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Boozin’, Cruisin’, and Cradle Robbin’ – A Recap of Degrassi’s “When Love Takes Over (Parts 1 & 2)”

FIONA:  “Oooh, Adam.  I LOVE surprises!  You can’t tell, because I’m wearing a mask, but I’m totally winking seductively at you right now.  Where are you taking me?

ADAM:  “Oh . . . well . . . it’s a really cool place.  Lot’s of celebrities have been there:  Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears . . .

FIONA:  “Wow, it must BE a cool place, if all those famous people went there.  Is it some kind of Hollywood Party?”

ADAM: “Not exactly . . .”

Welcome back, Degrassi fans!  As you probably all know, last night was the mid-season premiere of Degrassi’s “In Too Deep” collection of episodes.  I’ve decided to try my hand at recapping it. 

Well, at least someone is excited about it . . .

So, here’s how it’s going to go.  I’m going to start with Anya’s storyline, cruise into Danny’s, and then, for the BIG FINALE, I’m going to address Fiona and Adam, which, let’s face it, is why you are all really here, anyway. 

So, without further adieu, let’s get recapping.  Shall we?

The Doctor is in (Anya’s Pants).

“Funny . . . this isn’t the way my last doctor tested me for strep throat.”

We kick off the season with Sav looking as DORKY AS POSSIBLE in his toga, and gold crown.  Honestly, I’m not really sure what the get-up has to do with Valentine’s Day (or should I say “Sweet Hearts” week).  But this Degrassi, and this is Sav.  And Sav likes to dress up . . . a lot.   (Remember that geeky cowboy outfit he wore to the Degrassi Hoe-down last season?  I do . . . but I kind of which I didn’t)  So, I’m just going to go with it . . .

“I better be getting paid extra for this.”

Sav’s here so we can all laugh at his outfit to tell everyone that, even though they can’t PDA with their loved one inside the hallowed halls of Degrassi, they CAN buy them cheap half-dead flowers, and take them out to the CHEAPEST DATE EVER, at the Romantic School Cafeteria.  YAY!

Anya’s buying some some flowers from Holly J, who’s probably concerned they will be for Anya’s EX-BEAU, and her current, sort of beau, Cheeseball Sav .  . .

“Buy my man a rose, and I will CUT YOU with its thorns.”

But Holly J. can breathe easy.  Anya just wants to buy flowers for her mom, who’s getting the results of her cancer treatment at the doctor’s office today.  Can anyone guess what those results were?  I’ll give you a hint . . .

OK . . . so Anya’s obviously thrilled.  But why does her mom look vaguely constipated?

Anya’s mom is CANCER FREE!  YAY!  This thrills Anya, put only partially so, as it means that her weekly sort-of dates with her own personal Dr. McDreamy have ended.  Before Anya leaves, she manages to get a peek at the Good Doctor’s date book, which has been conveniently left open on his desk, for her viewing pleasure.  I’ll admit that, when I read the date book at first, I thought it said, “Pizza WITH Leslie – 7 p.m.”  But, it actually said Pizza Leslie – 7 p.m., which by the way is the LAMEST NAME FOR A RESTAURANT, EVER!

The next day at school, Anya tells Holly J. that she’s TOTALLY crushing on Dr. McTooOld, and plans on stalking him that night at Pizza Leslie.  Does Holly J. want to come with?  You bet she DOES!

“Fine, I’ll go stalking with you.  But you’re buying dinner.  I’m poor now, remember?”

Honestly, I’m not sure WHY Anya would assume that Dr. McTooOld would make dinner reservations for JUST HIMSELF (Who does that?).   But, assume she did.  And that night, when she spied Dr. McTooOld alone, by the entrance to the restaurant, she nearly had an “O” right at the dinner table . . .

*sigh*  “Doctor and Mrs McTooOld.  It has a nice ring to it.  Don’t you think?”

But, so far, Dr. McTooOld hasn’t noticed Anya yet.  So, she has this plan for Holly J. to choke on something, so that he can give her the Heimlich, and, in doing so, lock eyes with his Lady Love.  (Way to put your friend’s life in DANGER, so you can get laid, ANYA!)  “I faked a pregnancy for you,” Anya helpfully reminds Holly J., as the latter reluctantly chokes on an olive. 

I think my favorite part of the whole scene, was when Anya called for a doctor, and that Old Guy sitting next to them got up from his chair.  So,  Anya snarled at him to sit down.  “I meant the HOT doctor, dammit!”  (AGAIN!  Way to risk your friend’s life, so that you can pork the Stud with the Stethoscope, ANYA!)  Then this happens . . .

ANYA:  “Get your hands off my friend, Dr. McTooOld.  You are MY MAN!”

DR. MCTOOOLD:  “But Anya, she’s choking!”

ANYA:   “Oh . . . yeah . . . right.  I forgot.”

HOLLY J.:  “Umm . . . there’s something poking my ass.   Do you have a medical tool in your pants, or something?”

So, Holly J. was “saved” by Dr.  McTooOld, who wisely reminds her to be more careful about her olive chewing.  Then some chicky, who’s way more age-appropriate looking for Dr. Too Old than Anya, arrives on the scene.  Dr. McTooOld gives Random Chicky a big old hug, and the two sit down to dinner together.  Oh well!

But Anya is not giving up!  At school, the next day, she calls what I thought was Dr. McTooOld’s cell phone at school to ask him out on a date.  But then loses her nerve, and hangs up.  So, when she gets a call back from “THE HOSPITAL” I was a bit confused.   Since when do First Year Medical Residents have their own line extensions at MAJOR state facilities?

  Maybe, he saw Anya’s number on his cell phone, but called her back on the hospital phone.  Or, maybe, it was just a coincidence.  And he was planning to call her anyway.  Maybe I’m spending way too much time thinking about on a two-second clip for this show .  . .

Anywayyyyyy . . .

Dr.McTooOld wants Anya to go out on a date with him.  And she is THRILLED.  As the site for their first date, she chooses Little Miss Steaks, where Holly J. works.  (And because the name sounds like Little Mistakes .  . . and that’s what this date is . . . a mistake . . . for Dr. McTooOld at least . . . I let out a little giggle here.) 

Because Dr. McTooOld thinks Anya is in college, she tells him she will meet him after her “college seminar . . . at college.”  And it sounded so lame, and was such an obvious lie, that I don’t know how a “smart” doctor like Dr. McTooOld, didn’t put two and two together.  But he didn’t . . .

And so, Anya and Dr. McTooOld went on their little mistake date.  Anya arrives at the restaurant, dressed like a middle-aged woman attending her 40th high school reunion.  The up-do hairstyle, and over large FLOWER necklace, were a bit much for a date at a steak house, where the waitresses dress like cowgirls, don’t you think?  I suspect Anya dressed like this, so she would look older.  But it just sort of made her look like a high schooler attending a 50’s theme dance . . .

At dinner, Anya immediately spills the beans about her LARP-ing obsession.  (Note to the ladies:  This is NOT first date material.  Please save this type of Deep Dark Secret, until AFTER date 3.  K?)  But, guess what?  Dr. McTooOld LOVES that Anya LARPS.  As it turns out, he’s a BIG Dungeons and Dragons fan!  OMG!  It’s a Match Made in Dork-dom! 

(All kidding aside, these two are actually pretty cute together.  And I’m willing to bet, that in real life, their ages are not nearly as far apart, as they are on the show.)

After dinner, Anya wants dessert (Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink).  But Buzzkill Holly J. arrives to tell her she can’t have any.

“Oh . . . that’s right . . . I have CURFEW,” says Anya.  *facepalm*

Now, Anya COULD have said that her SORORITY institutes curfew.  THAT would been a decent excuse for her verbal flub.  But, instead, Holly J. insists that Anya’s curfew is self-imposed, because she is so “conscientious.”  It was a nice try, but it made Anya sound kind of lame.  Not that her LARPing confession didn’t.

So, the date ends early, but it ends well, with a sweet kiss shared by two very attractive, but very nerdy, people . . .

After talking with Holly J., Anya is convinced she should come clean with Dr. McTooOld about her age.  So, she calls him and makes an impromptu office lunch date.  But before she can confess to him, he springs THESE on her . . .

They are tickets to a Renaissance Fair!  *facepalm*  The invitation comes with a fun-filled romantic evening, spent at a bed-in-breakfast nearby.  “I booked two rooms.  So, there’s no pressure,” says Dr. McTooOld quickly.  (Riiight, and you just know that when they arrive at their destination, one of those two rooms will magically disappear . . .)

Anya’s over the moon about the concept of sharing her love for all things Medieval with Dr. McTooOld!  But then, just when she’s ready to leave for her extended date.  This happens . . .

BUSTED!

Anya’s mom is not pleased about the prospect of her daughter getting down, dirty and Medieval, on her overnight with Dr. McTooOld.  And so, she marches her daughter right to the hospital, so that Anya can make her age confession, while her mom watches . . .

AWKWARD!

But, just when all hope seems lost for a long lasting relationship between Anya and Dr. TooOld, she pulls a Hail Mary, by inviting him out to lunch . . .

On their not-so-date, Anya tells Dr. McTooOld that she will be 18 in two months.  And then, they can hook up, without him having to worry about those pesky Statutory Rape charges.  YIPPEE!  Dr. McTooOld agrees to the plan, after all, not many women his age (which is 25, since I realize I haven’t mentioned it before) are big fans of Dungeons and Dragons, and LARPing . . .

“I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller . . .”

It’s your typical love story, really.  Boy meets Girl.  Boy likes Girl.   Boy asks Girl out on a date.  Boy finds out Girl is WAY taller than boy, which makes boy feel inadequate and effeminate.  Girl overhears Boy calling Girl a Giraffe to his friends.  Girl dumps Boy.  Boy gets Girl back, using his limited social skills and shoddy basketball-playing abilities.

Was it a cliched C-plotline?  TOTALLY.  And yet, here’s what I liked about it . . .

