembles some kind of bizarre Gertrude McFuzz in that hat.

2. I love Rachel’s response to finding out Don is married. There are some who take issue with the fact that she jumped from one kiss to committed relationship, but I think she had it right; there was nothing casual about their connection. (more…)