Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1/Ep2, “Ladies Room”

Ah, meet the women of “Mad Men.” While the premiere introduced us to the titular characters of this show, the second episode delves deeper into the opposite sex. The focus is primarily on Betty Draper, who supposedly has everything she could ever want in life … but then why won’t her hands stop shaking? “Ladies Room” furthers one of the central themes of the show: What is happiness? Not the strongest of outings and a bit heavy-handed on the theme (a “Mad Men” trait, we’d discover), this ep nevertheless plants a lot of seeds for future development, including Peggy’s initial interest in becoming a copywriter. This isn’t one I’d come back to on its own merits, but it does end with the shocker that Don is in cahoots with Betty’s psychiatrist.

Best Scene: Over drinks (in the office, of course), Don and Roger discuss happiness, women, and the merits of psychiatry.

Best Line: Don to the creative team: “We should be asking ourselves, ‘What do women want?’”

Grade: C

Monday, July 28, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1/Ep1, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

It’s all there, right from the start. Seven years later, the introduction to “Mad Men” still holds up as one of the series’ best episodes. It stems from Jon Hamm’s incredible presence, solidifying Don Draper as a force to be reckoned with, but with deep-rooted weaknesses, too. The episode establishes Don as a man who sells products to a society he doesn’t actually feel a part of. Almost every scene is perfect, though looking back the interaction between Don and Pete, particularly Don’s reprimand of Pete’s behavior toward Peggy, seems a touch off. Overall, though, “Mad Men” came storming out of the gates and concluded with an amazing twist—Don Draper is married and lives in the suburbs with his wife and kids.

Best Scene: The Lucky Strike pitch. “It’s Toasted,” indeed.

Best Line: Don to Pete: “Let’s take it a little slower. I don’t want to wake up pregnant.”

Grade: A+