Dave’s been such an unlikeable tool of late, that it was nice to finally be able to root for him again.  The way he managed to segway from snarking with a girl about the pair’s shared supposed hate for Valentine’s Day Sweet Hearts week, to scoring a date, should be written up in some Girl-Macking Handbook, or something.  (By the way, what was with the couple making out in front of his locker?  Don’t they know PDA’s aren’t allowed at Degrassi?  What would SAV SAY if he found out? :))

Sadie.  I like her.   Usually, it takes me a while to warm up to new Degrassi characters, because they don’t always initially mesh well with the rest of the cast, and their acting inexperience shows.  But the actress who plays Sadie, actually seems pretty talented right off the bat.   And the character is cute, smart, and spunky.  Plus, her chemistry with Dave seemed natural, and not too forced.

Ahh, the Three Tenners.  Sometimes Connor and Wesley bug me a bit.   But they were ON FIRE this week with their Short Jokes!  And yet, even funnier for me, was how, after Dave and Sadie “broke up,” Wesley switched sides, and tried to list the many benefits of dating a tall girl.  “She looks older.  And can help you reach things in high places.” 

Oh, Wesley . . .

As for Dave’s and Sadie’s newfound relationship, methinks it’s about to verge into the Dreaded Love Triangle territory very soon because we haven’t seen THAT on Degrassi in about two episodes.  How about you?

And now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . .

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab, But I Said, NO, NO, NO (and then Yes)

Remember a few seasons back when Declan was the school’s resident Drama Maven / Play Producer?  Well, it seems as though Eli has taken the reigns from him.  When we first see Adam, he is talking to Eli, about the upcoming school play, which Eli is producing, and in which Adam is playing the romantic lead.  Apparently, at some point, the female lead “Marisol” (whoever THAT is) backed out of the play, because she didn’t want to make out with a transgender person like Adam.

Other girls have read for the role.  But none are as good as “Marisol,” at least in Adam’s estimation.  Adam offers to resign from the play, to make things easier on Eli.  But Eli refuses the offer, because he is AWESOME. 

Eli then suggests that Adam ask FIONA to take the role.  (By the way, am I wrong in thinking that it was established that Fiona was a CRAP actress, back when Declan was directing things a few seasons back?  In fact, didn’t someone FORCE him to fire her from the play, and relegate her to Costume Design instead?  Am I completely making this up?)

The problem, of course, is that Adam is still REALLY PISSED at Fiona for bailing on the party he MADE JUST FOR HER, during the mid-season finale.  So, when Fiona first tries to talk to him at school, he’s kind of cold to her . . .

Fiona apologizes to Adam for skipping the party, by making some lame excuse about her Great Aunt dying.  And Adam doesn’t believe a word of it.  But he loves Fiona so much and wants to get into her pants so baldy, that he lets it slide.  So, Adam asks Fiona if she’d be willing to star in a play where she has to kiss him.  And when she AGREES, he makes this face . . .

“Awwwwww yeahhh, I’m the Pimp Daddy!”

We are then treated to a little clip of Fiona “auditioning” (Casting Couch Much?), and I’m surprised by how NOT SUCKY she is, especially considering what she was like the last time we saw her audition for a play . . .

“Why is ‘She takes her top off’ added in pencil here?  I don’t remember that from the original script.”

I’ll admit, I was cracking up laughing, when Eli starting baiting Adam, as he drooled over Fiona’s audition.  “You liiiiiike her.  You luuuuuuuve her,” crooned Eli, adorably. 

(By the way, if anyone out there has ever seen the movie Miss Congeniality, I’m pretty sure that this scene is a sendup to the classic one from that movie, where Sandra Bullock’s character has just been made over, and she starts singing to her prospective love match, “You really liiiiiike me.  You think I’m sexxxxxy.  You want to daaaaate me.”  Just sayin’.)

Oh, and as for those Degrassi Drama shirts Eli and Clare are wearing in this scene:  I WANT ONE!

No one should be surprised to hear that Fiona got the part, or that Adam “generously” offered to come over to her condo that night to help her get naked “rehearse.”

When Adam arrives at Fiona’s house, she acting flighty, and (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!) drinking like a fish . . .

Adam, of course, wants to practice the kissing scene first.  However, before Adam can tongue Fiona, he has a confession to make (insert dramatic music here).  He’s transgender. 

“Well . . . duh!”

Fiona claims that she immediately knew Adam was transgender, because she grew up IN NEW YORK, where EVERYONE IS TRANSGENDER.  (Yes, I’m from around there . . . and yes, I’m being sarcastic here.  I just find it funny how the media likes to portray New York City, as way more exotic than it actually is.)  Adam is pleasantly surprised that Fiona STILL wants to kiss him, even though she knows his backstory.  “”I’d rather kiss you than any other guy at this school BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY A LESBIAN,” says Fiona.

And then she spills champagne all over Adam’s crotch . . .

“Awwww yeah!  She wants me to take off my pants.  I’m a TOTAL PIMP!”

Fiona then rushes to get Adam some of Declan’s clothes, which were conveniently lying around the apartment for this exact circumstance.

YAY!  A Declan reference!

Fiona and Adam then share a sweet moment, while Fiona is fixing Adam’s tie.  (Ummmm . . . if they are just hanging out around the house “rehearsing,” WHY is he wearing Declan’s TIE?)  Adam wants to play Truth or Dare with Fiona.  She choose “truth.”  He wants to know why she ditched his party.  “You look at me, like I’m this perfect princess,” she admits.  “I’m scared that once you realize that I am not, you will get sick of me.”

Now it’s Adam’s turn.  He chooses “dare.”  Then THIS happens . . .

So, Adam is understandably crushed, when, the next day, Fiona tells him that their hook-up was just a “One Time Thing.”  Needing some manly advice, Adam regales Eli with the gory details of his Hot Night with Fiona.  He wonders whether Fiona only made out with him, because she was drunk, as Clare had more or less suggested, when he told HER.

  Eli thinks the opposite is true, “In vino veritas,” Eli explains, looking Super Sexy and Not-at-all-Effeminate in his Man Scarf.

I used this picture before, but it bears repeating . . .

Adam doesn’t know what the heck his friend is talking about.  So, Eli elaborates.  “When people are wasted, they do things they REALLY want to do, but wouldn’t have the guts to do, if they were sober,” Eli explains, more or less.  (I ad-libbed a bit here.)

That night, Adam arrives at Fiona’s place to return Declan’s clothes . . .

Declan Reference #2

He also tells Fiona that he is going to resign from the play, because he can’t bear porking Fiona’s character on stage, if he can’t pork her in real life too.  But wonder of wonders!  Fiona DOES WANT TO PORK ADAM!  Yippee!

Fiona invites Adam for dinner, and proceeds to chug down a glass of champage, like it’s going out of style . . .

“Thirsty?” Adam asks, with a bit of concern.

Fiona carelessly explains that in France EVERYONE drinks before a meal.  Remembering Eli’s whole “in vino veritas” speech, Adam suggests that Fiona DRINK MORE!  And his evil plan works!  Because THIS happens . . .

WOWSA!

Things seem to be going great for Adam, until Cock Block Holly J. comes along, and messes everything up, by point out how TOTALLY WASTED Fiona is!  Fiona insists she’s not drunk, however, and blows Holly J. off.  So, Holly J. reluctantly leaves with some concerned advice to Adam on how to take care of Fiona if she “goes off the rails,” and her personal cell phone number, if he needs her.

Adam shows up late for rehearsal the next day, and again, “kisses and tells” Eli and Clare about his Hot Night with Fiona, The Sequel.  But Clare’s concerned that EVERY Hot Night with Fiona seems to involve LOTS OF ALCOHOL.  So, she invites Adam and Fiona to double date with her and Eli at the Romantic School Cafeteria . . .

But when lunch rolls around, Fiona arrives to the double date late, and (SURPRISE) wasted!  (How do none of Fiona’s teachers realize that she’s drunk all the time?)

I had to laugh, when a slurring Fiona plopped down at the table and proceeded to HIT ON CLARE. “You have really beautiful eyes.  That top you’re wearing just doesn’t do them justice . . . Call me!”

ELI:  “You will NOT call her!  I saw the promos for the upcoming episode, and know all about Fiona and her . . . preferences.  I’m the only one allowed to tell you that you have nice eyes.”

CLARE: “I saw the promos too.  And you’re lucky I’m even talking to you right now, considering what they say about YOU!”

Afraid that a teacher will catch on to how drunk Fiona is (like I said . . . how have they NOT yet?), Adam pulls Fiona outside.  “Drinking makes it easier . . . being with you,” Fiona drunkenly explains to Adam, while the two are huddled together on a bench in the school hallway

“You are drinking because of ME?”  Adam asks.

“See?  You DO understand,” Fiona coos.

“No, I don’t,” scowls Adam, as he storms off.

The next day at play rehearsal, Fiona is late AGAIN, and Adam is heartbroken.  “I want what YOU two have,” he whines to a PDA-ing Eli and Clare.  (DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO SAV?  NO PDA!)

Then Fiona comes and conveniently tells Adam that she’s in LOVE with him (Where the hell did that come from?)  So, he forgives her for the 80th time this hour. 

Later on in the day, Holly J. tells Adam that Fiona is an alcoholic, and her family wants to ship her off to rehab ASAP.  They will be holding an intervention for her after school, and think Adam should come.  But Adam doesn’t want to lose Fiona, so he tells her that they’ve got to GO AWAY together NOW.  (Way to be an ENABLER, Adam!)

Adam and Fiona rush home after school to pack their bags.  But Fiona doesn’t get very far with hers . . .

Did I mention that RALPHED all over herself and the carpet!  (Ewwww!)  Realizing that he can’t deny Fiona’s drinking problem any longer, Adam sneaks off to call Holly J.  He has agreed to take Fiona to the intervention.   (Hopefully, he cleans her up first!)

“Hi.  I was wondering if you could tell me how you get vomit stains out of cashmere?”

After telling Fiona that he is taking her on an Exotic Vacation Getaway, Adam blindfolds Fiona, and drives her to the Intervention.  He doesn’t even let her change out of her pukey clothes, first!  Now, that’s just rude!

