Mad Men – Season 4 – The Summer Man

What’s happening to our favourite bad boy, Don Draper?  Is he growing up?  Changing?  Realizing that his drunk, womanizing ways are not the best path in life?

In this episode, The Summer Man, along with the change in season, we see the continuation of a changing Don Draper, after the phenomenal Don/Peggy episode of last week.

We start with a dip in the pool at the New York Athletic Club where Don can’t even get through a full length of the pool without almost coughing up a lung.  But, as Don says it tough to get in that first time, once you are in your are free and you don’t even sweat.  There is nothing like a good swim to clear your head.  But, you do have to love our freshly showered Don Draper coming out of the gym, putting on the cool shades and lighting up.  Maybe it’s the smoking that’s making it tough to swim?  One step at a time.  You still look great.

Along with the swim, comes a decrease in the alcohol consumption and the start of journalling.  Yes, I said it.  Don Draper is journalling.  Writing down his thoughts and feelings.  A man from the 60s writing down his feelings.  Heck a man from any decade writing down his thoughts and feelings.  Amazing.

This new Don Draper finally gets a date with Dr. Faye and he’s such a gentleman.  So impressed.  Is this something that we should get use to or will our old Don be back?  Not sure which I want?  New Don will be good for a while.

Then there was poor Joan.  As Dr. Faye said to Don, when you are out of sorts you should look at the calendar, because something is probably about to happen.  For Joan that’s basic training for her husband.  For Don, it’s his son’s birthday, who doesn’t know him.

Joey treated Joan horribly and if that happened in the current day and age he would have got a lot more than fired.  Was glad to see Joey leave and to see Peggy do the firing.  It was time for her to stand up and make a point to those boys.  What will the dynamic be now?  You do have to feel bad for Joan.  She really doesn’t have any friends and not doing much to help herself, as she tells Peggy off for firing Joey.  Joan is going to go through a rough couple of months.

Of course, as mentioned before we had to deal with Betty and Henry this week.  Henry driving into Don’s stuff.  Which Don ended up throwing in a dumpster.  So there, Henry.  And what is going through Betty’s head?  Jealousy of Don’s life?  Missing Don?  Wishing she didn’t have the kids to deal with?  What?  Betty also has some demons to deal with.

Was glad to see Don show up to baby Gene’s birthday party.  Our Don is a changing man.  And with Dr. Faye’s story, I think that he really heard what the moral was.  “Kindness, gentleness, and persuasion win where force fails.”  Maybe we should all think about that…..

And just a final observation that I’ve had before, I’m always amazing how nothing is missed on this show.  The gyms, the restaurants, the apartment buildings and even the tab on the can of beer.  Yes, Don peeled back the tab on the beer to open it, just like the old days.  Impressive.  And the restaurant where he was having his date and ran into Betty, Barbetta, is one that people would have frequented at the time and still do.  And the apartment building where Don dropped little Miss Blow Job off at, was a place for women only to live.  The Barbizon.  Great job Mad Men!

TV Season Premiere Season – Returning Shows

As my excitement builds to the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year, tt’s time to take a look at all my favourite returning shows.  Starting this week (w/o Sept 13th), they start popping up in the TV schedule.  I don’t know that there is a better time of the year than Season Premiere Season and I know there’s a bunch of you out there that feel the same.

Let me first apologize if the embedded videos do not work for you in Canada.  I can only access American content even though I live in Canada.

Now, let’s see, where to start?  Let’s start with the first one to premiere.

Parenthood (NBC/CityTV 10pm Tuesday September 14th) – This show was a pleasant surprise last year.  With a power house cast, from Peter Krause (previously on Dirty Sexy Money and Six Feet Under) to Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) to Dax Shepard and Craig T. Nelson (for those of who can remember he was our favourite Coach). Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, have given us this great show that looks at 3 generations of one family all living back in the same town with all their interesting quirks, ups and downs, fights and laughter.

