Mad Men

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Decca on Mon May 18, 2015 10:42 am

I should have something really smart to say about the meaning of Don's ending and maybe later I will but for now:

PEGGY AND STAN PEGGY AND STAN. I'M SO HAPPY.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Fiammetta on Mon May 18, 2015 11:47 am

Yes, I also am so happy for Peg and Stan. I think I was rooting for them since the season where they worked in different companies but still had to call each other late at night, just to hear each other's voice.

Pete's ending was also AMAZING.

Maybe Don can go back and rehire Meredith before she takes another job?!

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Instant Monkeys on Mon May 18, 2015 11:54 am

I think I liked it. I think I really liked it.

I admit I was disappointed when Don and his cathartic sobbing over his man pain faded into a Coke ad. But, I think it works for me. Don was good at what he did, and if he can gain some measure of inner peace and then return to being creative -- good at his job and content with that, maybe, like Stan, even if he's not going to change the world -- I think that's all right for him. I don't know.

Even though I am delighted and fine with Peggy/Stan, that was the part of the episode that rang the least true for me -- not that they ended up together, but the swoony phone conversation where she goes from "What??" (so awesome) to "YES I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU TOO OMG." It was...fanficcy, or something, but ALSO, she had just gotten off the phone with Don, who she was worried might KILL HIMSELF, and while I loved their (phone) scene, to immediately segue it into the Peggy/Stan scene sort of gave it short shrift, to my mind. Don/Peggy -- not in a romance sense but just a wanting to see them interact sense -- has always been my favorite relationship on this show, and I would have been OK with the phone call, the "come home," the "I'll talk to you soon," but jumping right to Stan after that, and having that scene feel like I'd been drinking a very subtle cocktail or something and then someone suddenly shoved a Kahlua mudslide at me, just kind of made it get lost in a way I didn't like.

I liked everything else though, pretty much. I am THRILLED about Joan, and Roger's scenes may have been my favorite in the whole episode. I LOVE that he ended up in Montreal with Marie, attempting French and making fun of the other people in the cafe. I think those guys are going to be all right. ("That'll be us someday." "Yeah, in like two years.") And I laughed out loud at his "rich little bastard" line. (Confession: I had 100% forgotten that that kid was Roger's.) What a great bonus to hear Joan talk about what a dipshit her ex turned out to be, too.

Oh, and the Don/Betty phonecall was heartbreaking, but I was so proud of Betty for not only not letting Don roll all over her decision, but explaining to him -- compassionately; the "honey" broke my heart -- that he did this to himself, HE made it so "normal" for his kids was without him in the picture, and now he owed it to them to let them keep that normal. What a nuanced, sad moment. Don's crying made me so sad.

Oh, Pete giving Peggy the cactus -- another moment of, look, we could have been more, but we are this, so let's let the past go. We can't be parents together, but I can give you a cactus, and I have faith that you'll keep it alive for me. Feelings.

Oh, Mad Men. What a ride.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  mokey75 on Mon May 18, 2015 12:33 pm

Instant Monkeys wrote:
Even though I am delighted and fine with Peggy/Stan, that was the part of the episode that rang the least true for me -- not that they ended up together, but the swoony phone conversation where she goes from "What??" (so awesome) to "YES I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU TOO OMG." It was...fanficcy, or something, but ALSO, she had just gotten off the phone with Don, who she was worried might KILL HIMSELF, and while I loved their (phone) scene, to immediately segue it into the Peggy/Stan scene sort of gave it short shrift, to my mind. Don/Peggy -- not in a romance sense but just a wanting to see them interact sense -- has always been my favorite relationship on this show, and I would have been OK with the phone call, the "come home," the "I'll talk to you soon," but jumping right to Stan after that, and having that scene feel like I'd been drinking a very subtle cocktail or something and then someone suddenly shoved a Kahlua mudslide at me, just kind of made it get lost in a way I didn't like.