FIONA:  “Something smells funny.  What is that?”

ADAM:  “It’s YOU!”

To be honest, I was kind of excited for the intervention.  Because I thought, for sure, that Declan would be there.

DECLAN!

After all, his MOM came in for New York for the event, so why the heck didn’t HE?  Actually, Fiona’s Intervention was the lamest one EVER.  In fact, the only people in attendance, aside from Fiona herself, and Adam, were Holly J., Fiona’s mom, and Fiona’s . . .  maid?

“Where is my brother?  And why don’t I have any friends at my intervention?  And why is there vomit in my hair?”

Fiona is understandably pissed at Adam for betraying her.  So, she kicks him out of the “party.”  He’s understandably crushed.  And my heart goes out to the guy . . . really.

The next day, Adam is back to third-wheeling it with Eli and Clare, when Holly J. stops by to assure Adam he did the right thing.

Check out how Clare is in the background, pretending not to be listening in on Holly J.’s and Adam’s conversation,  even though she TOTAL is!

Holly J. informs Adam that Fiona has been shipped off to rehab.  Adam worries that the love of his life will never forgive him.  But Holly J. doesn’t seem particularly concerned.  To prove it, Holly J. TOTALLY violates every friend code in the BOOK, by giving Adam a page from Fiona’s JOURNAL . . .

The “journal” entry is a love letter Fiona wrote to an unnamed person, who “just left [her house]” and who she “can’t stop thinking about.”  “There are a million reasons why we shouldn’t work.  But, despite all that, I really, really hope that we will,” the letter concludes.

Adam, of course, is thrilled, because he assumes that the letter is about him.  However, those of us who saw the promos for upcoming episodes, are hesitant to rejoice with him.  After all, isn’t it possible, given what we know, that the letter is about Holly J.?

Watch this promo, and you’ll see what I mean . . .

And that was “When Loves Takes Over (Parts 1 and 2)” in a nutshell.  Now, that I’ve said my part, what did YOU think of the episode?

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Filed under Degrassi: The Next Generation

Swimming with Sharks – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Summer Man”

Anyone out there who thinks that the writers of Mad Men don’t care about their fans, clearly hasn’t watched the show’s last two episodes.  Last week, Matt Weiner & Co., showed their love, by offering up one of the best-written, most hilarious, and most poignant hours on television of all time.  This week, that same group of writers chose, as a framing device for their episode, the image of a half-naked Jon Hamm, swimming laps in a crystal clear pool.

It just doesn’t get much better than that, Folks! 

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men was, more or less, split into three distinct storylines: (1) Don Draper’s first brave steps in the Wonderful World of Relative Sobriety, and his attempts to “tame” the three blondes in his life;

(2) Betty’s temper tantrum, as a result of seeing Don out with another woman, who is basically her doppelganger (minus a few years);

(3) and Joan’s struggles with her her husband leaving for Vietnam, and with office bullying.

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Often-Unappreciated Art of Navel Gazing

Dear Diary,

Sometimes, I find it a curse to be so damn attractive.  For example, this morning I was two whole hours late for work — all because  I couldn’t stop staring at myself in the bathroom mirror.  And all those WOMEN!  And all that SEX!  A guy can only have so much sex!  You know, I’m not in my twenties anymore.  I often have nightmares that, one day, the darn thing will just shrivel up and fall off . . .

“When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him,” Don writes in the opening moments of the episode.

As he ruminates on the meaning of life, we are treated to alternating shots of our Sexy Scribe: alone in his apartment; swimming laps at the local pool (yay!); and taking a few moments to bask in the summer sun, on his way to work.

Given the vast amount of guffaws and snorts he and Peggy had at Roger’s expense last week, I would hate to think Don is hypocritcally self-indulgent enough to draft his own memoir.  (Although, admittedly, THAT would probably be a pretty juicy read.) 

No.  I actually think Don’s daily journal writings serve much the same purpose as his daily visits to the pool.  They are meant to re-instill in his life a certain amount of discipline, and to help him organize his recently liquor-clouded thoughts. 

 “They say, as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem,” Don posits, via voiceover.

Admitting THAT to himself, must have been a real punch in the face . . .

Through Don’s narrative, we not only learn how flowery his writing can be, when he’s not pitching advertisements, we also learn that he never graduated high school.  While it is obvious that this is a source of embarrassment for Don, and yet another skeleton in his closet, upon learning this, I couldn’t help but once again be impressed by how far Don came in life, despite such vastly humble beginnings.  “Drinking Problem” or not, you can’t take that away from him.

But, alas, it is tough to be sober in an office full of drunks  — particularly when you have an enabling secretary, like Miss. Blankenship.

Since she has started working as Don’s secretary, regularly refreshing the Executive’s booze supply, is probably the ONLY task she HASN’T screwed up . . . unfortunately.

“I’m set!”  Don growls, as Miss Blankenship offers him what looks like the entire top shelf of the local sports bar, thereby threatening to erase ALL the progress Don exhibited during the aforementioned earlier scenes.

“You are . . . and then you’re NOT,” retorts Dame Edna, fresh off a cataract surgery, which, if it is at all possible, seems to have left her even blinder than before, despite her claims to the contrary.

“Bring that stuff back to the store, and get me some cigarettes,” demands Don.

Ahhh, spoken like a true AA member . . .

And yet, unlike the members of that organization, Don has NOT quick drinking cold turkey.  To do so at a place like SCDP would, at best raise eyebrows, and, at worst, isolate Don from his colleagues.  (Speaking of Outcasted Sober Dudes, where has Freddy Rumsen been lately?)

Singing karaoke at the local cabaret, perhaps?

Don’s daily battles against the All-Mighty Bottle were perhaps best exhibited in a scene where he, Peggy, Ken and Stan were ironing out a new pitch idea for Mountain Dew.  The world literally went silent for Don, as he stared at Peggy’s pouty lips.  In all my naivety, I initially wondered whether the Dapper Don had recently fallen for our Peppy Peggy, as a result of their intense bonding session last week . . .

 . . . but then, when he started eying Ken’s and Stan’s lips too (as well as the ice clinking against the inner rims of their scotch glasses), I knew I had been mistaken.

Meanwhile, Don learns that Baby Gene (Toddler Gene?)’s Second Birthday Party is the upcoming Sunday, and Papa D is not invited.  In fact, he has been explicitly dis-invited,  both by Betty . . .

My people are Nordic.

 and Betty’s new husband, the increasingly dour, Henry Francis.

My people are A**holes.

To Don’s credit, rather than stewing over this, he spends his evenings dating people who look suspiciously like Betty . . .

“Every time I go out with you, it feels like we are on a first date.”

“Which one are you again?”

To help refresh Don’s memory as to who she is, Bethany does something to Don in the backseat of the cab that I can’t really tell you about here.  This is a Family Blog, after all.  I CAN show you, however.

Just substitute the bottle for an overused part of Don’s anatomy . . .

“To be continued,” coos Bethany lasciviously, as she crawls over Don to get out of the cab.  (Good lord!  I hope she didn’t leave any “unfinished business” behind!)

Sexually satisfied, but clearly unimpressed, Don writes in his diary, “I bet she spent all night coming up with that line.”

Then, just to show he’s a “true gentleman” with “no ill intentions” he finishes off the entry with a wishful thinking passage about Bethany’s bunkmates at the Barbizon hotel “touching themselves to sleep.”

Yeah . . . you stay classy, Don Draper!

Also touching herself to sleep, while dreaming of Don is THIS LADY . . .

. . . who I’ve referred to only as “Marketing Research Lady” since this season began; because, honestly, she never seemed all that important.  However, now that she has officially become Don’s Next Conquest, the character will hereinafter be referred to by her REAL name, Faye.  Don and Faye are working on something together in the office (But I don’t know what, because I’m still not 100% clear as to what exactly it is this woman DOES), when he suggests they relocate to a restaurant somewhere nearby.

Having struck out quite a few times with Faye in the past, Don knew he had the Green Light this time, because he overheard Faye breaking up with her boyfriend because . .  . she doesn’t cook.

(Hey Don!  I don’t cook either.  Would you like to go out with ME? :))

“Just so we’re clear here.  You are asking me out to dinner?”  Faye inquires, in a thick New Jersey Mob Princess accent that would make Carmela Soprano proud.

“Oh Donny!  This one’s a REAL KEEP-AH!”

Don admits that, yes, he is asking her out on a date.   So, Faye suggests something a bit more formal, and non-work related.  That night, the pair go out someplace fancy.  And I’ve gotta say, if Don’s and Bethany’s dates always seem like first, Don’s and Faye’s first date seemed much more like a THIRD, if you know what I mean. 😉  The two engaged in genuinely intelligent conversation, both revealing bits of their personal lives to one another.  Don even discussed his guilt over not being able to attend Baby Gene’s birthday.

In the taxi on the way home,  like Bethany, Faye also started getting VERY friendly with our Don Juan Draper.

Well . .  . maybe not THAT friendly.

Unlike Bethany, however, Faye doesn’t seem to be the “To Be Continued” type.  Instead, she immediately asks Don where his apartment is . . .

And he DENIES HER!

Remember, this is a man who, last week, probably wouldn’t have denied sex to a Friendly Armadillo . . .

Don tells Faye that he’s going to just walk her to her door.  “Because that’s all I can do right now.  I’m not ready to say Good Night, yet.”

Awwww!  Look who’s being a Real Gentleman for a change!  YOU GO DON!

These actually belong to Faye . . .

In yet another mature moment for the episode, Don cathartically tosses away the items he had in storage in Betty’s garage . . .

 . . . and attends Baby Gene’s Birthday Party!

That’s a WHOLE LOTTA self improvement, for a guy who, just last week, was puking on himself, and losing fist fights to Duck Phillips!

Baby Betty Needs a Bottle

“But Dad HENRRRRYYYYY!  You said we could go to the CANDY STORE after dinner.  I WANT CANNNNNNDDDDY!”

The Honeymoon Period is SO over, at the Francis / Draper residence!  This fact becomes more than evident, when Henry takes Betty to a business dinner with an important political consultant, and the group has a run-in with Don and Bethany . . .

