Archive for April 2012
I think the best way to approach this episode is character by character. Seeing as I’m up first, I’m going to be sneaky and take the ladies: Megan and Sally (I’ll leave Peggy and Joan for you, though, and any fellas you want to nab). It was great to get some more context on Megan, although I have to admit, I was left wondering what these dreams were that she had (besides acting?) that her father wanted to see her pursue? Did that one puzzle you too? And were you also left a bit worried by Roger’s response to Don claiming his father-in-law was a communist? But of course the dad wasn’t the one we were focused on. Julia Ormond was fabulous as the drunkard, flirtatious mother! But more on that in a minute. Megan’s central storyline was, of course, her coup of the Heinz campaign, and subsequent gifting of the whole package to Don. There was a moment (in the taxi) where I thought, maybe I’m wrong; maybe Don really is turned on by his wife’s brilliance and the chance to be truly partners with an equal (or even better!). So I felt the shocking gut-shot of realization along with Megan when Read the rest of this entry »
I am sorry it took me so long to respond to your excellent first post on this movie/series/phenomenon. It was not out of lack of interest. Nay, after finishing my dissertation last month and entering that blissful and often illusory state of Free Time, I read this entire series twice in ten days and have since seen the movie twice. The first time through the books (and I think we talked briefly after I had just finished them once), it took me until the very end to decide if I really liked them. I was clearly addicted, but the whole way through I kept thinking “does Suzanne Collins know what she is doing?” Does she, in fact, realize that she is writing a trilogy about the trauma of war and the devastation of violence and loss, or is she just playing around with dystopia? By the end of Mockingjay, I decided she did know what she was doing, but then I worried that it was all too subtle, that the final desolation of Katniss’ future would seem somehow like a happy ending instead of the refutation of that very idea, at least in the way we might have come to expect from The Absolute Bliss of (Vampiric) Eternal Love. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, where to begin about the first Mad Men episode I can remember that played with its own chronological beginnings? I have to admit being a bit slow on the uptake. When the screen closes on Peggy waiting in the dark for Abe to rescue her from her strange day and long loneliness, and reopens on a cheerful Roger bounding into Don’s office to pitch a “debauched and unnecessary boondoggle” in upstate New York, I assumed we were in the next day. Even when it becomes clear that Don is planning to grab Megan and head to a Howard Johnson, leaving Roger behind or forcing him into a couples get-away, my first thought was “how many days in a row will Don make Megan skip work to go to HoJos?” My tired brain didn’t piece it all together until I saw Megan was still wearing that fabulous orange dress. No matter how many orange sherberts Don wants to eat, Megan wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same dress to work two days in a row. Read the rest of this entry »
What a fantastic episode! It was one of those gems that managed to pack so much into 47 minutes, while also keeping to a strong central story line. Like the last several episode, particular historic events framed the episode and infiltrated the consciousness of our characters. In this case, the Charles Whitman shootings at the University of Texas, and to a lesser degree by Britain’s defeat of West Germany in the 1966 World Cup (still a central moment in British self-consciousness marked by the little ditty my English friends like to sing about Germany: “Two world wars and one world cup, do-da, do-da”). Pete’s young co-ed summed up the general reaction with her lovely quote that I stole as the title of this post: “things seems so random all of a sudden.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’m under the impression that this is an unpopular opinion, but I found this movie so much more moving than the book on which it was based. Throughout the entire trilogy, I found myself utterly unsympathetic to Katniss. I wanted to interpret this as my own Capital-esque inability to engage the suffering of trauma when it was on display before me. Despite buying the fact that this was Susanne Collins’ intention, though, the writing never quite let me feel it. The film, on the other hand, captures this theme perfectly, in my view. First of all (as my sister texted me right after she saw it) it’s a lot harder to watch children get killed than to read about it (at least when it’s not Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor sequence, or some other such writing of breath-stealing terror, that is). And so, when Rue is killed, and we watch Katniss bury her in flowers and then just break down in agony…we actually see her psyche shatter.
What I loved about the movie (in contrast to the book) though, is that it reminds us consistently that this is not the first time Katniss’ psyche has shattered Read the rest of this entry »
Well if we ever had an episode that was ‘all about…,’ this one was it: the violent heart of men, being the ‘…’ in that ‘fill in the blank’. But for the first time the theme of the episode got me wondering, how often are the Mad Men themes a fruition of a seed previously planted? When Greg raped Joanie last season (or was it the season before?), it got brushed under the rug so quickly. Nevertheless, the memory of that scene has hung sometimes ominously in the air and other times, much as it would in real life, I suppose, it has disappeared from clear sight. Indeed, there have been moments when I’ve mistakenly liked Greg again, and then quickly wondered if not only Joan, like me, had forgotten what he’d done, but if even the writers had too.
To build a whole episode around this theme of male violence, then, that couched the dissolution of Joan and Greg’s marriage in the Chicago Speck Massacre of mid-July, 1966 was perfect. As the episode explored its theme, and the terror (as well as desire) such violence can incite in the women who face it, I think Ginsberg offered the most interesting thread. Consciously repelled by his colleagues’ fascination with the Speck case, he nevertheless sub-consciously Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s start with Betty, if for no other reason, than to get that story out of the way quickly. We noted last week her conspicuous absence. It feels a bit cheap to me for the absence to give way to the reveal, dun dun dun…she’s now a fat housewife. This might just be me – but I always find the make-up in “attractive character got fat” storylines too distracting to let the story work (think fat Lee Adama on BSG). And, in general, these storylines overdo it (consider the fact that only a year has supposedly passed since we last saw Betty and January Jones is pregnant here AND has make up work done to expand her even further). But what intrigued me about the storyline was this: Roger’s naming of her narrative as “actual life and death” was immediately undone with Betty’s own declaration that she’s been put through the ringer just to find out she’s fat. There’s the obvious symbolism that being unattractive really is death for Betty. But what I find more interesting here is the use of Betty’s near death storyline to bring about the revelation that she doesn’t actually want to be loved. Read the rest of this entry »