House (Fox/Global 8pm Monday September 20th) – What can I really say about House?  If you aren’t already watching this one, not much I can say or do.  It’s smartly written and keeps me coming back season after season.  Welcome back Dr. House.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS/CityTV 8pm Monday September 20th) –  When it comes to comedies, this has to be one of the best.  The cast of characters are so perfectly suited for each other and the comedy just keeps coming.  Neil Patrick Harris plays a great womanizing straight guy.  His “Barney Stinson” is someone you just want to grab a drink with, because you know it’ll be a laugh.  Saying that, it’s the whole gang that will keep you laughing.  And of course there is always the question, will we meet their “mother” this season?  Former House star Jennifer Morrison will be joining the cast for a few episodes this season as a love interest for Ted.  Will this be the moment we’ve all been waiting for?

Rules of Engagement (CBS/CityTV 8:30pm Monday September 20th) – I don’t know that many of you have given this show a chance.  But it is quite entertaining.  With a cast of David Spade, Patrick Warburton (you may not know the name, but you this guy’s voice and the egotistical characters he plays), Kate Hudson’s cutie brother, Oliver Hudson, and some great female actors who keep all these guys in line, it’s worth a try.  Here’s a taste of the laughs they create.

Two and a Half Men (CBS/CTV 9pm Monday September 20th) – Here’s another show that if you’re aren’t watching it, I doubt you will jump on the band wagon now.  But you will probably enjoy watching it in reruns on a raining Sunday afternoon.  We all know lots about the life of the famed Charlie Sheen.  His character on this show is not that much of a leap.  I’ve had the opportunity to see a taping of this show live.  And wow, this team of writers and actors really know what they’re doing.  Never more than two takes per scene.  They can hit the beats for a good laugh.

Modern Family (ABC/CityTV 9pm Wednesday September 22nd) – I don’t know why, but I was late to jump on board for this show.  I’m kicking myself for it.  But, I think that I’m caught up now.   This was by far the best comedy that came out of the last TV season.  It is so smart, funny and the cast of characters is awesome.  All I can say is that if you’re not watching this show, you have to.  It’ll be worth every minute.

Cougar Town (ABC/CityTV 9:30pm Wednesday September 22nd) – I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does have a good group of characters/actors and the writing is pretty good.  The supporting characters really help this show along.  You know many of them from shows like ScrubsChrista Miller, ER/Dawson’s CreekBusy Phillips, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding and FelicityIan Gomez.  Plus of course Courtney Cox who I think is enjoyable in this show.  And she brings her “Friends” along to guest star.

Community (NBC/CityTV 8pm Thursday September 23rd) –This is another show that I was late to party for.  This unique and odd group of people attending Community College definitely create some laughs.  Joel McHale and Chevy Chase join a group of other favourites and some newer actors, as they come together as a hilarious community college study group.  Heck, it’s on Thursday nights on NBC, it’s got to have something to be worth watching.  Check it out.  And by the way, Betty White will be on the premiere.  She’s one busy woman.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS/CTV 8pm Thursday September 23rd) – I really love this show.  I HIGHLY recommend this show.  It’s hilarious.  I’m in no way a fan of the same things as these very intelligent characters (Star Trek, comic books, and science) but the way that it’s presented it’s fantastic.  And the theme song is by the Barenaked Ladies, plus it’s catchy.  Side note:  there are not enough catchy theme songs out there any more.   One of the leads, Jim Parsons (Sheldon) just one the Emmy for his role.  You will love to be confused by him and how set in his ways he is.  The rest of cast from Johnny Galecki (remember him from Rosanne), Kaley Cuoco (from 8 Simple Rules), Simon Helberg to Kunal Nayyar create some great situations that you just cannot help but laugh about.  I could go on for days about this show.  But, if you haven’t seen it before, you can check it out from the beginning on various stations (CTV weekdays at 7:30pm) so that you can catch up and learn where my favourite word, BAZINGA, comes from.

The Office (NBC/Global 9pm Thursday September 23rd) – Another classic show.  Most likely you have watched this one at some time.  You might be partial to the British version or the American one.  Not a lot I can say about this one.  There are some favourite characters returning this season.  Hopefully that will make Michael Scott happy.  However this is Steve Carell’s final season.  So there may be lots planned for this season.  I’ll be there to see what happens for Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the rest of The Office.  But, first a video memory of my favourite scene from last season and maybe one of the best episodes ever of The Office.

Brothers and Sisters (ABC/Global 10pm Sunday September 26th) – What will become of the Walker family after the crazy car accident that ended last season.  This season will see the show jump a whole year ahead from the time of the accident.  The characters should have moved on and dealt with their grief of losing Rob Lowe’s character and whatever other issues came from the accident and their crazy lives.  This show has an incredible cast of characters that are so well suited to work together.  It does keep my PVR (DVR) busy at 10pm on Sunday nights though, as it’s up against Mad Men.  And come on, I’ll be watching Mad Men in real time and enjoying Brothers and Sisters later in the week.

I think that my PVR is getting a bit scared of all the work it’ll have to do in the coming days/weeks/months after having most of the summer off.  Thank goodness for the PVR or what would I do.

Happy Season Premiere Season to all!

TV Season Premiere Season – New Network Shows

To steal a phrase from a classic Christmas carol and the Staples Back to School Commercial – It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Yes, it’s time for the premieres of favourite shows and potential new favourites (and some flops).

Now I’m not in the know or the right circles yet to get the early preview DVDs, so this post is really to summarize what’s coming up, what I’m going to be watching and maybe some initial thoughts.

New Shows:

Mike and Molly (CBS 9:30pm Monday September 20th) – This is from the phenomenal creative team that brought us Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.  They write the stuff that can really make me laugh out loud.  Plus the cast of this show is made up of some favourites like Sookie (Melissa Mccarthy) from The Gilmore Girls (more recently from Samantha Who? with Christina Applegate) and Swoozie Kurtz who has been entertaining us for years in both dramas and comedies.  The rest of the cast looks like they will be able to take the scripts to a whole other level.  This show has everything in place on paper to be a good one.  I really hope so.

Hawaii 5-0 (CBS/Global 10pm Monday September 20th) – A remake of an old classic with an unforgettable theme song.  Even if you were to young to have watched the original, you’ve heard the theme before.  Who wouldn’t like a show that takes place in Hawaii.  A place that many of us dream of going.  This show has got a little something for everyone.  Comedy, drama, action, good looking men and women and beautiful scenery all for the purpose of fighting crime.  With LOST gone we need a little bit of Hawaii, some more time with Daniel Dae Kim , the sarcasm of Scott Caan (loved him in the Ocean’s movies) and I guess that Grace Park and Alex O’Loughlin aren’t too bad either.  Hopefully they all do well by this classic.

The Event (NBC/CityTV 9pm Monday September 20th) – The previews for this one are very intriguing.  What the heck is The Event?  Why doesn’t the President have clearance?  I just have to watch this one because I need to know.  But will I need to invest five+ years to find out what it is?

Running Wilde (Fox 9:30pm Tuesday September 21st) – It’s from the creator of Arrested Development, really do I need to say more.  It should be very smart and entertaining.  Hopefully it’s not canceled before it needs to be like Arrested Development was.  Additionally, you’ve got Will Arnett and Keri Russell (who I loved in Felicity and was very funny in the movie Waitress) who look like an interesting couple.  Let’s see what this one is like.

Better with You (ABC 8:30pm Wednesday September 22nd) – This show looks like it might be fun.  I’m happy to see Debra Jo Rupp back.  We all loved her as Kitty on That 70s Show.  And I admit I do enjoy Joanna Garcia who’s been on a few shows that have ended up being canceled, but was also great in Reba.  So let’s hope that this one has a chance.

The Defenders (CBS/CTV 10pm Wednesday September 22nd) – As a lover of Vegas, there is no better place to stage one of the only shows that looks at the side of law from The Defenders point of view.  People get into a lot of trouble in Vegas.  The team of comic master Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell, I feel will be a enjoyable one and provide some good laughs through some bad situations and silly criminals.

Undercovers (NBC/CityTV 8pm Wednesday September 22nd) – It’s new from J.J. Abrams, so I really have to give it a chance.  Seems a bit Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but playing for the same team.  And they use the tactic of Sexpionage.  Doesn’t that sound interesting.  Need to learn more.  I’ll give the show a try.

$#*! My Dad Says (CBS/CTV 8:30pm Thursday September 23rd) – Now I’m still waiting to get the book at the library, but what I’ve read, while loitering at the book store so far, seems funny.  The question is will it be a good show?  Will William Shatner make it work?  I loved him in Boston Legal, but what will he be like in this one.  I guess we will see soon.

Outsourced (NBC/Global 9:30pm Thursday September 23rd) – For any of use who have called a call centre and ended up in India or for any of us who have worked for companies where our call centres were outsourced, I think we might find this kind of funny (pretty much everyone).  I really want to give this show a chance.  I think that I will get some good laughs out of it and the interesting characters they’ve put together.

Blue Bloods (CBS/CTV 10pm Friday September 24th) – A show about a police/law family headed up by the NYC Police Chief, Tom Selleck, should be a good one.  Plus Donnie Walhberg and Bridget Moynahan add their special talents to this one.  It’s a police show we haven’t seen before.  There are so many families where generation after generation wear the shield and this show will look at it from that point of view.  What’s it like to sit around that dinner table on Sunday nights?  Good or bad for this show is that it’s on Friday nights.  Not a lot up against it, but not a lot of people watching on Friday night (but that’s why we have PVRs/DVRs).  All the best.

I’m sure there will be other shows that I’ll try on for entertainment, plus the mid-season replacements.  But I’ll start with these.  Check out my returning show summary in the next few days.  And check out the fall schedule.

Mad Men – Season 4 – The Suitcase

Peggy vs. Don.  Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston.  Which was a better fight?  I didn’t see the actual boxing match, but I would have to say the match between Peggy and Don was a pretty good one.  One that I think was long in the making and well worth the wait.  But who won that one?  One other point, Don and Peggy’s struggle lasted all night, where was the boxing match was over in seconds.

Who doesn’t love a Peggy and Don centric episode.  What a range of emotion and the depth that we saw in their friendship.  Who ever said that guys and girls couldn’t be friends?  This is quite a relationship between Don and Peggy.

Peggy doesn’t have a very good 26th birthday.  Don rips her a new one about the suitcase campaign, she meets up with Pete’s wife Trudy (his second baby mama) in the bathroom, where Trudy proceeds to tell her that she still has time (little does Trudy know), then Don ruins her birthday when he decides they need to work since he has no where to go and is hiding from the truth of Anna death.  Deep down I think that Don knows that there’s no one else in his life like Peggy and she’s the one that can help him get through this.  Even though he makes it so tough for Peggy.  Peggy did have one high light (sort of) when she got flowers and a job offer from the gross, drunk guy Duck.  Really Peggy what were you thinking with that guy.

Peggy is pulled in both directions that night.  How many times did she make it to the elevator and not get on?  I think at least 3.  Was Peggy being pulled back because of wanting to excel at her job or is it that connection that she has with Don and that she feels for him.  Sympathy or pity or just plain friendship.  To bad that Peggy was being pulled by her annoying boyfriend who had gone and invited all the people that she doesn’t really like to her birthday.   Her mom, sister, brother-in-law and weird roommate.  Hopefully we’ve seen the last of him and Peggy can meet up with that cool artsy guy she kissed at that party with the lesbian a few weeks ago.

Back to Don and Peggy.  The range of their relationship was presented so well and we got to see it continue to build.  There was more emotion is this episode than we’ve seen in ages.  We only seem to see Don cry when Anna is involved.  Peggy and Don were brought from anger to tears to laughter to comfort through one evening.  After the night of ups and downs, secrets about co-workers, compliments, $100 lost in seconds, a first trip to the men’s room for Peggy, a fight between drunks, passing out together on the couch and sharing a deeply emotional moment, Peggy and Don were still friends in the morning.  It was the moment after the phone call, that confirmed Anna’s death, that really said it all.  Crying, Don describes Anna as “the only person in the world who really knew me.” Peggy rubs his back. “That’s not true,” she says.

I completely expected Don to be all cold and Don-like in the morning.  Like the night before never happened.  But when Peggy was rudely woken up by her annoying co-workers in the morning, not looking her best, she checked in with Don.  Looking like nothing had happened and he had got his beauty sleep, Don shared his idea with Peggy for the campaign.  Not so sure about it, Peggy agreed with it.  Don acknowledged the evening and what they shared with a “couldn’t have made it with out you” hand squeeze.

Oh Don Draper, you aren’t half bad.

Mad Men – Season 4 – Waldorf Stories

First off, congrats to Mad Men for winning the 2010 Emmy for Best Drama.  You are so deserving of that honour.