AWKWARD!

Betty basically flips out.  She’s uncommonly icy (even for HER) to Henry’s important dinner guest, drinks gimlets like a fish throughout the meal, and then rushes off to hide in a bathroom stall, until the meal is over.  In the car on the way home, Henry spanks Betty and sends her to Time Out accuses her of being a child, a wino, and a drunk, who is not over her first marriage.  (Awww, how sweet!) 

The next morning, a very hungover and bleary-eyed Betty apologizes profusely for her bad behavior.  Henry accepts the gesture, but still seems kind of pissed.

And yet, Daddy Hubby looks on with pride, as Betty gallantly hands Baby Gene over to Don at the tot’s birthday party, a moderately believable plastic smile pasted on her face the whole time.  When Henry asks her if she is OK with Don’s presence, she replies in the affirmative.  “We have EVERYTHING!”

But do they, REALLY?

The VERY Brief Rise and Fall of Joey Baird

It looks like we’ll have to wait until they put you on another TV show, before I get to see you shirtless again.  Dammit,  Matt Long!  Why did your character have to be such a DOUCHE!

*Winks and waves at Shirtless Joey*  “CALL ME!”

*Squeals with joy at the news that SCDP now has a vacancy in its Art Department*

When the episode opens, Ken, Stan, Joey, and this random no-named new guy, who seems to have magically appeared during this episode, and yet everybody on the show acts like he’s been there the whole time . . .

“Who the heck are you?”

 . . . are loudly bucking the office vending machine, which somehow ate Joey’s watch.  “I feel like I’m Margaret Mead,” jokes Peggy, as she observes the male species in its natural habitat, hunting for a Rolex.

Then Joan, who I normally adore, but, in this episode, at least, was somewhat of a, to use her own words, “humorless b*tch” (not that she didn’t deserve to be, under the circumstances), storms outside to yell at the boys to keep it down.

“Yes, MOM!”  Joey yells out after her.

Enraged at the part-timer’s sheer disrespect, Joan calls Joey into her office to let him know that she “has a problem with him now.”

“What do you do all day, besides walking aroun this office, like you’re trying to get raped?”  Joey inquires.

Oh, he did NOT just say that!  WHO says stuff like that?  What were you, raised in a BARN?

When Don asks Joan to switch Joey over to full time so that he can put in some extra hours on an important account, Joan bristles at the thought of seeing that goat chew cud around the office Monday through Friday.  So, she stretches the truth a little bit.  “I’m not sure he’s the right fit.  I’ve been hearing complaints.”

“From who?”  Peggy inquires, having at least started the season being fairly tight with Joey Goat.  (Remember the whole John / Marsha bit, from Episode 1?)

“OK.  Let’s hear one dirty story,” suggests Don, gamely.

But Joan refuses to reveal a “dirty story” about Joey Goat, and Peggy becomes suspicious.  Later, she pulls Joey away from a Casting Couch session with Harry . . .

“Oh Joey!  You’re so handsome.  Do exactly as I say, and I can make you the next Jed Clampett . . . *points to autographed picture on his desk*

“He can play my pet goat!”

 . . . and warns him to lay off Joan, who clearly has it in for him now. 

“Listen, every office has a Joan.  My MOTHER was a Joan.  She even even wore a pen around her neck, so everyone would stare at her tits,” Joey retorts

(WOAHHH, Nelly!  Oedipal Complex much, kiddo?  The only time you should be staring so intently at your mother’s rack is when your breast-feeding.  After that, it’s just icky!)

But office Bully Goats are the least of Joan’s problems.  At home, she is faced with the lingering threat of her husband dying in the Vietnam war.  In a feeble attempt to be helpful, Dr. Greg suggests that Joan won’t even miss him while he’s gone, because she will be so busy hanging out with “all her friends at work.”

(No wonder you were such a bad surgeon, Dr. Greg.  Your timing SUCKS!)

Joan, of course, bawls at this comment, thus closing off any chance Dr. Greg ever had of getting laid that night.

Lots of these going around tonight . . .

The next day, Joey Goat and his Goat Posse . . .

. . . are targeting Joan once again.  But this time, they use artwork . . .

. . . specifically, “artwork” which suggests that Joan is doing THIS  . . .

 . . . to Lane . . .

“Oh my!  Who knew my Beefsteak Belt Buckle would be put to use again so soon!”

Peggy is in Joan’s office, when the picture is discovered.  So, she is understandably horrified, on Joan’s behalf.

But Joan just calmly walks outside and tells the artists, more or less, that she doesn’t like them, and hopes they all die in Vietnam.

“So . . . in other words . . . you DON’T wanna sleep with us?”

Peggy, in a rare attempt at sisterly solidarity, approaches Don about Joey’s bad behavior toward Joan.  While Don agrees the cartoon is reprehensible, he encourages Peggy to handle the matter on her own, so as to gain the respect of her peers.  Peggy pulls Joey Goat aside and insists that he apologize to Joan.  “That’s what I hate about working with women.  They have no sense of humor,” remarks the Tool.

Unable to reason with the bastard, Peggy fires his ass.  Off walks Joey Goat into the sunset, teeny tiny tail between his legs.  “Party’s over, boys,” he brays to his entourage, fielding one last invite for “drinks etc.” from Harry, before shutting the door on SCDP for good.

“That was Baaaaaaaaaaad!”

In the elevator on the way out of work, Peggy encounters Joans, and eagerly gives her the good news, about how she single-handedly sent Joey Goat to the Glue Factory.

But Joan is unimpressed.

“I defended you,” Peggy pouts.

Joan claims she was handling the matter in her own way, by meeting with the client at issue, and quietly having Joey taken off the account.  “It’s the same result,” Peggy mumbles. 

“All you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary, and you are just another humorless bitch.  Have a nice weekend, Peggy.”

That couldn’t have felt good . . .

While Joan’s prophecy is quite possibly true, her nastiness to the woman who could have one day become the lonely office manager’s ONE female friend in the office seemed unnecessarily harsh.  It couldn’t have been easy for Peggy, who has always wanted desperately to be “one of the boys” to fire a former friend, and risk being ostracized by her co-workers, as a result. 

This elevator exchange further delineates the different paths these two women chose, in creating their futures: Joan representing the more traditional early 1960’s woman, both cunning and overtly feminine; and Peggy representing the New Feminist, independent and career-oriented.

So, what did you think of “The Summer Man?”  Do you believe Don will stick to his strict regimen of swimming, writing and drinking in moderation?  Is Faye a Keep-ah?  How long do you give Betty before she’s embroiled in a second divorce?  Can Joan and Peggy ever truly become friends, despite their differences?  Would you ever watch a television show produced by Harry Crane and starring Joey Goat? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

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For a Good Time, Call . . . – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Suitcase”

 

Coincidentally, both the best . . . and the worst nights of your life tend to be the ones that end like this . . .

Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men reminded me of one of those long crazy Friday nights during college.  The ones that seem to go on forever, traversing across varying locations, moods, and states of inebriation, all the while, becoming increasingly more bizarre as the hours wear on.  Nights like these will ALWAYS bring you closer to the people with whom you spent them — even if you can’t remember everything that happened, and some of the stuff you do remember, you wish you could forget . . .

Unfortunately, for Don, WE will remember EVERYTHING he did last night.  We even have the incriminating pics and GIFS to prove it.

Don’t worry, Don.  At least you didn’t hook up with Miss Blankenship!

“HEY!  It was just that one time!  Why are you cutting my balls off  . . . again!”

So, without further adieu, let’s relive the wildest and craziest, yet most heart-warming, night in Mad Men history!

Tuesday Night’s All Right for Fighting

Note:  This poster is from the FIRST Liston / Clay fight, which took place in 1964.  The rematch referred to in this episode, occurred on May 25, 1965, which, I guess, makes Peggy a Gemini . . .

When the episode opens, Harry is doling out tickets to his fellow ad men, so that they all can watch the Liston / Clay fight, which will be streaming live from a movie theater.  (Pretty high tech for 1965 – no?)

Typical Guy Banter abounds.  The men insult one another’s masculinity (or lack thereof), excessive frugality, and religious affiliations.  They then start arguing over who will win the big fight and placing bets.

Then Don shows up at the office two hours late for a meeting.  He is clad in his sexy bowler hat, but is looking slightly less than sexy, with his rheumy bloodshot eyes, cradled by both dark circles and bags the size of Samsonite suitcases.

Jerky “I can’t work naked in front of Peggy, without getting a hard on” Stan tries to kiss Don’s butt, by making some lame comment on how “Sonny Liston would be a great ad man.”

Uhhh . . . Stan?  You’ve got a little something on your nose.

To which, Don replies, “Clearly, he’d be a better one than YOU Yes, he would.  I’ll put my money on Clay.”

(Sidenote:  It’s interesting how, Don put money on Cassius Clay in the office pool.  Yet, he derided Clay’s arrogance, during his evening with Peggy, AND claimed to have LOST money, when Clay knocked out Liston.  Coincidence?  Or was Don so drunk, he simply forgot who he put money on?)

Don then calls the guys and Peggy into his office, so they can pitch him their proposed television advertisement for the Samsonite account.  In my opinion, the gang puts on a pretty good show.  The pitch is a football-themed celebrity endorsement, starring Joe Namath (Who knew he’d been playing for that long? Not me . . .).  The concept was that a Samsonite suitcase was so strong that Namath’s “wimpy girlfriend” (Peggy) could protect him from being tackled, using the suitcase alone as a shield.  But the best part of the pitch, in my opinion, was New Guy Joey, who does a pretty adorable Namath impersonation.

Unfortunately, he was fully clothed, at the time.

Sadly, Don does not have the same soft spot for Joey Baird that I have.  He despises the pitch.  And, after letting the guys off with a slap on the wrist, he REALLY gives it to Peggy.  “I’m so glad you are at a place in your career, where you feel comfortable failing,” he remarks cuttingly, with the officious air of an impossible-to-please father, who asks his daughter, who just got a 98% on an exam, where the other two points went.