I totally agree. I know part of it was Stan helping Peggy realize that Don simply isn't her problem any more, but the whole scene just felt a bit ... forced, I guess? The whole time I was watching it, I was glad they'd gotten together but it just seem lifted from some other show.

Don's call with Betty about broke my heart. I had a fleeting thought last week that Betty might have been better off somehow if she'd still been married to Don instead of Henry when the diagnosis came, if for no other reason than Don has been through Some Shit and would be better capable of handling things than Henry, who immediately disregarded her wishes and ran to Sally. They may have been a terrible married couple, but I think Don has always gotten Betty in a way that Henry just couldn't. I'm sorry that everyone else got a happy ending except Betty, but the scene at the end with Sally was sweet.

I'm glad Joan moved forward with her business instead of running off with Whatshisface. I was also glad that Peggy turned her down - those two never could have worked together full time. And I'd like to think that Don came up with the Coke concept, but Peggy finally got her memorable tagline out of it all. And man, Trudy looked amazing getting on that plane.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  punkysdilemma on Mon May 18, 2015 1:08 pm

I am *fully* on board with Don worked out some of his shit, and then figured out how to turn it around to make money, which doesn't necessarily have to negate the working on the shit. I don't think he came back to New York a New Age feelings-speak hippie (he's still got Advertising Hair in the last scene); I definitely imagine it as him figuring out how to bring it all together.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Instant Monkeys on Mon May 18, 2015 1:19 pm

punkysdilemma wrote:I am *fully* on board with Don worked out some of his shit, and then figured out how to turn it around to make money, which doesn't necessarily have to negate the working on the shit.  I don't think he came back to New York a New Age feelings-speak hippie (he's still got Advertising Hair in the last scene); I definitely imagine it as him figuring out how to bring it all together.

On the other hand, I can live with this hypothetical outcome as well. (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spoilers)

mokey75 wrote:I totally agree. I know part of it was Stan helping Peggy realize that Don simply isn't her problem any more, but the whole scene just felt a bit ... forced, I guess? The whole time I was watching it, I was glad they'd gotten together but it just seem lifted from some other show.

Yeah, exactly. I was like "OK, this is great and all, but... (a) how is this on Mad Men and (b) DON? PEGGY, HELLO??"
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Kookla on Mon May 18, 2015 1:57 pm

I had unfortunately read someone's Coke commercial speculation somewhere (just a really lucky guess) but that didn't stop the HA! that emanated from my mouth when the familiar tune started. I liked it when I was watching it, and I love it even more the more I think about it. It's both really hopeful and appropriately cynical.

I adored the Peggy and Stan stuff, just on a personal level. It was schmaltzy, but beautifully acted romance, and I always love that stuff the MOST in shows/movies/books where it's most unexpected. I don't believe that romance exists in a vacuum, and I liked that it was placed, so lovingly, in an incredibly cynical show. :) And Elizabeth Moss sold it, hardcore, with her delivery.

My favourite scene had to be the one between Joan and Roger, for the sheer amount of fantastic and hilarious quotes. "Are you well?/For now. But I'm getting married" and "He's a horrible person" among others. Heh.

I'm not one to re-watch episodes of Mad Men, though I like the show. But this episode is one I think I will watch again and again.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Cynara on Mon May 18, 2015 2:42 pm

punkysdilemma wrote:I am *fully* on board with Don worked out some of his shit, and then figured out how to turn it around to make money, which doesn't necessarily have to negate the working on the shit.  I don't think he came back to New York a New Age feelings-speak hippie (he's still got Advertising Hair in the last scene); I definitely imagine it as him figuring out how to bring it all together.
If I've learned one thing from Tom and Lorenzo, it's that costuming is never incidental on this show, and I think the final scene makes you right, punky. My take: In the final scene, Don's palette (white/khaki) fits the serene/meditating scene, but for the first time in many, many episodes, he's wearing his iconic white button-down and khaki slacks. He's not dressed like a hippie, but a professional. This not only echoes what I think is the correct interpretation (returns to McCann and creates Coke ad, because see Theme A: People Never Really Change), but shows that he might retain at least a little of the peace he's found. He's made peace with himself, and in Don's case that means making peace with the fact that he's mostly a terrible person. But he's not hiding or running or fighting his Dick Whitman past any more. Because finally, he actually IS Don Draper, ad man, full stop, who knows that he has people who love him and he loves them back, however imperfectly. And I think he might actually allow himself to be loved now, but even if he doesn't, it doesn't matter, because he'll always have work.

