Posts Tagged ‘mad men’

Mad Men S7E12: This Business Doesn’t Have Feelings

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Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 7 episode 12:

Episode title: “Lost Horizon.” Maybe based on the 1933 novel by James Hilton, which was the origin of Shangri-La.
Episode timing: Well, they’ve moved into the McCann building. Don was supposed to be driving Sally to school. And Bert Cooper said he wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the summer, so… August? September?

This was a really bleak episode for something that takes it’s title from where Shangri-La originated, jeeze. I guess it’s a pretty bleak series. We knew this.

So the troops have mostly moved over to the McCann building. Seems like for a while (a couple seasons) each episode has been a month after the previous episode.

Don’s new office is about the same size, or maybe even bigger. The first thing he does is test the windows will throw the suicide theorists into a tizzy. Don then goes up to see Hobart and Ferg and gets pumped up. He’s getting welcomed to the club, apparently, and he seems to take a shine to it. Unfortunately, Hobart and Ferg seem to have given the same speech to Ted Chaough (Don hears the same thing said to Ted that was said to him about “taking them up a notch”). So what does that make Don? How many white whales does Hobart have? Also, Conrad Hilton might be back! In the meeting with Miller, Don realizes how much of a part of the machine he is. The meeting is made up of only half the creative directors at McCann. Ted is buying into all this, but is still amused at Don walking out of the meeting. I thought the image of Don looking out the window in the meeting was pretty corny. The VP of Connelly Research has eyes that are very close together.

Seems like this may have been the Goodbye to Joan episode. She’s getting a settlement of $250K to leave McCann, so I’m not sure what else there is to see. She got a bum rap and hit the McCann glass ceiling pretty hard. The episode started with Joan’s welcome wagon at McCann, two copywriters hoping to work with her. “If it’s in it, near it, or makes you think about it, we’re on it.” Joan takes a pass at asking Don for help in the elevator, though she hints at something being wrong. She asks Ferg for help, maybe thinking she still had juice. Ferg takes it as an opportunity to hit on her. Then she takes it to Hobart who, actually seems to be kind of a dick. She was going to take McCann to court, but Roger made her see the sense of settling for half the money that’s owed. $250K in 1970 money is about $1.5 million in 2015 dollars, so she’s still doing pretty good. “Who told you, you got to get pissed off?” “I thought you were gonna be fun.” Ferg is a slime. When Roger has to convince Joan to take the money, she obviously feels like she’s giving up more than half her money. At SCP, she was making a career and getting gratification from her than her looks for the first time. McCann took that away. “”It’s only about the money.”

It occurs to me that this may have been the Goodbye to Roger episode, too, though I hope not. He and Peggy drinking in the SCP office was a fun romp (especially the Peggy rollerskating around the office). Roger needed someone to talk it all out with, to say goodbye with. “We all have regrets.” “No, I did it, I just needed a push.” He tells Peggy a story about the Navy, he was scared, and just needed a push. I’m not totally sure how this applies. If I had more time, I bet I could figure it out. Who knew Roger could play the organ! Peggy walking into the office with the sunglasses, cigarette, and painting was pretty awesome!

Something else occurred to me during the Peggy/Roger scene, though. SCP wasn’t great for women or minorities, but it was certainly better than McCann. Joan and Peggy were able to grow their roles at SCP, but we’ve already scene Joan pushed down, and Ferg hinted Peggy would be, too. They think Peggy is a secretary and can’t even get her office set up. In any case, “You’re very amusing.” Roger’s secretary, Shirley, implied that SCP was an alright place to work.

This couldn’t also be the the Goodbye to Betty episode, is it? When Don goes to pick up Sally, she’s reading a Freud case study, “Dora,” which is about a woman diagnosed with hysteria, with loss of voice as a symptom. Telling!

So than Don decides to go to Racine (Hey, Bert!) looking for Diana, but “she’s a tornado, leaving a trail of broken bodies behind her.” Don wants to find her because, “she seems so lost.” I don’t know if I realized before that she’s the female Don Draper. Or rather, the messed up Don from a few years ago. I don’t really want to talk about this very much.

The scene where Don is about to pee, and then a quick cut to Roger pouring a bottle, I see what you did there, Mad Men.

Why is the SCP office in such shambles? I understand everyone just moved out, but I don’t understand why ceiling panels are missing.

Freaking Harry Crane.

Last song: Ground Control to Major Tom, I don’t think Major Tom ever did come home.

Mad Men S7E11: It’s Gonna Be Great

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Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 7 episode 11:

Episode title: “Time and Life.” (Time Life Building) I’m exhausted and this might be sloppier/less informative than usual.
Episode timing: No clue! When are applications due for Greenwich Country Day?

So, Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) directed this episode. I think this was his first. There were a few really great shots (Pete and Ken in the opening scene, Don, Roger, Ted, Joan having a drink in Don’s office, and the partners after the Hobart meeting.), but I don’t know if that was his doing.

Well, here we go again. The agency is changing! Ohnoes. It’s as if this hasn’t happened once a season since… I don’t know. The agency is getting adopted, absorbed, eaten, swallowed, dissolved by McCann Erickson. “They waited so long, I thought we were safe.” The Partners see this as a bad thing, McCann tries to spin it as something good. “I shouldn’t have to sell you on this. You are dying and going to advertising heaven.” I don’t know what to think! From Ted’s perspective, someone else will be in charge and he’ll be able to just work. Roger’s losing his agency and namesake, and Joan, as far as I can tell, is thinking only about that meeting from earlier in the season where Peggy and her were sexually harassed. “Need you to be the voice of the bright side.” “For the first time I feel like whatever happens is supposed to happen.” “They don’t know who they’re dealing with.” I’m not really sure what Don thinks except he generally does not work well with a boss so we can guess. It just feels redundant, this storyline, and I wish there could be some tension and something happen, without it being more agency upheaval.

(I think Harry Crane was somehow a partner at one of the previous agencies and decided not to sell or something, this makes me chuckle.)

The Partners come up with a plan to keep the agency together by moving to California with the conflicting accounts. “We’ve done this before.” They all feel pretty, pretty, pretty good about it, butttttt Hobart cuts them off and says they’re coming to McCann and that’s it. (“I shouldn’t have to sell you on this. You are dying and going to advertising heaven.” This was just one meeting in tonight’s episode that did not go as planned. Roger and Pete try to convince Ken to move with them. Pete and Trudi try to convince Greenwich Country Day to accept their daughter. (This was funny in that the headmaster kept giving different reasons why he wouldn’t accept her, but the real reason is a centuries-old feud between the Campbells and the McDonalds.) And The Partners telling the agency that they were being absorbed, and them being comically ignored. Basically, no one’s buying what they’re selling anymore. They’re out of touch, which is about the worst thing you can be as an advertising agency. It seems sudden for them to have lost it so quickly, maybe they’ll get it back at McCann.

The other seemingly big storyline was Peggy telling Stan about having a child. Pete sees a kid hug Peggy and gets a look. He remembers. I thought the baby was living with Peggy’s sister at one point, but that is hazy. “You do what you want with your children, I do what I want with mine.” “I don’t know, but it’s not because I don’t care. I don’t know, because you’re not supposed to know, or you can’t go on with your life.” “You don’t know lots of things about lots of people.” Peggy’s mad at that lady for yelling at her, but won’t let Stan judge her for the decisions she makes. It’s complicated and I guess I don’t have a ton to say about it.

I say it every other week, or maybe more, but I can’t get over the fact that the “Don Draper is really Dick Whitman, and shh, no one knows,” storyline isn’t a storyline anymore. There are subtle references every now and then, but it’s just not a source of tension anymore. Why?

Don and Roger messy at the bar was fun. Roger mentions how there will never be anymore Sterlings because his daughter is his only child, like he was. “No more Sterling Cooper, and no more Sterlings.” Obviously, the loss of the Sterling Cooper agency hurts for this reason. Don says something about aspiring to be like Shakespeare or something, and Roger says this drive is what he envies about Don. Don says he envied Roger not having to have this drive. Just a quick little scene about being born rich and born poor, I guess.

Lastly, if you’re still reading, when Don starts to tell The Partners about moving to the west coast, he shuts the curtains. Joan tells him to open them to keep the calm. This struck me as a nod toward transparency being the right way. I wonder if this is a recurring theme I haven’t noticed before, or if it’s a new theme to keep an eye on.

Last song: Money Burns a Hole in my Pocket by Dean Martin

Mad Men S7E10: The Plan is No Plan

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Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 7 episode 10:

Episode title: “The Forecast.”
Episode timing: I didn’t pick up on anything. Is this being left purposely vague? Presumably it’s sometime in May/June since Glen is finished with college and Sally is going on a trip?