Who would have ever thought that we would see Don Draper being the one almost begging for something.  With that flashback of Roger’s we got to see just that.  Don was all wet behind the ears and ready to take on the world from the fur company, he was working for, when Roger needed a little something for his little something on the side at the time, Joan.  Don would stop at nothing, even almost stalking, to get a job with Roger at his agency.  I do look forward to learning more through Roger’s flashbacks, for his memoirs, about how Don became the cocky, Clio winning, ad man that he is today (in 1965).

Yes, the Clio’s.  Any of you in the ad world will know these well as they are still handed out today and still an award that’s sought after.  Every ad person wants to win an award for their work, especially for bragging rights with their peers from the other agencies.  Don, Roger, Pete and their good luck charm Joan attended the awards and came out winners, just before they had to head back to the office and pitch the Quaker people.  Yes, it’s important to ride the high of being the big winner, but not always the best idea to pitch new business when you are three sheets to the wind.  Drunk as a skunk.  Slogans are said that will come back to haunt you and make you do things that you just don’t want to do, like hire Roger’s wife’s useless cousin.

That drinking can also lead to you losing a day or two, sleeping with a girl or two and not remembering any of it or your children.  Way to go Don, now you’ve really pissed Betty off.  She did have an important brunch to go to after all.  Maybe cutting back on the drinks of social nature might be a good idea.  No.  That wouldn’t be any fun for us.

The other side to this episode found Peggy faces some issues with recognition and wanting to be more in charge than her experience allows at this point.  Peggy’s having a rough time with her new Art Director, Stan.  Not sure where I was when he got hired, but he seemed to appear out of no where for me.  He’s a bit of pig.  But, the feisty Peggy doesn’t take any crap, other than from Don, and calls Stan on his pig like, “Liberal” views and strips down in the hotel, where they are brainstorming, to see how far her new co-worker will take his liberal attitude.  Got to love Peggy.  You really got Stan’s attention, didn’t you.

It’s always that Peggy who plays Don’s conscious or keeps him in line.  She shows up at his place and has to remind me of the mistake that he made and how he has to fix it.  That relationship between Don and Peggy is so intriguing.  The only woman in Don’s life where there’s not sexual tension (other than his secretary – definitely nothing there), but one that Don will actually listen to, when it counts.

I must say one last thing, I love the way that Dr. Faye keeps Don in line.  When will he break her?  Or when will she break him?

Mad Men – Season 4 – The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

Back to business.  Got to love when an episode focuses mainly on the goings on of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  And this week did a great job.  It brought together the business side and the history of America.  In this case, it was the affect of WWII on Roger and his view of some new potential clients.  You might know this company.  It was just a small motorcycle company called Honda.  Wondering what ever happened to them?

In true Mad Men style, they took into account the characters, their life history and the history and current status of America.  With so many veterans in the workplace at the time, it was the Japanese that were experiencing prejudice as they tried to break into the American market with their customs and rules.  Something that the boys at the agency had not experienced before.  Luckily they have Bert, and his love of the Japanese culture, to help them understand what’s ahead of them.

With Roger forbidding these potential clients, the boys had to work behind his back, which back fires and embarrasses the company with racism towards the Japanese.  Luckily, it’s the creative and cunning mind of Don Draper that fixes the problem while playing the Honda Motorcycle company and their competitors, CGC.

On the other side of the show was the continuing issues between Sally and Betty.  There is one unfit mother.  Thank goodness that Henry came into her life, or who knows what Betty would be doing to Sally by this point.  Obviously, Sally is lashing out at the whole situation between her horrible mother and her over sexed father.  Cutting her hair, touching herself in public and who knows what else.  Instead of trying to help and support her daughter, it’s off to the child psychologist for her.  Interesting thing happened at the psychologist though.  It’s suggested that this might help Betty to talk to someone also.  You think?

I really feel that we are just about to open Pandora’s box though.  Think that Grandpa Gene might have had a hand in some of the issues that both Betty and Sally have.  We will see how this all plays out.  Will it bring those two closer together?  Who are we kidding, Betty won’t get help and she will never believe anything bad about her dad.  What will become of our little Sally?  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks, months, years.

Mad Men – Season 4 – The Rejected

Happy morning after Mad Men or Monday.  Still smiling from another great episode of Mad Men.  I’m just so impressed with this show ever week.  Last night was centred around the egotistical Pete Campbell and the ever interesting and evolving Peggy Olsen. With the news that Pete and Trudy were finally pregnant, you had to know that would really affect Peggy and even cold hearted Pete as he thinks of their history.