So it wasn't "Don is D.B. Cooper, iconic vanishing man!" but it is "Don is creator of iconic Coke ad," which totally makes EVEN MORE sense and I love it. But man, I hope the kids live with Henry, because really.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Morning Angel on Mon May 18, 2015 3:59 pm

Kookla wrote:I had unfortunately read someone's Coke commercial speculation somewhere (just a really lucky guess) but that didn't stop the HA! that emanated from my mouth when the familiar tune started. I liked it when I was watching it, and I love it even more the more I think about it. It's both really hopeful and appropriately cynical.

I had too.  It's this piece on Vox.  I couldn't believe they had been right on the money.

I adored the Peggy and Stan stuff, just on a personal level. It was schmaltzy, but beautifully acted romance, and I always love that stuff the MOST in shows/movies/books where it's most unexpected. I don't believe that romance exists in a vacuum, and I liked that it was placed, so lovingly, in an incredibly cynical show. :) And Elizabeth Moss sold it, hardcore, with her delivery.

On one hand, like others have mentioned, it was a bit of an odd placement on the heels of Don's very distressing phone call.  I had a hard time pushing it aside.  On the other hand, I'm so pleased that Peggy got some happiness both on a professional and personal level.   That was lovely.

I really did think the whole show tied up everyone's storyline in a way that was just right.  I really enjoyed this episode.

Instant Monkeys wrote:On the other hand, I can live with this hypothetical outcome as well. (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spoilers)

This is fantastic!
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Francie Nolan on Mon May 18, 2015 5:50 pm

Man, I can't believe it's over. I've been thinking about it all day, and I've come down firmly on the side of liking it.

Cynara wrote:
punkysdilemma wrote:I am *fully* on board with Don worked out some of his shit, and then figured out how to turn it around to make money, which doesn't necessarily have to negate the working on the shit.  I don't think he came back to New York a New Age feelings-speak hippie (he's still got Advertising Hair in the last scene); I definitely imagine it as him figuring out how to bring it all together.
If I've learned one thing from Tom and Lorenzo, it's that costuming is never incidental on this show, and I think the final scene makes you right, punky. My take: In the final scene, Don's palette (white/khaki) fits the serene/meditating scene, but for the first time in many, many episodes, he's wearing his iconic white button-down and khaki slacks. He's not dressed like a hippie, but a professional. This not only echoes what I think is the correct interpretation (returns to McCann and creates Coke ad, because see Theme A: People Never Really Change), but shows that he might retain at least a little of the peace he's found. He's made peace with himself, and in Don's case that means making peace with the fact that he's mostly a terrible person. But he's not hiding or running or fighting his Dick Whitman past any more. Because finally, he actually IS Don Draper, ad man, full stop, who knows that he has people who love him and he loves them back, however imperfectly. And I think he might actually allow himself to be loved now, but even if he doesn't, it doesn't matter, because he'll always have work.

Yes! I saw it this way too, and immediately thought of T&L. It's especially evident when you juxtapose neat and tidy Don in his white button-down with the hot mess he had looked in previous scenes, with his hair all un-Brylcreemed.

