The Moth Chase

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

Archive for June 2013

I Really Don’t Know Love…

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Dear Kathryn,

What a finale! I’ve chosen the line from the Joni Mitchell’s, Both Sides Now, as the title for this post because – wow! – what a brilliant choice for a closing song for this episode. Certainly we had a set of characters searching for love and finding themselves punished by their efforts (Pete’s mother (!), both Ted and Peggy, Roger’s family failures all around – with his first set of kids and with Joan, even though he gets to be with Kevin and, really, Pete too, forced to say good-bye to his daughter while she sleeps…or lies dead…I wasn’t quite sure?! Didn’t she look kind of dead to you??). But it’s the final lines of the song that pick up Don’s story so perfectly: “I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from up and down but still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” After the first season moved away from the “who is Don Draper?” mystery, I wondered how crucial that story would be for the rest of the series. This season, via Bob Benson (who I’ve quite grown to like and hope sticks around for the final season) and his mysterious unfolding, we’ve returned to Don’s early self-creation. The slow seeping out of Don’s foundational lie has been so artfully done – in years of broken relationships, selfish decisions, a hubris that creates his own downfall and, finally, the shaking hands that reveal what we’ve all known all along but just couldn’t admit: Don’s a legitimate alcoholic, not just a cheery drunk. So the idea that it would come to a dramatic point when he’s asked to pitch a chocolate bar (!) felt so ludicrously true to me that I almost held my breath. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

You’re A Monster

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Dear Kathryn,

I loved this episode’s bookends – with Don, in the fetal position on the bed, then the couch, having disappointed quite possibly the two most important women in his life (Megan, then Peggy). At least Peggy has the wisdom Megan lacks, and can call him out on what a monster he’s being. Megan seems willing to put up with being continually tossed aside by her husband (him changing the channel on her soap opera may have been a bit heavy handed there!). But in the same way Betty knows that Don is at home getting drunk (and Megan has no idea), Peggy too is able to call him out on his crap. Still, I’m left wondering just what it is about Peggy and Ted that bothers Don so. Sure, he mentored her, and she’s his proudest protege. And I’ve never really thought Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Get that girl a counselor!

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Sally Draper walks in

Dear Natalie,

How many times is poor Sally going to walk in on adulterous sex? She may not have made it to second base herself yet, but if there were a category in the Model UN on various sexual acts and positions, she’d be on the Security Council. It hardly helps her budding sexuality that each encounter is so loaded with lies, shame, and deceit. Or at least it didn’t seem to help the young Dick Whitman’s ideas of sex. Can someone please call Dr. Edna? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

A Tale of Two Cities

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joan woos avon

Dear Kathryn,

While I know so many people were up in arms about the confusion of The Crash two weeks ago, I have to admit, it was this one that left me a little adrift; perhaps it’s because we were moving between coasts, I felt left somewhere in the Midwest, not quite sure what was going on. With something like The Crash, I can settle into the artistry of it, expecting not to have too much of a narrative payoff. But whenever Mad Men tries to do a ‘narrative’ episode, I find myself wondering: “so what?” Narrative movement just isn’t what this show is really “about,” and so while I didn’t dislike this episode, I can’t say I was all that into it either. I like it when the guys go to LA with their suit jackets and experiment with new girls and new drugs – but this trip out West wasn’t all that different than other trips out West the show has done. Although it was kind of awesome to see Roger get punched in the balls, and now we know that Carnation gets overly emotional about a cross-country time difference, the only real movement we saw was Don’s psyche opened up for a moment by hashish (is that hope or fear that Megan could be pregnant again, and just why would he feel haunted by the private he befriended in the season opener?). But I’m not convinced we had to go to LA to see that. But I suppose, who cares about LA when we could have Joan stepping into total success or total failure? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 4, 2013 at 7:48 am