In a shortened season, the mid-season malaise tends to happen at an accelerated pace. I don’t feel like much has happened last week or this week. Or, maybe stuff has happened, but not the kind of stuff I pick up on for these recaps. Hard to say!

In any case, this episode is all about the future, as made obvious by the episode title, “The Forecast.” Don’s task for the episode is writing a speech for Roger on what the future brings. He’s stumped and asks Ted Chaough, Peggy, Meredith, Sally… Anyone. “Let’s assume that it’s good, but it’s gonna get better. Supposed to get better.” After thinking about it for 15 minutes, let’s go out on a limb and say Don’s never looked to the future, never been able to, never had a reason to. At the same time, part of Don’s trouble “painting a picture” of the future is his dissatisfaction with his life/advertising. Don seems to be looking for something outside of advertising. More than advertising. He still doesn’t think what he does has much value. It’s why he responds to Ted (a pharmaceutical account) and Peggy’s (to create a catch phrase, something of lasting value) dreams the way he does. They’re valid, but because they’re based on goals in an advertising career, they’re cheap, or cheaper than real dreams. Which Don doesn’t have anyway, or can’t access.

Joan, on the other hand, dreams of charming Richard Burghoff / Bergoff. CHARMING with a capital MING. Joan is still a cool customer, much savvier than she comes off, but she still wants love. Richard wants her, but not to be saddled. “You’re such a disappointment.” “This is not how I saw things. I have a plan, which is no plans!” Joan remains frustrated by her son, “You’re ruining my life.” This felt like they were tying up Joan’s story, the way they tied up Megan last week. That said, I’m hoping for some Roger/Joan closure. “I don’t want to be rigid, it makes you old.”

Creepy Glen Bishop is back, baby, and there’s chest hair for everyone. He’s joining the army because he wants to impress Betty, or rather, he flunked out of college, and he thought if he joined the army, he could get with Betty. I’m half surprised Betty didn’t go for it. Didn’t she let him watch her pee before? Jeeze, Betty. You already said he’s “a fine young man.” “I feel safe because I know you’re mine.”

Don’s selling his house, which means… something. His real estate agent looks like Pete Campbell’s LA real estate girlfriend. She’s having trouble selling the empty shell of a condo because it reeks of failure, “It looks like a sad person lives here.” This seems a bit heavy handed, actually. Don sees the empty house and sees opportunity, thinks of all the stories you can tell with a blank slate. The real estate agent just sees it as a hard sell. Don’s “Sold a lot uglier things than this,” and, “That’s the best opportunity in the world.” Basically, Don’s an empty shell, just like his apartment. He’s always thought this was best (“opportunity”). Some people are beginning to point out that this chameleon act, empty shell lifestyle is not a good thing. In fact, it’s sad. Mathis and Sally both make this point explicitly during the episode, “Anyone pays attention to you, and they always do, you just ooze everywhere.” Come to think of it, I think this is what the episode is about, this is the big take away. “Don’t blame your failure on me” is what Don said to the real estate agent, but in other words to Mathis.

Sally and Betty seem to have made a certain kind of peace, “This conversation is a little late, and so am I,” “Everything’s a joke to you,” but it might just be her maturing and biding her time. A little birdie who I watch with every week thinks it’s interesting/good that Don’s relationship with Sally has been explored way more than his relationship with Bobby. Sally is an interesting character with depth, Bobby and Gene are just there. “You’re a very beautiful girl, it’s up to you to be more than that.” This is Don telling Sally that she can be like Betty, pretty and boring, or like him, pretty and successful. Right?

Miscellaneous
–Did you notice Don told Meredith he’d get the coffee himself so he could get two doughnuts and have an excuse to go into Ted’s office? I thought that was cute, but I don’t know why Don didn’t just ask Meredith to get him two doughnuts. Do you ever feel like there’s less to actually do, but more to think about?”

-Lou Avery is in California, still trying to sell his comic.

-When Sally’s friend was hitting on Don, he told Sally he didn’t want to embarrass her, but it seemed wildly out of character for him to go about it like that in front of Sally. He’s vain, but not THAT vain.

-Last song playing is The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack. Fitting.

Mad Men S7E9: It’s a Sin to be a Ghoul

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Prints and more available through Society6. / Daily Drawing #1863. / Support this daily drawing project on Patreon!

Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 7 episode 9:

Episode title: “New Business.”
Episode timing: Megan mentions the 24th of the month, so maybe a couple months later? The only other reference I noticed was Diana seeming to have been away from New York for a while. I didn’t pick up anything hinting at the date.

My favorite part about this episode was when Diana said she had “a twinge in my chest,” and Don said, “a pain.” I was so excited because this a reference to the Carousel scene from the first season. “Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.” Diana continues to be a reference to all of Don’s women from the past. (To drive this point home, Diana is the goddess of the hunt, worked at a Greek diner, come on.)

I hope we see Diana again. She’s so interesting and sad, real. She tells Don she lost a daughter, and Don thinks she’s punishing herself. When it turns out she’s running away from another daughter, Don realizes… something. She’s a lot like him. Diana living in an empty room contrasts with Don’s now empty house. Diana is living in her pain, wallowing it, and while Don has certainly wallowed, he doesn’t seem to want to remember the pain regularly. Some lines, “Can’t you see I don’t want anything?” “You don’t think I’ve felt grief?” “I know you think you deserve this.” “When I was with you, I forgot about her. I don’t ever want to do that.” Don does want to forget and continues to chase women to be able to… This might be a dumb question, but what’s his main pain? The failure of his family? His childhood? Dick Whitman/Don Draper?

It’s definitely been a while since Don’s double life has been a part of the show, I wonder why. That said, “I know it’s not real, nothing about you is.” Megan wasn’t really talking about Dick Whitman, but maybe she said. “Aging, selfish, sloppy liar.” For the crowd that despises Don, that’s about what they think. “I’m vain.” Yep. Don and Sylvia and Diana and Arnold in the elevator. Yep. (Other people write about the doors/elevators. Check that stuff out sometime.)

Harry Crane is such a dick. When he goes in to tell Don he was going to have lunch with her, he looked disheveled, which had to be on purpose. Harry hits on her and Megan at least has enough self-respect to walk away from him. He’s such a weasel. “Oh, Harry.” With such contempt.

Megan’s mother, Marie, stealing everything from Don’s house was…funny. Marie was mad Megan had to pay for the move, and without changing her tone or skipping a beat, called Megan a whore for letting Don pay for it. And then she clears out the house. And then Megan took a million dollars from Don for the divorce. I don’t know if he had to do that, but she seemed to appreciate it. Now Don can start over fresh with no furniture. Then Roger has sex with Marie in Don’s place, which he knew he shouldn’t have done, but did anyway.

Marie “hates what he’s done to this family.” And she could have been talking about any of the families. This, combined with the reference to the Carousel scene makes me think the loss of Betty/Sally/Bobby/Gene, etc is the big loss. Who knows?

The last story line to discuss in the episode is Peggy and Pima and Stan. I know I shouldn’t still feel like this, but I want more than anything for this story line to lead to a return of Sal Romano. PLEASE. In any case, Pima, a fancy photographer swoops in and seduces Stan and tries to seduce Peggy. Not sure why she was trying to seduce both of them. Wouldn’t she have continued to get work with just Stan on board? Peggy either sees the truth of Pima, or gets Jealous of Stan. Either way, I don’t know what any of this means. “I can feel the tension of your need for my opinion.”

Miscellaneous!

-Betty was on the show for the first time, but I assume we’re not done with her. She’s going to get a masters in psychology because people, “Seek me out to share their confidences.” OK, Betty.

-NAC = “No afternoon calls.” Not bad.

-Don’s secretary references the Manson brothers leading to a funny exchange where Don asks if they’re coming in for meeting.

-Don and Pete have to go golfing with Burt Peterson. Don says he’ll roll up his sleeves and rent clubs. Remember when Burt Peterson got fired from one of the agencies 4 or 5 mergers ago? Pete’s hair is still receding (the actor shaves his hairline back, which is so ballsy) and seemingly asks Don for advice on how to be single.

-The last song: C’Est Si Bon by Yves Montand

Mad Men S7E8: Shit

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Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 7 episode 8:

Episode title: “Severance.”
Episode timing: Pretty sure the speech Don watches took place between April 20th, and April 30th, 1970 (when the draw-down was announced and when the incursion into Cambodia was announced). Nixon was announcing the removal of 150K soldiers from Vietnam. Episode 7 was on or around July 20th, 1969, so about 9 months from then. More importantly. It seems like the Manson murders may have been skipped.