I've seen a lot of analysis today focusing on Don being selfish--staying in California and abandoning his kids in their time of need. Maybe I'm being too forgiving, but I sort of see it the opposite way. Don's first instinct was to immediately fly back to New York and have the kids live with him, which, while it is the right instinct for a parent to have, would probably not end well. Don is an alcoholic who is in the midst of a midlife crisis veering into nervous breakdown territory. Like Betty points out, Don has not lived full time with the kids in years, and just seeing him here and there is their normal. I actually saw it as somewhat positive that Don actually listens to Betty and Sally's wishes and does not run back to New York, insisting upon custody while Betty is dying. I think Betty's line, too, about the kids needing a mother, was meant to especially resonate with Don--this is something he of all people should understand. The ending leaves it open enough to think that Don gets his shit together, goes back to New York, and is maybe more of a stable presence in the lives of his kids. That's my rose colored glasses version, anyway.

Jesus, those were three killer phone calls--Don connecting with all the women in his life. The Don and Betty phone call was absolutely heartbreaking. I've never understood the whole "January Jones is a terrible actress" thing. It's really a testament to how consistent the writing and the acting is that when Betty said "I know," I knew she was going to say exactly that, and exactly in that manner. I keep thinking back to The Suitcase," when Don tells Peggy that Anna is the only person who ever really knew him. I feel like Peggy took on that role here, with Don's confessions to her. I'm so glad the show never got them together romantically--that would've been so weird.

I'm glad that Joan and overly tan Bruce Greenwood didn't work out. That was as good of a Joan ending I could have hoped for--Joan is best when she is getting shit done.

God, I so thought Roger was going to shuffle off, with all his talk of his will and his insistence to Meredith that Don's not dead. Instead he's just off being charming in Montreal.

Sigh. So sad it's over.


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Re: Mad Men

Post  Corvus on Mon May 18, 2015 6:51 pm

If I've learned one thing from Tom and Lorenzo,
It's that I had one last chance to make up my own mind about a Mad Men episode before having Tom and Lorenzo tell me how I feel about it, and once again I blew it. So. Lazy.

But even before I read other reviews, I was unquiet about the Coke commercial. If it was just Weiner's paean to what is really in the heart of an Ad Man, then okay. If, though, it was supposed to have actually happened (in the Mad Men world) was it a measure of Don's success because he converted his zen experience into money? More troublesome. From my trusted Pajiba.com, I read this: Don Draper was Charlie Sheen All Along And yeah, that's what I was thinking.

Meanwhile: Betty.  
...Betty's line about the kids needing a mother...
And I said unto my television: "This from you?"
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Kookla on Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 pm

I really don't think Don coming up with the Coke ad is up for interpretation at ALL. Like, I'm 100% sure Matt Weiner's intention was that Don created the ad. I think there's a difference between "ambiguous" and "subtle" and the reveal of the Coke commercial was more subtle in the sense that we don't see Don pitching the thing, or creating the thing, but clearly he's *thinking* of the thing. The constant references to the Coke account in this episode and the episodes leading up to it? The last spoken lines of the show are "New day, new ideas" followed by the seamless incorporation of a dinging idea bell! There's no doubt.

Plus, throughout the episode we get these hints, first from Roger - "He's not dead, he just does this sometimes!" - then from Stan, "He does this and always comes back", and even though the audience is supposed to feel that this time is different (either in a tragic way, or he's finally going to have some epiphany) it really isn't. This is, in fact, what he does. Sure, you can interpret that it's a *little* different this time, because he connected with his fellow man, and he's actually going to go on to create something lasting (telegraphed, ironically by his conversation about creating something lasting in advertising with Peggy a few episodes ago). What happens to him in an interpersonal sense after this point might be up for debate, but the fact that he conceived the Coke ad, within this world, is not.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Morning Angel on Mon May 18, 2015 10:10 pm

The Hamm speaks about the finale.    Not surprised he found his last few weeks of filming difficult given that he was away from the rest of the cast.  Though I do like knowing they were with him when he was doing the calls, because that must be tough to do very emotional scenes if you don't do them opposite the actor with whom you've built up a rapport over the years.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Arabella on Mon May 18, 2015 11:36 pm

Kookla wrote:I really don't think Don coming up with the Coke ad is up for interpretation at ALL. Like, I'm 100% sure Matt Weiner's intention was that Don created the ad. I think there's a difference between "ambiguous" and "subtle" and the reveal of the Coke commercial was more subtle in the sense that we don't see Don pitching the thing, or creating the thing, but clearly he's *thinking* of the thing. The constant references to the Coke account in this episode and the episodes leading up to it? The last spoken lines of the show are "New day, new ideas" followed by the seamless incorporation of a dinging idea bell! There's no doubt.