Duck, Duck, Goose-d!

Duck Phillips:  The best man to bone, during a presidential assassination.

A miserable Peggy, who’s pretty much having the worst birthday morning EVER, arrives back at her desk, to find flowers and a gift from a guy who’s name, appropriately, rhymes with F&*k.

“I’m going to give you a go around, like you’ve never had.  Quack!  Quack!”

At least SOMEONE has remembered her birthday!  Peggy calls Duck to thank him for the flowers.  He then tells her that just CAN’T WAIT for her to open his AWESOME birthday gift.  She does so, while he’s on the phone with her.  And it’s . . . wait for it . . . a . . . business card.

That was LAME, DUCK!  Get it . . . “lame duck” . . . because his name  . . . nevermind.

Apparently, Duck has “big plans” to go all Jerry Maguire on the advertising world.  And he wants Peggy to leave HER job, so that she can play the Renee Zellwegger part.

“You complete me, Peggy Olson.  I’m starting my own company!  Who’s coming with me, aside from this fish?”

However, since Peggy’s no dummy, she sees right through Duck’s “marvelous offer.”  “You got fired . . . and you’ve obviously been drinking,” she replies matter-of factly, politely blowing off his claims of love, and his intense “need to see” her.

Well, played Peggy.  Why spend your night with an Ugly Duck-ling, when you can have a Swan?

 OK . . . it’s an alcoholic, and, sometimes, VERY mean, Swan . . . but it’s a Swan, nonetheless.

The Art of the Backhanded Compliment

In the bathroom, Peggy encounters two women, both of whom, in their own “really nice” way, make her feel like total crap.  The first is receptionist, Megan . . .

. . . who’s prissiness, intelligence, and ability to make “kindly” cutting remarks, make her the quintessential Joan 2.0.  When Peggy tells Megan her age, Megan replies in a manner that deftly straddles the line between jealous, uninterested, and vaguely patronizing, “Well, aren’t you doing well for yourself,” she coos.

Worse, is Pete’s wife,Trudie . . .

 . . . who is SO pregnant with Pete’s baby, she’s about ready to pop.  (Look familiar, Peggy?)  After remarking on how “witty” Peggy is, Trudi tries to “comfort Peggy” with a not-so-subtle jibe at her rapid approach toward spinsterhood.  “26 is still very young,” she offers “sweetly.”  (You know, that’s the thing about Trudi . . . I always want to hate her.  But I really believe that she thinks she’s being nice, in this situation.)

Meanwhile, Don blows off Roger, who is being faced with a forced evening of sobriety . . .

 . . . when he is tasked with watching the fight, alongside a client, who just so happens to be a recent graduate of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Don opts instead to stay in the office and work on ideas for Samsonite account.  He’s also hoping to avoid making a phone call that he KNOWS will bring him bad news . . .

If you recall from a few episodes back, Anna Draper  . . .

 . . . the only woman who ever seemed to truly love Don, warts and all, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  And so, when Don receives an urgent phone call from Anna’s niece, he knows the worst has occurred.  Yet, he can’t bring himself to return her call, just yet, because doing so would make the loss real.

But if Don’s working late, to avoid his problems, he’ll be damned if Peggy isn’t working with him . . .

Short Fuses and Broken Engagements

Peggy is about to head out of the office for an “oh so romantic” night out with her, about-as-exciting-as-a-root-canal boyfriend, Mark, when Don calls her into his office, to discuss the Samsonite account.

After taking a big fat dump on all of her ideas, Don, once again, treats Peggy like a child, forcing her to bring her artwork into the office, so they can go over it together.  “We’ll do this RIGHT NOW!”  He scolds.

Assuming the petulant teen role, Peggy rolls her eyes, and mumbles under her breath, causing Don to yell that classic parental unit phrase, “What did YOU SAY?”

I half expected him to add the also ever popular:  “Don’t you dare talk back to me!  I do too much for you to be treated like this.  Do you want to be grounded?”

But he didn’t . . .

“If Daddy wasn’t always ignoring me, so that he could drink and screw secretaries, he’d probably say those things to ME too . . .”

Peggy’s spanking is briefly interrupted, by a series of phone calls from, Wet Blanket “Yes, I AM that Important” Mark, who keeps wondering why she is so late for dinner.

As it turns out, Mark is not alone.  After all, his idea of a romantic dinner, apparently, involves having a lively party, filled with wild and crazy guests . . .

Don’t you wish you were there?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure WHY Mark thought it was a good idea to invite Peggy’s ENTIRE family, who she despises, to her private birthday dinner.  He said it had something to do with her always wanting to be surprised.  But I don’t really buy it.  Here’s hoping he wasn’t planning on proposing . . . because that would be all kinds of pathetic .  . . and, yet, would fit his character completely.

Anyway, so, Peggy keeps blowing off dinner, to continue being spanked by Don.  So, Mark is hurt, not to mention, completely humiliated, in front of Peggy’s parents.

“I haven’t been THIS embarrassed, since I had to wear those ridiculous glasses on Lost.”

Eventually, Peggy’s MOTHER picks up the phone, and tells her she should feel lucky that a “catch” like Mark is interested in her at all.  Mark takes back the phone and agrees with Peggy’s mother.  Then he sort of / kind of dumps Peggy.

Peggy returns to Don’s office, so that he can yell at her some more.  When she accuses him of never thanking her for her good work, Don basically tells Peggy that she should be happy she even HAS a job.  Peggy finally breaks down.  She rushes off to the bathroom, where she bursts into tears.

The whole thing was so heartbreaking, and awful, I almost didn’t want to watch the rest of the episode.  But, BOY, am I glad I did!  Because THIS was when things got FUN!

The Life and Times of Roger Sterling / The Lack of Balls of Bertram Cooper . . .

 .  . . and the sexy lady behind it ALL!

Ever since the ridiculously incompetent Miss Blankenship replaced Allison as Don’s secretary, I spent a lot of time asking myself two questions: (1) Why doesn’t Don FIRE her, already?; and (2) How the heck did she even GET this job?

Both of those questions were answered tonight.

Early on in the episode, Peggy actually read my mind, and ASKED Don question 1, regarding Miss Blankenship.  To this, he replied, “Joan knew exactly what I needed, and she gave it to me.”

AHA!  Don accepts Miss Blankenship as his punishment for crossing the line with Allison!  She’s also the ONE woman in the entire office, Don would NEVER sleep with.  It makes a lot more sense now . . .

But the answer to question 2 is a bit more interesting, especially since, the way Don found the answer, helped him to smooth things over with Peggy . . .

Peggy was busy stewing in her office, when Don called her back to his.  “NO!”  She yelled out, poutily, at first. 

And yet, a perpetual glutton for punishment, back to Don’s office, Peggy went.  There, she found Don listening to Roger’s dictation of his memoirs.  Clearly, the writers were holding out on us, with the memoir excerpts they provided last week.  If you recall, these included tittilating tidbits like Roger’s favorite flavor of ice cream, and why he didn’t like Laurel and Hardy.  But this NEW stuff was JUICY!

“Don’t worry, Mr. Cooper.  Your secrets are safe with ME!”

According to Roger, Bert (1) was jealous of Sterling due to his “youth;” (2) did the horizontal mambo with Miss Blankenship on multiple occasions; and (3) LITERALLY has NO BALLS!

The heretofore morose Don can barely keep the sh*t-eating grin off his face, as he listens to Roger drunkenly detail his coworker’s deepest darkest secrets.  Peggy, to her credit, feigns some disapproval at her boss’ unusually gossipy behavior.  Yet, even she can’t help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.  It’s the first nice moment these two have had with one another the entire episode.   Then, it gets interrupted by an intruder . . .

“MOUSE!”  Peggy cries, before hopping up on the office chair, like a TOTAL girl.

Don, being the “man,” gets on all fours, in hopes of trapping the critter in his SAMSONITE suitcase, but, fails.  Peggy helps him to his feet (sweet moment #2), and Don sheepishly invites her out to a birthday dinner at the local diner.

A Date with Don Draper

At the diner, Peggy and Don converse with the ease of old lovers.  Yet, they share with one another the type of quirky minute details about themselves, typically associated with first dates.  Don briefly discusses his time as a soldier in World War II (without revealing his Dick Whitman woes, of course).  Peggy explains she has never been on a plane, both express a desire to go to Greece.  Bboth admit that they each tragically lost their fathers at an early age, and were forced to watch them die.  Despite the serious nature of some of these conversations, the mood was light, and both characters seemed completely at ease with one another.

This girly gabfest continued at a local bar, with the Liston / Clay fight blaring on the radio, in the background.

At the bar, Don and Peggy discuss Peggy’s insecurities about her personal appearance.  She admits that everyone at work assumes that Peggy slept with Don to get her job.  But, at the same time, can’t imagine why Don would ever engage himself romantically with someone like Peggy.  Apparently, Peggy’s mother assumes Don is the one who knocked her up, because HE is the only one who visited her at the hospital.  (Interesting!) 

Don also inquires after the father of Peggy’s child, but she wisely does not reveal it.  Additionally, Peggy makes some offhand remarks regarding Don’s tendency to sleep with his OTHER secretaries (read: NOT Peggy).  To these insinuations, Don replies nonchalantly with a “these things happen” sort of statement.

After the Liston / Clay fight, Peggy and Don head back to the offices of SCDP.

It’s Potty Time!

Throughout the course of the evening, we have watched Don transition from angry belligerent drunk, to funny drunk, to sweet “I love you, man” drunk.  But by the time Peggy and Don return to their offices, Don has reached Drunk Defcon 5.  “I think I’m going to be sick,” mumbles Don, as he lurches into Peggy, her arm wrapped around his shoulder, as she tries desperately to keep him from belly flopping onto the floor.

Suddenly, the dynamic between these two has shifted.  Throughout the early portion of the evening, Peggy was the petulant child, and Don was the alternatingly stern, and concerned, father.  For the remainder of the episode, Peggy will be the mother, and Don the child. 

