I’m not sure what to think of last night’s fever-dream Mad Men. I am certain, though, that this was one of the most awesome moments ever in the show:
Archive for the ‘Tuning In’ Category
For Mad Men fans, a constant bete noire of the show is its way obscure “next week on” promos, which typically reveal people frowning, sittinng, opening doors, closing doors, frowning…basically nothing.
Handily, someone’s gone ahead and imagined what it would be like if “previously ons” were equally unenlightening.
The other day I was on the road and happened to catch Anthony Bourdain’s new CNN travel show. I doubt I’ll see it again.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing Mr. Bourdain chew and cuss through various exotic locales. But CNN opted to put the show on Sunday night — presumably as not to mess with their weeknightly primetime news block, although I’d argue I’d likely get far more factual info from Tony than from that blowhard Piers Morgan — and my time is already booked, thank you, with Mad Men and The Killing. And those are only the shows that I’m watching. On Sunday nights alone, I could watch Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire or Treme or Downton Abbey or Girls.
But the thing is, I’m full up. I download The Hours and The Americans on iTunes, watch baseball on the treadmill, am loyal to my standby guilty pleasures, Top Chef and The Bachelor. But I can’t commit to any more series, any more main characters and love interests and plot twists and mythologies. I’ve got 2 1/2 seasons of Dexter unwatched on my iPod; I haven’t ever finished the final episodes of Lost. Who has the time?
I know this is the ultimate First-World lament, but there’s just too much good tv.
Friends, we are gathered here today to bid farewell to…the celebrity sex tape?!
According to Vulture, the era of candid videos of C-listers getting it on is over. It’s dead. Done, as done as Ray J (right, who?) singing about how he “hit” Kim Kardashian first.
Wait, is he claiming Kim Kardashian was a virgin when he made a sex tape with her?
I suppose if we’re lucky this is a death that wasn’t exaggerated.
Last night marked the return of Mad Men, and with it, a resurgence of people carping about how the series has lost its mojo, the premiere was too slow, etc. If the past is any guide, they’ll all be enthusing by midseason. Me, I don’t sweat that sort of stuff because I appreciate the intelligence and exactness with which Matthew Weiner and his crew construct each season. As someone pegged it over at the Times, I’m one of those Mad Men fans who is of a “rare breed of conspiracy theorists who trust the system.”
When I look back at early episodes of Mad Men and then watch episodes from seasons four or five, I think of photos of my own family over the generations, and how mysterious and amazing it is to see their clothes and hairstyles, cars and homes, living conditions and marital status changing almost imperceptibly over the course of years or decades, snapshot by snapshot, each picture capturing a moment, but never the moment. Do we make decisions, or do decisions make us? Do we make the times, or do the times make us?
Like my other favourite show of all time, Six Feet Under, Mad Men‘s genius is in making these characters three dimensional and real at the same time as making them emblematic of Big Ideas. They are at once, as Seitz says, family and stand-ins for these universal dilemmas with which we all wrestle. Are we directors in the production of our lives, or merely actors? Can we shape, or must we bend to, time? As Don and Peggy, Joan and Pete have dealt with these questions over the seasons, so have I. I expect you have, too. As with Six Feet… (and stop here for spoilers if you haven’t seen this series — and run right out and get the DVDs), when the arc of each characters’ life played out, counting down to their iconic death scene, I suspect I’ll care about what happens to the folks on Mad Men. Because they’re family, and because they’re stand-ins for all of us.
I need to confront the fact that I’ve thoroughly become a cliché of the urban, well-educated, upper middle-class, cultural elite. I came to this realisation the other day at a work get-together as we discussed the return of Mad Men, the welcome geographic authenticity of The Americans, food blogging, and our shared obsession with NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts.
At least I can hold onto the fact that I have zero interest in Downton Abbey.
I am not a Star Trek fan, but I have a soft spot for Trekkies, possibly because I am a closet nerd and probably because I love the irrepressibly cheesy William Shatner. So, I always keep my eye out for Star Trek news…like the fact that the hot new thing in Shanghai is to dress up like a character from Deep Space Nine.
What? you say. Star Trek in China? I didn’t know they’d translated the reruns to Mandarin!
Actually, it turns out that what’s popular is Star Trek fashion, which, if anything, is even more amusing. An American living there and a visiting friend took advantage of the quick and inexpensive tailors to have uniforms made. When they came to pick them up, he writes, he noticed several other similar jackets — it seems that people coming into the tailor’s shop were so taken, they ordered their own versions on the spot, often with embellishments like matching pockets and crazy colours. “It dawned on me,” he says, “they thought of these cashmere jackets as an edgy fashion statement, not nerd strength lady repellent. My Star Trek uniform…was cool.”
Seriously, don’t you love the idea of throngs of Shanghai-ers dressing like Spock or Worf?