Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men

Being new to the privileges of cable, I've finally gotten the opportunity to watch that show everybody's been talking about for the last few years. It was just in time for Don Draper's 40th birthday, so now we can have parallel mid-life crisis'. Although the real mid-life crisis seems to be happening to the British guy, who's in his 50's. Maybe I can put mine off for another decade. I'll wait and see what Don Draper does.

Ahh, the 60's, when children rode in the front seat without seat belts, and people actually smoked in elevators (how rude.) The furniture and decor was spot on. I grew up in the 70's, and our house was full of left over 60's stuff. My house was always a decade behind. That's how the rest of us live.

The comparisons to modern life are obvious. Young executives yelling out their window to protesters to "get a job." Uhh, if they could get a job, they wouldn't have any reason to protest. There is a Vietnam War accusation that war is for profit, and young men coming home in body bags is honorable and expected; a discussion that could easily be applied to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have to say, these aren't very nice people. Roger Sterling is an immature jerk. Joan is snob. And the guy with the glasses, Harry Crane is trying a little too hard to be a misogynist, so much so that after noting how queer the party planner was, he ends up wearing a feather boa for the rest of the party. Race is a theme in this episode, and these people aren't blatantly prejudiced, it's much more subtle. They utilize a pattern of exclusion and degrading jokes which is much more widespread and effective at keeping those who are different comfortably beneath them. It's a tactic that is ultimately much more effectively oppressive than any lynch mob would be. Lynch mobs build sympathy for the victims, while exclusion is comfortably ignored.

According to the press I've been reading all these years, Peggy is supposed to be this feminist icon, but she's not. She's an ordinary girl who's plain and insecure. I wonder though if that is how heroes (or heroines) really are. Heroes don't necessarily plan out what they're doing, they just muddle along like the rest of us. In this episode, she seems to be having a hard time with her job. She gives a horrible presentation, and is shocked that her clients don't like it. Then she has the nerve to get snippy with Don for not backing her up on it. This character still has some growing to do, and that journey is what may be inspirational.

My favorite character last night was Pete Cambell, who's sense of entitlement over his talent emboldens him to take on the rich guy, whom I'm guessing, has had his job (and life) handed to him. Gotta love him getting one over on that brat. Loved the plaid blazer too. I've been predicting plaid would be making a comeback soon for a couple of years now; so much so that I bought a pair of plaid pants. They look great with a polo shirt. Pete gives the best line of the night when he says, "Stable is that step backwards, between successful and failing." I'm gonna have to remember that.

Megan's Zoobi zoobi zoo performance was stunning. I'm told she was actually singing "Zou bisou bisou," but whatever. That scene will go down in television history. She also know's how to throw a great party, and is a great hostess. From the look of her friends, she appears to be somewhat bohemian and welcoming of different types of people then are Don's friends. She's much too nice and liberal minded to ever fit into his world, and she's starting to realize it. One of her friends says she's a great actress, but "apparently, not good enough" according to Megan. Do I sense unfulfillment? As for cleaning the house in her underwear -- she sure taught Don a lesson. He taught her a better one though, "Just because you see a white carpet in a magazine doesn't mean it's practical." Remember that baby.

Now I'm going to sit back and relax like Don Draper does it. See below...everybody's doing it.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dark Shadows 2012

I've been waiting impatiently for this trailer to be released, and let me say, it took them long enough. The movie Dark Shadows is scheduled to be released in early May, yet for some reason they decided to wait until March to release the trailer. But it's here now, and members of the Cult of Dark Shadows can start talking.

I'm not ready to dismiss the movie, but I'm not too happy about the direction Tim Burton seems to have gone in for this interpretation. If this trailer is any indication, the movie is a comedy. Now, the original Dark Shadows may have been funny, but they didn't mean it to be. The show took itself seriously, or at least it pretended to. Sometimes, it was even scary. Burton and Depp are playing a dangerous game here. If the fanbase doesn't go for it, the franchise ends before it's begun.