After a few moments of deliberation over which stall to use, Peggy ultimately takes Don to the men’s room, where he rushes to the toilet, and begins to vomit uncontrollably. 

The sound is truly nauseating, as it echos throughout the white bathroom, which is completely pristine and spotless, save for a single line of grafitti.  “For a good time, call Caroline.”  (That Caroline must be a pretty busy lady, if she’s servicing THIS entire office, of horny men!)

To Peggy’s credit, she barely even crinkles her nose — no small feat, as the smell must be AWFUL!  She instead waits patiently for the retching sounds to cease, offering Don a glass of water that he refuses.  It is then that she sees a stranger lurking in the hallways . . .

It’s DUCK!  And he’s WASTED too!  When Peggy finds him, he’s got his pants around his ankles, and is farting . . . like . . . really . . . LOUD!

“I’m taking a dump in Don’s office,” explains Duck, as if defecating on a corporate executive’s leather couch is the most natural thing in the world to do on a Tuesday night.

“This is Roger’s office,” Peggy explains, without nearly as much irony or humor, as you would expect, in such a situation.  (Clearly, she’s seen EVERTHING now!  Nothing will shock this girl, anymore.)

Peggy tries to get Duck to leave, but he keeps babbling about how much he LOVES her, and why won’t she return his calls, and blah, blah, blah. 

(Oh, yeah!  This one’s a keeper, Peggy.  You sure know how to pick ’em!)

Don returns from vomiting, and is shocked to find his nemesis manhandling his daughter lover best friend protege.

“You have no business being here,” slurs Don, undoubtedly assuming that this was the man who knocked up Peggy.

Baby Duck

Then, Duck, automatically assuming Peggy is SLEEPING with Don, calls Peggy a whore.

“Oh no, he didn’t!”

Then, came the BEST PART OF THE EPISODE!  Don protects Peggy’s honor, by PUNCHING DUCK IN THE FACE  . . .

. . .  or at least trying to.  Then  . . . the two roll on the floor fighting like a bunch of schoolboys . . . only much older, and WAY more liquored up . . .

Unfortunately for Don, Duck has WAY more experience being an alcoholic than him, and therefore, has a slightly higher liquor tolerance.  He ultimately gets the best of Don (or, perhaps, Don was simply overpowered by the rank smell of Duck’s earlier farts).  Don, eventually, cries “uncle,” and Duck lets him go.

The End of Innocence

Once Peggy has shipped Duck off to the Drunk Tank, she returns to Don’s office, and the first thing he wants is another drink.  SERIOUSLY, Don?  This is getting a little ridiculous.  Get thee to rehab, go!

Peggy reluctantly pours Don a drink.  However, in the time it takes her to cross the room to give it to him, he nearly passes out.  Continuing to play the maternal role, Peggy allows Don to put his head in her lap, and she rubs his head until he falls asleep.  Awwwww!

That night, Don dreams of a youthful Anna, waving at him cheerfully, as she heads away to heaven, carrying a Samsonite suitcase, of course!

The following morning, a very hungover Don, finally gets the courage to call Stephanie in L.A., who informs him, just as he suspected all along, that Anna has died.  Peggy wakes up just as the phone conversation is concluding.  Her and Don lock eyes, and he immediately bursts into tears.

It is the most vulnerable we have seen Don Draper, since the show began, and it is heart-wrenching.  Peggy’s eyes well up, as she experiences her boss’ agony right along with him.  “What happened?”  She asks.

“Someone very close to me has died.”

“Who was it?”  She asks, cautiously approaching him.

“She was the only person who really knew me,” Don replies morosely.

“That’s not true,” whispers Peggy, as she gently rubs his back.

A Brand New Day

A few hours later, a bedraggled Peggy visits a newly freshened up Don in his office.  Undoubtedly, she is expecting him to pretend the previous night did not happen, as he has done with Peggy so many times in the past.  But now, as the two look over new advertising concepts, Don reaches out and grabs Peggy’s hand.  The gesture almost exactly mimicks the rebuffed attempt at affection Peggy made toward Don in the Pilot episode. 

This time, however, Peggy takes Don’s hand in return.  The act is a mutual acknowledgment of what these two have experienced together, as well as the evolution of their personal and professional relationship.

You know, I have to say, this was one of my favorite Mad Men episodes of all time.  I have no doubt that both Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm will choose scenes from this episode to include in their 2011 Emmy consideration reel.  “The Suitcase” had a little bit of everything: humor, poignance, character development, twists, major reveals, and a whole lotta potty.  What more could a fan ask for? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Detox: The Cure for the Common Don? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Waldorf Stories”

I’m Dick Whitman Don Draper.  And who the hell are YOU . . . Girl I Just Screwed?”

Remember the good ole’ days, when Don Draper was suave, debonair, good at his job . . . and knew how to hold his liquor?

Well, this season, it seems as though that idealized version of Don is making significantly less appearances, and his alter ego, Drunk and Damaged Don, is coming out to play much more often . . .

And yet, up until this point in the series, Don’s excessive “lubrication,” poor choices, and numerous sexual partners, never really impacted his ability to run his business.  Sure, he may have lost a secretary here and there . . .

 . . . but his clients were always well served.   And, when push came to shove, he got the job done.  That all changed this week.  Suddenly, the adjective accompanying the phrase “functioning alcoholic” no longer seems to apply to our favorite Ad Man. 

It all started with an ultra uncomfortable job interview (well . . . maybe TWO interviews, but we will get to the second one a little later) . . .

Nepotism:  The Cure for the Common Unemployment

“I’m a 24-year old kid, who really wants to break into the advertising business,” insists Desperate Danny, as he tries to tap dance his way into the hearts of a blank-faced Don, and puckery lemon-faced, Peggy.

(OK, Dude, first  of all, NO 24-year olds think of themselves as “kids.”  In fact, only 56-year olds think of 24-year olds that way.)

“I think I just pooped my pants.”

Oh, Danny Boy then whips out his “portfolio,” which consists of about 10 different iterations of the same lame catchphrase “A Cure for the Common [insert noun].”  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also includes advertisements he had absolutely nothing to do with creating, but that he finds “inspiring.”  Don and Peggy are just about to slap Danny Boy down, with the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” line, when he throws out the “Family Card.”  Apparently, Danny is the cousin of Roger Sterling’s new wife, the Not-So-Sweet Baby Jane.

“Oh Jane!  You rarely appear in episodes, anymore.  And yet you still effectively manage to ruin things for everybody.”

After Danny Boy leaves, Don and Peggy can’t help but have a little fun at his expense.  “I don’t mean to jump on his grave or anything, but that guy is NOT 24.  I’m 25,” Peggy proclaims triumphantly, while sticking her tongue out and blowing a raspberry at the recently departed fibber.  (Pssst . . . the actor who plays Danny Boy is 36.)

Don later confronts Roger about Danny Boy’s incompetency.  The latter eagerly joins in the “Danny-bashing” fun.  “I told him to be himself.  I guess that was kind of mean of me,” scoffs Roger, snickering like a school boy who just put a “Kick Me” sign on the school nerd’s back.

And yet, Roger still insists that Don hire Danny, if only so that Roger’s wife won’t chop Roger’s balls off (not that this hasn’t happened already.)

Roger’s balls

Fortunately for Don and Roger, the question of Danny Boy’s future employment status at SCDP is going to have to wait to be answered.  It’s Clio Awards time in Mad Men land!  And the firm’s controversial Glo Coat commercial has been nominated for an award.

Liquor and Joan Holloway Harris: Cures for the Common Male Insecurity

The Clio Awards are just getting underway at the Waldorf Astoria, and all the key players are there (except for Peggy, who we will get to later.)  After trading barbs with a few rivals (including that dimwitted loser, Chaough, from last week’s episode), and knocking back MORE than a few drinks, the SCDP-ians settle in for the ceremonies.  Right from the start, they are treated to the cringe-worthy slurred rant of a not-so-newly Off-the-Wagon Drunk Duck . . .

Sorry, wrong picture . . . I meant THIS Drunk Duck . . .

As the Duckman is carted off to the drunk tank, an already two sheets to the wind (on his way to three), Roger chuckles, “I really miss working with that guy.”

“I can’t believe that ‘sleeping with an alchy reject’ is what I was doing, when Kennedy was assassinated.  What the heck am I going to tell my children when they ask me that question?”

“I always knew that guy was bad news.  Glad I got out when I could!”

Officiating the event, was the actor, John Aniston . . .

 . . . who you might remember as ANOTHER Famous Aniston’s father . . .

 . . . or, for those of you who have ever watched Soap Operas like Days of Our Lives, as the nefarious Victor Kiriakis.

When it comes time to announce the award in the category of “cleaning products, waxes, and floor polish,” both Don and Roger instinctively grab Joan’s hand from under the table, and squeeze it tightly.  The moment is a very sweet one, and, at the same time, extremely telling, regarding the ever-evolving relationships between these three characters.  (Personally, I think it would have been really funny, if, when searching for Joan’s hand beneath the table, Roger’s fingers accidentally found Don’s  . . . but that’s just me.)

The winner is announced, and . . . SURPRISE . . . it’s SCDP!

An uncharacteristically jubilant Don practically leaps up from the table, and plants a big wet smooch on Joan’s lips.  (Bet no one saw that coming!)

The kiss had the potential to be steamy.  And it probably would have been, if Don wasn’t already so inebriated, and Joan wasn’t so completely taken aback by it.  Don then rushes the stage, to retrieve his award from Papa Aniston.  Suddenly, it’s as though no one else in the firm played any part at all in his win —  not Peggy, not Roger, not Pete, and not Lane.  Suddenly, it’s all Don, all the time  . . .

“I feel pretty!  Oh so, pretty!  I feel, pretty, and witty, and GAY!”

But Don’s One Man Party is interrupted, when SCDP’s receptionist, Megan, arrives to tell the group that their client, Life Cereal, has arrived at the office, and is ready to hear their pitch.  Talk about bad timing!

