I wrote the following yesterday. And then after I wrote it, I dug around AMC’s website.

I am so outraged. Like, speechless. (Well, my version of speechless is kind of word-heavy, but you get it.)

Those stupidheads at AMC are NOT GOING TO BE SHOWING MAD MEN AT ALL IN MAY. NOT AT ALL. NOT SUNDAYS AT MIDNIGHT, NOT WEDNESDAYS AT 3AM, NOT SATURDAYS AT 6AM TO COMPETE WITH ANGEL ON TNT, NOT ANYWHERE AT ALL.

Heard about this great new show but still haven’t gotten around to seeing it? Been waiting for the latest run to wind up, (which it just now has) and maybe you’ve even read that the first two episodes will be airing over the next two weeks?

WELL TOO BAD FOR YOU!!! Guess you’ll have to wait until July.

Way to build momentum, Jack. Or, what’s that other thing… LOSE ANY STEAM YOU HAVE WITH POTENTIAL NEW VIEWERS WHO WILL FORGET ABOUT YOU ONCE THEY START WATCHING NEW EPISODES OF HOUSE AND ER.

Anyway, I think this little intro perfectly sets up the rest of what I had prepared. Enjoy:

I’ve been thinking it’s time to recap AMC’s sins. Some of you are new, but also, like when your shitty boyfriend starts acting all sweet lately, you might be losing perspective.

Let’s take a moment, shall we, to think back to a simpler, happier time. (more…)

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In Long Weekend, we see Don and Rachel connecting the dots. Maybe the first time I saw the episode his arrival at her door came from nowhere, or maybe I was just taken with their mutual attraction, but on closer examination, they are connecting at a deep level.

We arrive at Sterling Cooper in a Nixon campaign meeting. Don wants to set aside current ad ideas and tell “the story” of Nixon. He calls Kennedy “a recent immigrant who bought his way into Harvard,” On the other hand,

“Nixon is from nothing. A self-made man, the Abe Lincoln of California, who was Vice President of the United States six years after getting out of the Navy. Kennedy, I see a silver spoon. Nixon, I see myself.”

He sees himself. He sure does; he came from nothing, went into the Army, came out a new man (literally) and in a short time (six years?) he was a big success.

Later the same day, there’s a Menken Department Store meeting. There, Don kind of poo-poos Abe (there’s that name again) Menken’s history of coming from nothing (like Lincoln; like Nixon). Rachel takes umbrage:

“Excuse me, this is not some phony story you people print in your Fourth of July circulars. My father actually started with nothing and he made it into everything we’re talking about. Who here can say that?”

Don. Don can say that. And although Rachel doesn’t know that about Don, he must feel like she’s looking right through him, and like he and she are the only two people in that room who understand each other.

So of course, that’s the night they sleep together. But more importantly, that’s the night he finally tells the truth about himself to another human being. And it’s so important, so powerful, that I offer it here in its entirey:

“You told me your mother died in childbirth. Mine did too. She was a prostitute. I don’t know what my father paid her but when she died they brought me to him and his wife. And when I was ten years old he died. He was a drunk who got kicked in the face by a horse. She buried him and took up with some other man. I was raised by those two sorry people.”

He came from nothing. She understands. She kisses his hair.

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…)

What a lovely and interesting thread I found woven through Long Weekend.

Roger to Mirabelle: Look at your skin, it’s translucent.

Don to Rachel: He’s gray and weak. His skin looks like paper.

Moments later, Don: Sit with me. Rachel: Why? Don: Because I feel like you’re looking right through me over there.

So now I wonder if that was the theme of this episode; seeing through to the truth. Underbellies exposed. You know what’s on the other side of all that crap, Roger? A heart attack. You know why your roommate is your roommate, Joan? Dooyah?

There is one moment in this episode where we catch a shine of reality that has been previously unexplored. In the scene where Roger tries to get Joan to spend time with him, and they talk about the movie the Apartment, Joan pipes in with, The way those men treated that poor girl; handing her around like a tray of canapés. She tried to commit suicide. That is the first, perhaps only in the whole first season, indication that Joan is less than content with her lifestyle. Maybe a little lonely, maybe a little angry, maybe a little not proud.

“‘Ya know I can’t believe I even thought about getting back together with you! We are SOOO over!”
~Rachel, re-breaking up with Ross on Friends (Episode 4:01; The One With the Jellyfish)

In a discussion about the possible origins of the term ‘self-worth’, Rondi commented about the anachronistic “1960, I am SO over you“.

First of all, Rondi, don’t second guess yourself. This one is absolutely undebateably out of step with the era. Is it POSSIBLE that a woman in 1960 could have put those words together in that sequence? Sure, it’s technically possible. But it screams Today. It screams it so loudly that I wonder if it was deliberate. (more…)

In Indian Summer, Don and Rachel are in bed together. In the previous episode, Long Weekend, they had slept together for the first time. Here, we see that they have gone on as lovers, and they discuss things that reveal the kind of lovers they have become. (This is one of those wonderful bits of writing that assumes us, the viewers, to have intelligence. We don’t need every detail. We really do know how these things work; what kind of promises are made and felt.)

(Another example of that is in the Wheel, when we find Harry living in the office. I have a friend at work who is trying desperately to watch this show, but is confused by AMC’s suckful out-of-sequence episode-skipping sloppiness, and when he saw this scene, he asked me if he had missed an episode. No, I assured him, he hadn’t. Weiner simply didn’t fill in every blank for us. We don’t know if Harry ‘fessed up on his own or if Jennifer found evidence; all we know is Harry is without his wife and it’s bad. But I seriously digress.)

Don & Rachel. She is so happy, and so struggling. She tells Don it’s hard for her, but she also feels badly because it must be even harder on him.

Don: “I don’t think about it. I mean, I try not to.” (more…)

“Remember Don…when God closes a door, he opens a dress.” – Roger Sterling

In a comment, Melville mentions:

Getting back on-topic, is AMC about damage our calm further by skipping more episodes? The previews showed the episode with Sterling’s heart attack. Isn’t that several episodes ahead of “Babylon?”

So I check. And Mel is correct.

Roger’s heart attack is episode 10; Long Weekend.

Soon I will begin using the letters A-M-C when I want to say W-T-F. ‘Cause of how they’re becoming synonymous.