Plus, throughout the episode we get these hints, first from Roger - "He's not dead, he just does this sometimes!" - then from Stan, "He does this and always comes back", and even though the audience is supposed to feel that this time is different (either in a tragic way, or he's finally going to have some epiphany) it really isn't. This is, in fact, what he does. Sure, you can interpret that it's a *little* different this time, because he connected with his fellow man, and he's actually going to go on to create something lasting (telegraphed, ironically by his conversation about creating something lasting in advertising with Peggy a few episodes ago). What happens to him in an interpersonal sense after this point might be up for debate, but the fact that he conceived the Coke ad, within this world, is not.
Strongly suggesting Don created that Coke ad is also a nice bookend with the pilot, where he came up with "It's Toasted" (when IRL, Lucky Strike introduced the slogan back in 1917).

I was grossed out to see Joan and her lounge lizard boyfriend doing coke at first, but it was another wink to the ending.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Shalamar on Tue May 19, 2015 10:44 am

I dunno; I was kind of meh about the finale. I loved certain parts of it (Steggy 4-Ever!), but Don's journey in that commune or retreat or whateverthehell it was left me cold. (It didn't help that I had no idea who that blonde lady was.)
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Re: Mad Men

Post  naughty zoot on Tue May 19, 2015 2:35 pm

The blonde woman was Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece. She had last been seen in the first episode of season 7, when she called Don needing money and he sent her to Megan's house to wait for him. Megan, seemingly threatened by the pregnant Stephanie, writes her a check and gets her out before Don shows up.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Corvus on Tue May 19, 2015 9:42 pm

Never mind the debate, the interpretation ('not open to interpretation?' This is THE INTERNET), the emotions, the discussion:

THAT STUPID SONG IS STILL STUCK IN MY HEAD.

Thanks, Weiner.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  blixie on Tue May 19, 2015 10:24 pm

I don't remember the original commercial but instead the mid 70's reverb Holiday version. I wish I could say I loved the finale, but I was pretty .....eh. I did tear up during all three Don phone calls to Sally, Peggy, and Betty, and I really teared up with Pete/Peggy's exchange, "A thing like THAT." That was beautiful moment of closure for two people who have earned the right to move on and be happy with genuine forgiveness.

I still don't buy Steggy, especially in one scene of one episode, in the immediate aftermath of an angsty conversation with Don, but I also could appreciate that hearing him in yet another shame/death spiral was enough to make me believe she would seize the dude of the moment/day/hour to be happy in a way he never could or would be.

Thrilled about where Joanie ended up, even if Richard punked out on her, and Peggy turned her down, and Roger and Marie was entertaining, but I was happiest to see Joan/Roger on such good terms about Kevin and his future.

Everything outside the calls with Don was a tedious bore to me, though appreciate the cynical beauty of him trading on his personal enlightenment to sell "coke".

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Kookla on Tue May 19, 2015 11:38 pm

I read it pointed out somewhere that in Season 6 or 7 (can't remember which) they started dressing Stan and Ted in identical colours and sometimes totally similar outfits. Considering the extent to which costuming is supposed to telegraph on this show, I found that hilarious. Peggy was just confused and looking at the wrong one! :)

Even as Stan/Peggy was happening, namely when Stan said he wanted to be with her, was in love with her, loved her, I was just sort of like "Huh. Wow. They actually had him go there." I wasn't thinking much farther ahead than that. It was when Peggy said the line "Because you're there... and you're here" and put her hand on her heart that I seriously got up and clapped my hand over my mouth and said OHMYGOD outloud. Up until that point there was no WAY I thought it was going to happen. Then it happened, and I got... how you say... allthefeels. I like that the scene was able to get that reaction out of me, when I never really cared before.