Yet, Don, fresh off HIS win, and high on “life” (among other things), feels more than prepared to give his pitch.  So, off the crew heads, back to the SCDP offices, with the stink of liquor and cigars trailing after them like a pair of obedient puppies . . .

Inebriation:  The Cure for The Common Self-Awareness

Once the crew has taken a ridiculous “Victory Lap” around the conference table, which reminded me of a poorly conceived game of “Duck, Duck, Goose . . .” (I think Don was actually skipping during it.), Don heads to the podium, and begins his pitch.  Considering, how drunk we all know Don to  be at this point, things actually don’t start off half bad.  Sure, Don almost pukes a few times, while delivering his pitch . . .

It wouldn’t be the first time, someone from that office blew chunks in public at work . . .

. . . but the idea itself is well conceived, and Don gets the desired point across. 

The concept is “Eat Life By the Bowlful.”  The artwork appeals to kids, who like to consume large adult-sized portions, and the phrasing appeals to mothers’ nostalgia for their lost youth.  If only the client bought into it, Don would have been in the clear.  But the client thinks the concept is too “smart” for his target audience, and wants the message dumbed down a bit.  That is when things start to go VERY badly, very fast .  . .

To Don’s credit, he DOESEN’T scream at the clients for not digging his idea, as he had with those prude swimsuit designers earlier in the season.  He’s in WAY too good a mood for that.  Instead, he starts belligerently spouting out one bad catch phrase after another, despite his colleagues repeated suggestions that he hold off until he is “feeling better.”  The scene is very hard to watch.  In it, the usually Dapper Don quickly starts reminding you of that senile grandparent, who keeps relaying the same dull and incoherent story about his dentures, over and over again, at family functions.

“I thought they were ice cubes!  Can you believe it?”

The rest of the SCDP-ians nod politely at Doddering Don,  hoping, that if they say nothing, maybe he will tire out and shut up soon (or, maybe, take a nap).  So, you can imagine everyone’s surprise when the client actually LIKES one of Don’s terrible ideas.  And the “winning” catchphrase is . . . you guessed it, “Life:  The Cure for the Common Breakfast.”

“WOO HOO!  Barely out of Depends diapers, and I am already an ADVERTISING GENIUS!”

After the meeting, Peggy tries to warn Don that he’s just infringed on Oh, Danny Boy’s copyright, but Don blows her off.  He has MORE DRINKING TO DO!

Faye (A.K.A Annoying Marketing Research Lady):  The Cure for the Common Over-Inflated Male Ego

If you’ve read my Mad Men recaps before, you know that I haven’t exactly been the biggest fan of “Faye.”  On the contrary, I have always found her to be cold, conniving, phony, and, frankly, uninteresting.  But, I have to say, she really won me over this week, by putting Drunken Don in his place, and not falling for his crap. 

At the Clio Awards After Party, Don stumbles over to Faye, while she’s talking to another man.  He interrupts the two, by telling Faye, “Mother is calling.” 

(Really, Don?  Mother?  Is that supposed to be a turn on for a woman?  You pretending to be her BROTHER?  THAT’S what’s going to get them to jump into bed with you — Incest Fantasies?   Boy, are you off your game tonight, Honey!)

Faye politely congratulates Don on his win.  He (unconvincingly) downplays it, arguing that his work is of the same caliber, whether he wins or not.  Yet, judging by Don’s behavior since Season 1, we know this is not at all true.  Here is a man who is ALWAYS desperate to win, at all costs.  Ever the shrink, Faye attempts to psychoanalyze the enebriated Don, by cajoling him into a “Who’s Don Draper?”  Q and A session.

Don has no clue who the heck he is.  All he knows is that Faye “smells good.”  He starts nuzzling her hair with his Alcoholic’s Red Nose.  And while, a weaker woman would have succumbed instantly, rationalizing that a Drunk Don is better than No Don AT ALL, Faye is not that woman.  “I think you are confusing a lot of things right now.   I am very happy for you, Don,” she says, before walking away.

Sorry, Don!  It looks like Roger isn’t the only one wearing these today . . .

Fortunately, for Don, he doesn’t have to wear “Something Blue” for very long.  An enterprising young ad girl swoops in for the kill, just moments after Faye leaves Don in the lurch.  Almost instantly, the two are back in Don’s apartment, on his VERY lived in sheets (For these women’s sake, I hope he washes them DAILY . . . yet, somehow, I doubt it).  Ad Girl attempts to seduce Don by humming the Star Spangled Banner while . . . licking his “lollipop.”  Patriotic Sex as a seduction tool?  That’s almost as bad as brother / sister sex.  These two are perfect for one another . . .

Drunken Blackouts:  The Cure for the Common Humiliation Over All the Dumb Things You Did Last Night . . .

In the next scene, Don wakes up to an angry call from his ex-wife.  Betty claims he is two hours late in picking up his children.  “But I thought that was Sunday?”  The Hungover Don mutters, glancing nervously to his right, to see a woman in his bed who is decidedly NOT the patriotic lollipop licker, from the prior scene.

“It IS SUNDAY!”  Betty seethes, unwittingly showing Don, (who WE last saw on Friday), that he has precisely NO memory of the last 24-hours of his life.

Now THAT is a SERIOUS BLACKOUT!

Don hustles Betty off the phone, and, more or less kicks to the curb his new bedtime companion — a waitress named “Doris” who keeps referrring to him as “Dick” (as in Whitman?), and mentions his “sister” coming to visit him at the diner where the pair met . . .

Uh Oh!  What did Don say to his fake sis THIS time?

After a much needed quick shower, Don settles in on his couch for some more sleep, when Peggy comes barging into his apartment, authoritatively telling him to “fix” his Danny Boy-sized blunder regarding the Life Cereal campaign. 

Don is forced to spend the next day cleaning up after himself.  It turns out, in all the drunken sexual excitement of the last few days, Don has actually misplaced his Clio award.  He instructs his ridiculous secretary, Miss Blankenship, to locate it for him . . .

“I’m sorry, I use the office phone exclusively to call the Psychic Friends Network.  No Clio for you!”

“What’s the award for?”  Miss Blankenship asks, dumbfounded.

“Best Actress,” remarks Don.

As it turns out, ROGER has the award . . . which I don’t think was an accident (more on that later.)  In order to get the award back, Roger wants Don to  say that he couldn’t have won it without Roger.  Don manages to not quite say that, but get the award back anyway.  Well played, Don.  If only you were this wily during the REST of this episode . . .

Due to his snafu regarding the Life campaign, Don also finds himself forced to hire the most likely completely incompetent Danny Boy to work for SCDP.  Peggy finds out, and is less than pleased . . .

“Well, he may not be the AGE of a kid, but he sure is the SIZE of one . . .”

Nudity: The Cure for the Common Chauvinist Pig

Speaking of Peggy, she is having some work problems of her own, this week.  Not only is she experiencing some MAJOR sour grapes, over Don’s pretty much ignoring the part she played in the Glo Coat campaign, she is also being forced to spend a weekend creating an advertising campaign for Vicks cough drops with loathsome new art director, Stan Rizzo, a man who never met an ass he wouldn’t grab, or an intelligent female he didn’t despise.

Is it just me, or does this guy kind of look like a meatier version of Nathan Fillion?

Seriously, SCDP?  THIS is the guy you got to replace Sal!  Not only was Sal extremely talented, he also got along swimmingly with Peggy . . .

 . . . and he LOVED women!

OK . . . maybe he didn’t LOVE women, but he certainly respected them, and enjoyed their company.

Anyway, Don tells Peggy she has to work with Chauvenist Piggy Rizzo.  He even drunkenly suggests the two work out their differences together over the weekend in a hotel room . . . charged to the client, of course.  Piggy Rizzo is so clearly intimidated by Peggy’s intelligence and career success   . . .

(All women should be at home, barefoot and pregnant, with your babies, right Stan?)

Baby Chauvenist Rizzos

 .  . . that he can’t get any work done at all.  So, instead, he spends his time throwing pencils at the wall, reading Playboy magazine (for inspiration) and hurling insults left and right at Peggy for her appearance, lifestyle, and personality.  Tired of Rizzo’s constant references to nudity and “liberation,” Peggy calls his bluff, by stripping naked in front of him, and challenging him to do the same.  “You’re lazy and have no ideas,” Peggy explains matter-of-factly.  “I can work like this.  Let’s get liberated.”

Within moments, Peggy and Rizzo are both nude and sitting at the hotel table (Ick, I bet Room Service NEVER washes those chair cushions!)  Smirking, Peggy plugs Rizzo for ideas regarding cough drops.  The problem is that Rizzo can’t stop ogling Peggy’s breasts.  “Ummm . . . I’m thinking,” he snaps.

“Really?  About what?”  Peggy inquires, peeking under the table, at the happy little puppy that has just come out to play . . .

“Maybe I should dip that THING in some ink and write with it,” offers Peggy  . . .

Hey boys!  Does Peggy strike you as one of those girls who chews on her pens?

Ultimately, an unhappy Stan Rizzo, and his happy hot dog, both have to admit defeat, and get dressed again.  He bestows upon Peggy the award for being the “smuggest b*tch in the world.”  Coming from such a PIG, I’d take THAT as a compliment . . .

Marking Your Territory:  The Cure for the Common Ken

“I’m baaack!”

Peggy wasn’t the only SCDP-ian coping with personnel issues this week, Pete Campbell was also bearing the brunt of unwelcome hires.  After his last appearance on the show, and his public admission that he was “unhappy” at his current advertising firm, it should have surprised precisely no one that Ken Cosgrove wanted to return “home” so to speak — and by “home” I mean SCDP.

I, for one, am thrilled.  I have always LOVED the not-so-friendly rivalry between Ken and Pete, and the way they act as perfect foils for one another, both in terms of their business tactics and in their personal relationships.  Unfortunately, Pete doesn’t feel the same way I do . . .

“I’ll take him out during a fluke shooting accident.  Nobody will suspect a thing.  Just like they never found out that I rigged that lawnmower, last season . .”