It usually takes me 3 or 4 episodes to get in a groove with the recaps, so who knows how this will go. Not very well, probably. Over the years, Mad Men has had series finales with a lot of upheaval, only to start next season with everything smoothed out. Though it wasn’t a finale, the mid-season break last year had plenty of upheaval, and though this isn’t a premier, there was plenty of everything smoothed out. Whatever the agency was called last year, they’ve been merged into McCann Erickson. Notably, Don Draper is still there, and Cutler is gone. (Ted Chaough is there, to, with a great mustache. And he and Don seem to be friendly.)

The first scene in the episode, with Don casting a fur advertisement, calls to mind Don’s first copywriting job at a fur shop.

Don and Dottie: A waitress in the diner looks like Rachel Katz of Menken Department stores (Don likes brunettes), and I wonder if this half season is going to be a rehashing of all of Don’s multi-episode flings. Dottie had a book by Jon Dos Passos, but I can’t figure out the significance. Don thinks he knows her, Dottie thinks he’s soliciting her, and, well, Don goes along with it. “You got your $100 worth, you can go.” “You got your $100 worth, you can go” is a pretty obvious reference to the ‘advertising as prostitution’ theme throughout the show. When Don goes back a third time, she seems far more gentle, more empathetic. “When people die, everything gets mixed up.” This scene obviously contrasts with Don going to where Rachel Katz’s family was sitting shiva. Rachel’s sister asks Don what he was looking for and he gets that Don Draper puppy dog thing. He still doesn’t know what he’s looking for.

There’s been at least one (two?) airline attendants on the show, so if we are looking back at all of Don’s flings, Tricia from TWA fits right in.

Peggy and Joan: Peggy and Joan have a problem with panty hose (“We had a problem, but we solved it.”) and when they go to a meeting with their colleagues at McCann…it doesn’t solve the problem. Joan is super pissed and Peggy seems less so. Peggy probably (definitely?) has more experience with this, but at the same time, Joan slept with a client to secure his business for the firm. Peggy seems to blame how Joan was dressed, and the years long, unresolved tension between Peggy and Joan is raw. Their relationship is so interesting, because you can never predict how one will respond to the other. Peggy can’t understand why Joan is so pissed because she doesn’t NEED to work like Peggy does. I think Joan can’t really understand why Peggy would take that abuse and not stab anyone. Peggy’s response is to fall in love and Joan’s response is to go shopping. “I want to burn this place down.”

This plot line was contrasted with Peggy’s interaction with her employee Mathis, “You want a raise? Stop acting like a secretary.” And then, “The kind of girl who doesn’t put up with things.” “Funny,” “Fearless.” Peggy continues to be totally in control and totally out of control. “I thought you were a fling, but now I think you might be more.” “I’ve tried new-fashioned.”

Ken Cosgrove: Ken’s story continues to be up and down. His father-in-law is retiring, but a beneficial replacement is stepping in. His wife wants him to quit, and they fight, and the very next day he gets fired by a smirking Ferguson Donnelly and an in-season-form-with-ridiculous-mustache Roger Sterling. (I think Ferg was drinking from a Sterling Cooper Draper Price Mug?) Pretty sure Ken still hates Pete and maybe vice versa? But anyway, Ken goes over all the accounts and writing, “This world is boring.” I think Pete really does envy Ken. Then Ken gets the last laugh by getting a job at Dow to be McCann’s client. “Shit.”

Did you notice in one of the casting scenes Ted Chaough opens the door to let one of the women in, but Pete lets her out? Ted Chaough also has a ridiculous mustache.

Is That All There Is by Peggy Lee was the song at the beginning of the episode AND the end of the episode

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After starting his career as a graphic designer at award-winning studios in New England, Chris accidentally became an illustrator. He’s pretty happy about that. This strange transformation was a result of his daily drawing project that he started in late 2007, in fact he’s still posting a new drawing every day.  Chris holds degrees in Visual Communication Design and Art History from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, where he is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Illustration. He has been the recipient of Gold Awards, Silver Awards, Excellence Awards, Judge’s Awards and the Spirit of Creativity Award from the Connecticut Art Director’s Club as well as BoNE awards from the AIGA and a Silver Award from Gaphis. In addition his work has been published in numerous books and publications including Print Magazine and Communication Arts. His client list includes; Converse, Nike, Chronicle Publishing, Boston Magazine, McDonalds, Scholastic, Harvard Business School Publishing, Warner Music Group, Republic Records.

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