'not open to interpretation?' This is THE INTERNET
I just mean as far as the actual intent of the author (Matt Weiner) is concerned, if he was so inclined to answer honestly.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  Corvus on Wed May 20, 2015 12:53 am

...the actual intent of the author...
Oh, sorry, meant to follow up on that. Pushed 'send' too quick. To be sure: you are quite correct, there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room for 'Peggy did it' or anything else. And I appreciate that Weiner gives the audience credit for being ept enough to draw the conclusion. Though I do wonder, why be coy? Just show it - there was enough wandering around in the episode that could have been trimmed.) What dismays me (this is the interpretation part) is that given that reading, we have a story where protagonist, however cleverly prefigured in the pilot, and looped back in the finale, has not, after the long, arduous journey, changed, evolved, grown, so much as learned bloody thing at the end. He's not a wiser person, not a better father, not a decent friend, not even a better ad man, just playing in a bigger arena. That's it? That's the end of the hero's journey? Yuck! He learned how damaged he is? How nice, that was not a great mystery. Did he learn that his shitty childhood does not justify his behavior to his fellow man? Apparently not, we were only shown that he can still manipulate people's emotions as good as ever, not that he made any other changes in his life. It may explain it, but he's been shown to be self-aware, if self-loathing, so what progress? When he was doing the Route 66 thing, he actually seemed to be a nicer guy. At least he wasn't inflicting his damage on the people he encountered, seemed to be doing some good in the world.

Anyway, that's why I was hoping against hope that there was an alternate explanation.

P.S. I worry for Peggy and Stan. It did rather seem to (the non-romantic) me that the idea of being in love with him kinda of occurred to her as he was talking and she went with it. But stranger things have worked out just fine. Crazy kids. She's still in for a rough ride at McCann.

P.P.S. Having written all that out, I now want to do a compare/contrast of Dick Whitman and Dean Winchester.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Shalamar on Wed May 20, 2015 11:11 am

The blonde woman was Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece.

Ah, okay, Was she in the previouslies? Because I don't remember her at all. One frustrating thing I often found about the Mad Men previouslies was that they'd focus on something that just happened last week, while ignoring something that happened several seasons ago.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Kookla on Wed May 20, 2015 10:04 pm

Huh, I guess Matt Weiner was so inclined to comment on his intention after all as per my previous post.

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Re: Mad Men

Post  RiverThames on Wed May 27, 2015 9:40 pm

Shalamar wrote:
The blonde woman was Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece.

Ah, okay,  Was she in the previouslies?  Because I don't remember her at all.  One frustrating thing I often found about the Mad Men previouslies was that they'd focus on something that just happened last week, while ignoring something that happened several seasons ago.

One thing Mad Men frequently did, which was equal parts ballsy and annoying, was throw a character in a scene and presume you'd remember them, or just have a new character be there, in someone's life, without any explanation. Like, I never realized when Ken Cosgrove got married-- just all of a sudden, he was.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  Shalamar on Thu May 28, 2015 11:33 am

That drove me nuts. I remember when Season 5 started (I think that's the right season), we'd jumped ahead something like 18 months, and all of a sudden SCDP was full of people I'd never seen before. I don't need anyone holding my hand, but a LITTLE exposition would've been nice.
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Re: Mad Men

Post  RiverThames on Thu May 28, 2015 11:55 am

Shalamar wrote:That drove me nuts.  I remember when Season 5 started (I think that's the right season), we'd jumped ahead something like 18 months, and all of a sudden SCDP was full of people I'd never seen before.  I don't need anyone holding my hand, but a LITTLE exposition would've been nice.

My favorite of those was where I believe we saw Shirley for the first time, and we saw that Dawn and Shirley had a game of calling each other by their own names (as, presumably, comment on how people in the office couldn't keep the two black girls straight). There, I'm pretty sure they were just messing with the audience.
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Re: Mad Men

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