21
Sep
09

Bloodbath at Sterling Cooper

I know the blogosphere is atwitter about Mad Men today, what with last night’s Emmy wins and the latest episode being a real doozy. My two cents:

In his acceptance speech for best dramatic series, MM creator Matthew Weiner, who must be feeling pretty fearless right now, had this to say: “It is an amazing time to work in TV. And, I know that everything is changing, but I’m not afraid of it because I feel like all these different media is just more choice and more entertainment. It’s better for the viewers in the end and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Good attitude, Matthew, though I think your current show probably works best in its old-fashioned, non-interactive, weekly-installment TV format. Having said that,  I wouldn’t mind if Mad Men were beamed, hologram-like, into the center of my living room. Seriously, how cool would that be?

don-ep6Anyway, the show this season is blessed — thanks to its Emmy-winning writers — with a multitude of decent plot lines and several were  fused together seamlessly last night:  the British bosses invade Sterling Cooper (on July 4th, no less) for a little company reorganization; Joan resigns from the agency just as her jerk of a husband is passed over for promotion; Don and Betsy’s daughter is deathly afraid of her new brother because he has the same name and face as her dead grandfather; that folksy, down-to-earth guy Don bonded with at Roger’s party turns out to be Conrad Hilton, who wants (as does everyone) a piece of Don.

MM‘s  tone had, of late, settled into a nice groove: Queasily unsettling and darkly Joan_pensivehumorous with occasional pathos, but little action. So it was a bit of a surprise when, in the midst of last night’s office party celebrating Joan’s “retirement,” unsteady secretary Lois drives a lawnmower — courtesy of new client John Deere — into young, on-the-rise British ad exec Guy MacKendrick, virtually severing his foot. (What is this, Breaking Bad?) So much for impressing Sterling Cooper’s owners with smooth American professionalism! Though the resourceful, take-charge Joan saves poor Guy’s life, if not his foot, with her quick thinking (tourniquet!), the accident was most certainly not good form. Also, MacKendrick will never work in advertising again, according to his superiors, because he can no longer play golf. Nice chaps.

roger-barberAfterward, as blood is wiped off walls and shaken employees huddle, speaking in hushed tones, a typically unruffled Roger Sterling strolls into Paul Kinsey’s office, exclaiming, “Jesus! It’s like Iwo Jima out there!”

“He might lose his foot,” Kinsey intones solemnly, to which Roger deadpans, “Right when he got it in the door.”  I just love him sometimes.

There was also an rare collegial moment between Don and Joan as they sit in the hospital waiting room. Both characters, in their own very different ways, have become voices of conscience and reason amidst the greed, weakness and chaos. Interesting to imagine them as a couple…

I don’t know how long Weiner and team can keep up the amazing work, but I couldn’t be happier with the show.

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