Peggy is such an unique character on Mad Men.  While everyone else fits into a stereo type for the era, Peggy really broke the mold.  Peggy is going out there an changing things up for women (or just herself) and willing to try just about anything (not lesbianism though).  Best lines of the night, “I have a boyfriend,” Peggy says. “He doesn’t own your vagina,” Joyce replies. “No, but he’s renting it,” laughs Peggy.  Pure gold!

For what seemed like a naive girl who got knocked up her first week of work, has gone on to become the first female copywriter at the agency without having to sleep with Don to get the position, implied by the secretary last night.  Peggy was disgusted by what was being suggested.  Peggy has achieved her accomplishments with hard work and persistence.  No sleeping around for her.  Not with the right men anyways.  Wait, I guess that’s not true.  But in the end she didn’t change agencies to work with Duck.

We did get to see the two sides of Peggy last night.  The hard working girl with goals standing up to Don’s secretary and the contrast of her softer side when she found out about Pete’s baby.  It was really nice to see their exchanges last night, through words or glances.  Finally showing a caring side to Pete Campbell.  It was their finally glance, as Pete is in the lobby and Peggy heads out to lunch with her new friends, that created a very special moment which made me feel that the book is closed on these two or we are just putting it away on the shelf for a while, so that we can grab it later.

Pete Campbell.  What to say about this guy?  You love to hate him.  He is a “son of a bitch” according to his father-in-law.  But he can manipulate those around him to make himself look good.  Doesn’t work so well with Don or Roger, but those that Pete deems are below him as he climbs that corporate ladder.

Just an aside, I just started to watch the show Community and figured out that Trudy is on that show also.  Wow, she plays very different characters.  Not bad to have two jobs in Hollywood.

The other real funny highlight of the show has to be Don’s new “girl” (used very loosely).  That’s what he needs, a nice older lady who’s dress he will never want to get under.  And she and Don will be the butt of many jokes around the office.  Fun!

The closing scene was very intriguing to me.  Don arriving home watches as his elderly female neighbor wheels her groceries down the hallway. “Did you get pears?” her husband asks repeatedly. “We’ll discuss it inside,” she says.

What does this mean?

Mad Men – Season 4 – The Good News

A Don (Dick) and Joan centric episode.  Great.

I always enjoy an opportunity to see the alter ego of Don Draper, Dick Whitman.  He is just such a nice mix of the sauve-ness (probably not a word) of Don Draper, with the down to earth, caring side of Dick Whitman.  Or at least we see that side of him whenever Anna Draper is involved.  But don’t worry, the episode was book ended by enough of the womanizing, egotistical Don Draper that we do truly love or can’t really do anything but love.  It’s Don Draper after all.

On his way to a trip of definite debauchery in Acapulco, Don stops off in LA to visit Anna.  What he finds out on this stopover changes his life.  This person who loves him unconditionally, is facing certain death and doesn’t know it.  Tough call on everyone’s part to not tell her.  Which begs a very interesting ethical dilemma.  Would you want to know, if there was nothing that you could do about it?  This news does change a lot for Don and it will definitely play a big part as we go through the season and we see how Don must deal with the potential and eventual loss of Anna.

With this news, he cannot continue on his trip and returns to work.  This decision ends up creating, what I see as, a turning point in his relationship with British partner Lane.  Nothing like a few drinks, a good Japanese Godzilla movie, rubbing a huge steak on your pants (pretending it’s a Texas belt buckle), some homosexual comments at a comedy show and hookers to change a dynamic.  Don really knows how to show a very reserved guy a good time.  Didn’t take Don long to compartmentalize his feelings for Anna and find comfort in his favourite hookers arms.  And wow, hookers were $25 back then.  I really don’t know if that’s a good deal or not.  Probably pretty expensive for 1965.  Wow, 1965.  A year full of history for America.  Vietnam, Malcolm-X being shot, and the riots in Watts in LA.  How will this all be addressed by Mad Men.

