The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for May 2012

There’s no number

with one comment

If some of the episodes this season have felt a bit slow on the plot pacing, last night made up for it all. Joan becomes partner, Peggy leaves for greener pastures, Don is back at the creative helm, SCDP lands a car, and we all have to wonder what the hell will happen in these final two episodes. Titled “The Other Woman,” the episode revolved around the twin dilemmas facing Joan and Peggy, namely how they will assess their own worth in the face of an office full of men who see them as secretaries who really want to help out. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

May 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

It’s just he way he is; and maybe it’s just the way she is

leave a comment »

Dear Kathryn,

Well, we wondered at the beginning of the season why there was this focus on how impulsive and reckless Lane can be – I suppose we now know. The earlier Doris storyline (and even the Pete beat-up, which we were oh so gently reminded of this week) helps situate this one; despite the held-together British exterior, what actually holds Lane together seems to be a knack for duplicity and terrible decisions. Unlike other storylines in Mad Men that often feel like they’re trying to talk about something else (gender, politics, consumerism, etc…) this one felt like pure story. As pure story, though, it requires some later narrative pay off, and this leaves me very concerned for what the embezzled sum will do to SCDP’s potential to nab the car and put itself on the map (a nice little parallel there, of course, is that the most expensive Jag was still $2K less than what Lane stole…which shows us just how deep in he is). All that said, what really captivated me – and all of us, I’m imagining – was the lovely interaction between Don and Joan. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

May 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

Posted in Mad Men

The Threat and Thrill of Poison

leave a comment »

Dear Kathryn (“with a K”),

At first I was a little bored by this episode; it didn’t feel like all that much was happening. But then I realized that things weren’t moving because we were instead getting a full, fairly detailed narration of the tension that is going to lie at the heart of every story from now on – the poison that hovers outside the safe spaces. Perhaps the show’s title, “Dark Shadows,” should have clued me into this from the start! But this tension between the threat outside vs. the safety inside was played with in numerous ways – Megan’s reference to Betty poisoning them from 50m away, her concern about the toxins in the smog, and Betty’s sad realization that while she’d had a good week with her Weight Watchers friends, “in here,” she’d had a bad week with everyone else, “out there,” perhaps even the references to the Devil…And so with this theme established, we saw the threat Ginsberg poses to Don, and the almost Betty-like move that Don pulled to avoid that threat. We saw the threat of a younger man who could nab Jane, and Roger’s realization that his selfishness is at the heart of his own sadness. We saw Pete’s fantasy and explosion about Beth on the train – indicating that that story is not going to fade away. And, most exciting of all – we finally got to see Meghan and Betty in the same room…and feel the type of tension that you’d need a damn sharp knife to cut. And I think that’s where I need to start! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

May 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm

When did music become so important?

leave a comment »

Dear Natalie,

I’m sorry I never responded to your post from last week, but this episode seemed to make a strong bookend to the major themes developed there. Especially the lingering questions about Megan’s place at SCDP in relation to her real vocation. It turns out that when Megan’s socialist dad suggested she gave up too soon on her dreams, he did mean acting. I suppose the content matters less to him than the striving and he worried that his favorite daughter was being handed life too easily. It was telling that of all the reasons Megan gave for wanting to return to acting, the one that hit hardest and seemed most compelling was her confession that she felt better failing at an audition than succeeding at a Heinz pitch. She might be “one of those girls” who is good at everything, as Peggy confesses to Joan, but that only means she feels the pull of her own desire more strongly – she can’t just use the barometer of success or praise to guide her way. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

May 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm