Mad Men 5×01-5×02: “A Little Kiss”

I started to re-watch Mad Men in order in August 2010 and write about it on this blog, probably because I was drinking a little bit more than I usually do and that made me feel like Don Draper.  I don’t think my obsession with the show has diminished since I began watching it.  I wish I could talk about it the way I want to talk about it—make big sweeping statements like “At its core, Mad Men is about the plasticity of identity” or “…the sham of the American dream as it’s projected by advertisers” or something about sweeping social change.  It’s all of those and more, but I can’t get the words out the right way.  Perhaps the more I write about the show, the more I will be able to formulate these thoughts into something intelligible.  Here’s what I thought about last night’s premiere.

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Dr. D and the Women

I’m really excited that Mad Men is coming back.  Tonight.  In less than 8 hours.  I began watching Season 4 backwards and then started to skip around when I couldn’t take the emotional roller-coaster known as The Suitcase.  But I made it through the whole thing out of order, eventually (and I’m embarrassed to admit I’m on repeats).

I used to do Mad Men retrospectives on this blog (can they be called recaps if you’re taking the whole series into account?) but I stopped.  (I reread them and I think they could be better; I wrote them in a daily ritual I had that I called “the whiskey sour power hour” in August 2010.)  I had a moment where I had plans to put all the episodes in the order that I liked them, but it became too complicated.  But perhaps one way I can discuss the series by distilling it down to the women who become series regulars and then disappear from Don’s life—or, basically, everyone Don boinks but Betty.  Mad Men is of course, a complex show, so I’m leaving a lot of good territory uncovered, but I am tired of doing work for my paying job.  And so, I bring you my thoughts on a handful of Draper’s numerous women, beginning with Season One.

Have opinions?  Leave a comment.

Le spoiler alert (also, I don’t have cool pictures):

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The Top 8 Fictional Teenage Girls Who Influenced Me As a Teenager

Next to no one is Cher from Clueless when they’re a teenager.  But a lot of us weren’t even Lizzie Maguire, who, while a social outcast in her own way, really could have done a lot worse.  My high school wasn’t anything like the hellish caste system of Mean Girls, nor did morality matter as much as it does in the gossip-fueled judge-fest high school in Easy A (although we did have some religious zealots of Saved!-like proportions). Our high school seemed barely clique-y to me, and I’m actually living proof of that: I was not thin, or pretty, or nice—I was known as “Debbie Downer” and for a streak of “brutal honesty” that put me at odds with a lot of people.  I was known for being an overachiever and (likely) kind of a suck-up who took too many classes.  I was known by my collection of 20 (or so?) Nirvana t-shirts.  I was nominated for prom court and homecoming court, although in the case of the latter I asked to be taken off the ballot because I didn’t want to feel obligated to go to the dance during a busy time of the year (and after not making it to the top 4 of Prom Court, I felt like it was a big waste of time).  Anyway, I wasn’t like the scum of the earth for wearing glasses and being sarcastic, but our high school wasn’t like the ones on TV or like those ones you hear about on the news where the popular kids run wild hazing everyone to death.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel like a misfit or anything, because I often did, and I felt misunderstood and all that crap that everyone feels at that age.  And if you look anywhere on the internet, it’s not like this is going to be a fresh group of teen characters you’ve never heard of before, and they’re mostly all just sarcastic like I am.  But at least I didn’t include Juno!

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Your Mind’s As Warped as Your Ear, Buchan.

Well that was Bottle Rocket.  I had been expecting to have a series of equally analytical posts after that, but they all kind of failed for various reasons.  But I have a bunch of notes anyway so I’m going to make posts and try to commit to something for once.  It felt right to combine my thoughts on Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

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How’s an asshole like Bob get such a great kitchen?

This is my first analytical work in a while.  God it feels horribly ramble-y.

Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson’s first film, but it is the one that I watched last.  As I point out in my introduction to this series, I have grown a little tired of Wes Anderson in recent years, with my frustration reaching its apex during a viewing of Darjeeling Limited.  (Note: since I don’t remember very much of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and since it is a more family-oriented film, I don’t see if as falling into the same traps as Darjeeling Limited, at least for the moment.)  So in this sense that Wes Anderson had become almost a parody of himself, I found Bottle Rocket refreshing.  It is very much unlike most other Wes Anderson films.

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