Now, for one of everyone’s favourite, Joan.  We learned a lot about her this week.  She’s had two “procedures” in her past, but hopefully that won’t hurt her chances to get pregnant with her husband, who has such an explosive personality (but not in all aspects 0f his life).  We did get to see him actually handle a situation this week.  We could see that he truly does know how to do his job well when he was helping Joan after the orange juice incident.  I think that he really changed a lot of people’s view of him, including Joan, and finally she can let someone else handle a crisis.

I must say, I do love the way that Joan handles herself in the office.  She’s a woman who is trail blazer for the time.  Joan takes no crap from anyone and is so professional when she does.

Really another great episode and only a few references to Betty and we didn’t have to see that creepy kid Glen.  I’m sure they will be back soon enough.

Mad Men – Season 4 – Christmas Comes But Once A Year

Second week into season 4 and I’m becoming a happy Mad Men viewer.  Felt a bit strange watching a Christmas episode while sweating hot on the first day of August, but it helped to but a chill in the air, if only for an hour.

The first Christmas for Don as a separated man.  He receives a letter, address to Santa/Don Draper, from the kids.  What a good dad, while heading off to Acapulco for his Christmas,  he’s happy to fork out the dough to his assistant to go out and buy the gifts for the kids.  How thoughtful.  But that’s what was done in the day (not the Acapulco part).  Secretaries, as they were called at the time, not executive assistants, did pretty much everything for their bosses.  As we saw on last night’s episode, they really perform all tasks from shopping to bringing keys to drunk bosses and a few other acts.

This episode really got back on track to the Mad Men that we love.  With the return, of the now sober, Freddy, that odd dynamic between he and Peggy returned.  Old school creative man and new school of thought woman.  Saying that, Peggy is modern, but portraying an old fashioned mind girl to her boyfriend (let’s wait, it’ll be worth it – sure Peggy, you’ve had more partners than junior has, I’m sure).  Can’t wait to see when the truth comes out all that.  Her boyfriend represents what I think Peggy thinks she should be, but she is well passed that now.

Thanks to it being Christmas, we got to see a big blow out office party to impress the Lucky Strike big shooter.   As requested, Joan took the party “from convalescent home to Roman orgy.”  What ever Lee wanted he was to get, including drinks, women and one of those new fan-dangled Polaroid camera, which he was happy to use to thoroughly embarrass Roger with.  Whatever the client wants, the client gets.

This episode opened up many possible story lines for the upcoming season and a huge selection of woman for Don.  Including a consumer research expert, Dr. Faye Miller, the nurse from across the hall and his secretary.  The latter will definitely be an issue.  Don was intrigued, or maybe scared, by Dr. Miller and her insight into him and also her point about how he would be married within a year.   Hmmmm.

One last, albeit creepy, observation, was that kid Glen and what will his role and relationship will be with Sally.  What’s that about?

Mad Men – Season 4 – Public Relations

I’m thrilled to have Mad Men back.  I’ve missed you.  The finale of season 3 was so intriguing.  What was going to come of this new agency with the choice and interesting characters that were asked to join it.

When we join the Mad Men team, they are a couple of months into the new agency and they are out of the hotel room and into an office space that is lacking a boardroom table.  Fun and interesting comedy.  People sitting around in a circle with ashtrays in their laps.  Makes me think that this will be that constant subtle joke as the season goes on.

Now, I love Mad Men and there have been changes with the dumping of the dead wood characters, new situations and new roles that need to be established, but I didn’t find this episode to be that entertaining.  I left wanting more.  That could be that I’ve been waiting for its return for so long.  I guess wanted to know more about the truly interesting characters like Joan, Pete and Peggy.  Not so interested in Betty and her new life.  But, that could just be me and I know that we see more about them as the season goes on.  It can’t all happen in one episode.  That would be a movie, not a series.  Just want it all and want it now.  It needed to centre around Don and Betty and the new agency.  Which I guess is a lot to cover off in an hour.

(Sorry if doesn’t work if you are running off of a Canadian internet provider)

But this episode did seem flat and didn’t really grab me.  Again, I’m a fan and will stick with it, as it can only get better.

As for my friends who decided to start watching Mad Men for the first time on Sunday, I suggest that you go back to the beginning of season one and catch up from there.  This is a complex show with great characters and you need to know their back stories and how they all got to this point.

Glad your back Mad Men, now live up to my expectations.  Please!