Pete’s first move is to whine to Lane about not being consulted about Ken’s hiring, and to complain that Lane must “hate him,” if he could even THINK to do this.  But Lane doesn’t budge.  Instead, he argues that Ken will bring a lot of accounts and cash to the firm.  He also strokes Pete’s ego, by telling him that Roger Sterling is “a child” and that Pete should have competent help in running SCDP, which he now does (at least according to Lane) virtually, by himself.  Lane concludes by praising Pete on his pragmatism, and saying, “I’ve always been very fond of you.  And it pains me to hear you think differently.” 

Well played, Lane!

“Come here, Petey Petey!  I’ve got a nice juicy steak for you!”

Won over, Pete reluctantly agrees to meet with Ken and “allow” him to join SCDP. 

But that doesn’t mean he’s going down without a fight — at least, not without marking his territory, first.

Pete puts the clearly less-innocent-than-he-seems Ken in his place, by telling him, in no uncertain terms, that things have changed.  No longer are the two men equals.  Now PETE is in charge, and Ken works for HIM!  Be afraid, Cosgrove.  Be VERY afraid . . .

Flashbacks:  The Cure for the Common Writer’s Block

And finally, we are back to Roger, who is “busy” writing his personal memoirs, regarding his life as an Ad Man, which so far seem to include important “business” tidbits, such as why Roger prefers chocolate ice cream to vanilla, and whether or not he approves of the comedic stylings of Laurel and Hardy.  This massive case of writer’s block, coupled with Don’s recent success, cause Roger to morosely question his self worth.  “They don’t give awards for what I do,” complains Roger.

“And what is that?”  Joan inquires slyly, always quick to call Roger out on his sh*t.

“Finding guys like him,” Roger replies, pointing at Don.

Suddenly, we are flashed back about five years prior.  Don is working at a fur coat store, and Roger is buying a mink for a VERY special mistress. 

While Don waits on Roger, Roger spies an interesting fur advertisement on the wall, starring an even more interesting model . . .

It’s a good thing Betty has that fur coat.  I hear her people are Nordic.

Roger inquires after the advertisement, and Don proudly admits that he created it himself.  In just these few short statements, we can see how different Don was back then — surprisingly chipper, eager to please, and desperately hungry for success.  In essence, he was the male version of Season 1’s Peggy Olson, only a bit more worldly,  and socially graceful.

Roger hands Don his business card, ostensibly to provide Don with mailing information for the mink.  But Don immediately jumps on this as a business opportunity, slipping his advertising portfolio in the mink box, and doggedly pursuing Roger in the lobby of the offices of Sterling & Cooper each day, until Roger FINALLY agrees to let Don take him out for drinks.  At the bar, Don gets Roger so wasted, that he needs to be helped into a cab. 

The next day, Don meets Roger at the elevator again.  “What are you doing here?”  Roger asks, still nursing a hangover.

“You hired me.  Last night.  You said, ‘welcome aboard.'”

Grudgingly, Roger allows Don into the elevator with him, just as Don would allow Danny Boy into the offices of SCDP just five years later, both as the result of a drunken mistake.  Then again, with Don, who knows?  It’s possible that Roger never hired him at all.  After all, Don made up an entire new identity for himself, couldn’t he have faked a hiring too?

So, does Roger really have a “talent” for finding “talent,” or does “talent,” like Don Draper, simply keep on finding him?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Another Bloody 12-Step Program – A Recap of The Vampire Diaries “Under Control”

“Dude, I am NEVER DRINKING AGAIN!  The last thing I remember is going into a tattoo parlor and asking for some pegasus wings on my back . . . OH CRAP!  REAL WINGS!  How the f&*k did these get here?  Damon’s NEVER going to let me live this one down . . .”

Tonight’s installment of The Vampire Diaries featured an in-town party,

LOTS of booze,

SOME making out,

SOME brawling,

and a heaping helping of Julie Cooper-Nichol Melinda Clarke.

In short, it reminded me A LOT of this OTHER show I used to watch . . .

“Welcome to The VD, BITCH!”

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

The Things We Cannot Change . . .

When we last left Stefan, he found himself hooked on . . .

 . . . having tasted his girlfriend, Elena’s, during a particularly weak moment.  When we see Stefan, this week, he is struggling to quit the stuff cold turkey.  His brilliant plan for achieving this goal?  LOTS of sweaty pull-ups  . . . which, again, I think, was only included in the episode, so that we got the opportunity to see Paul Wesley look like this . . .

 . . . and AGAIN, I’m OK with that!

Unfortunately, for Stefan, his brother, Damon, is a TOTAL enabler . . .

 . . . and SMOKIN’ HOT (just saying).  So, Damon, who is a pretty big blood drinker himself, continues to randomly leave vials and glasses of the “red stuff” all around the mansion, where these two dapper drinkers currently reside.  “Why can’t you just get blood from a blood bank, like the rest of us?”  Damon inquires.

Now THIS development is very interesting to me . . . You see, I was always under the impression, that while Damon occasionally imbibed a “soccer mom” or two from vials of blood stolen from a hospital or blood bank, human skin was his “glass” of choice.  Perhaps, I always assumed this, because many scenes in The Vampire Diaries book series, featured a super sexy Damon compelling a young innocent lass to offer up her body for feeding.  The act of “drinking” these females was always overtly sexual.  And Book Damon, to his credit, always left the bitten ladies in bed asleep, with no memory of the event, except for some VERY SWEET DREAMS!

Truthfully, this has ALWAYS been a fantasy of mine!  And I was more than a bit disappointed when Damon admitted he hadn’t “had a human in years.”  It also raises an interesting point.  If Damon and the other vamps, drinks solely from blood banks, and Stefan repeatedly goes out into the woods to eat Bambi’s mother . . .

 . . . and other assorted forest creatures, heretofore alive and well, wouldn’t that make Stefan more of a killer than his brother? 

Also, we noticed, throughout the episode, how DANGEROUS Stefan’s newfound cravings for human blood were causing him to become.  EVERYONE suddenly became a target .  . . even Elena.  Given that, wouldn’t Stefan’s imbibing of blood bank blood make him less harmful to the people he cared about, not more?  The only possible explanation I could think of as to why we should be rooting AGAINST Stefan becoming a HUMAN blood sucker, is that his LOOOOONG absense from the stuff, has made him . . .

 . . . in terms of blood drinking, almost as if he was a NEWBORN vampire once again.  And we learned, from Vicki Donovan a few episodes ago, just how DANGEROUS those newbies could be . . .

“Oh, BITE ME!  On second thought, let me BITE YOU . . . HARD!”

Most of the episode’s A-storyline featured Stefan trying to get a handle on his blood drinking by getting as wasted as possible on alcohol!

Somewhere underground, the creator of the 12-Step Program is rolling over in his grave.  Unless of course, HE is a vampire too!  If so, he probably doesn’t mind as much . . .

The result of all this DRINKING, is that Stefan, as Damon says, becomes sort of “fun,” for a change.  He compels the D.J. at the party to switch from the snoozy orchestral music he is playing, to the song Falling by Phoenix (which you may have recognized as the song from those cadillac commercials . . .)

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good song, and all.  But I, personally, think it would have been WAY FUNNIER if Stefan “requested” that the DJ play a song by Vampire Weekend.

The song, “A Punk,” for example, would have been FABULOUS for this venue . . .

All the while, Stefan was telling Elena and Damon he had things “under control.”  However, we could tell that this wasn’t the case at all when he (1) got all veiny, wrinkled, and puffy eye baggy, when things got hot and heavy with Elena in her bedroom; and (2) twice almost killed that random dude for having the NERVE to knock into and be rude to Elena at the party (which was kind of hot, I have to admit).  But “rock bottom” for our pal Stefan had to be when Julie Cooper Nichol Matt’s Slutty Mom . . .

 . . . got a massive cut on her head.  In a move that was both incredibly creepy, and intensely sexy, at the same time, Stefan placed his hand gently on Julie Cooper Nichol’s Matt’s Slutty Mom’s wound, rubbed it with his fingers, and then proceeded to amorously lick his hand like a VERY DIRTY cat.

“Mmmmmm . . . Julie Cooper Nichol Matt’s Slutty Mom Guts . . . DELICIOUS!”

At the end of the episode, Stefan gives in to temptation, chugging down a blood-filled tumbler that his brother strategically left on the bar for him.  And again — I have to ask — is this necessarily a bad thing?

The Senseless Death That Was Neither Particularly Senseless, Nor Deadly .  . .

So, at the beginning of the episode, this guy shows up at Elena’s doorstep, and I IMMEDIATELY don’t like him, because he walks with his hands clasped between his legs, like a VERY MEAN AND SCARY principal I used to have in elementary school (RIP Princi  – PAL).  Apparently, this guy is Uncle John Gilbert — a man who once slept with . . .

Aunt Jenna, and MAY have slept with . . .

Elena’s biological mom, Isabel.  WOAH!  What are you telling me, VD?   Elena’s UNCLE did the deed with both Elena’s AUNT and Elena’s MOM?

Incest much?  It took me a few takes to remember that Aunt Jenna is the sister of Elena’s adoptive mom, Uncle John is Elena’s adoptive dad’s brother, and NONE of these people are at all related to Elena’s biological mom!  This makes the whole situation less gross . . . but only slightly.  It still strikes me as a bit “too close for comfort,” if you know what I mean . . .

Anyway, Uncle John immediately starts making trouble in Mystic Falls.  First, he threatens to take Elena’s deceased father’s office, which Elena and Jeremy inherited in their parents’ will, away from them.  THEN he reveals to the town council that a bunch of blood banks are reporting stolen vials of blood and missing employees, prospectively exposing all the vampires in Mystic Falls, not to mention cutting off their nutrition supply.  Uncle John then reveals to Damon that he knows EVERYTHING about the Salvatore brothers, including that they are vampires, and that they were responsible for opening the underground tomb containing Mama Pearl . . .

 . . . and the other Hidey Hole Vamps.  Damon takes quick action, like the Rambo Bad Ass, he is!

Our Main Man breaks Uncle John’s neck and tosses him off the balcony, before I could even utter the word “Douchebag.”  And I must admit, I CHEERED LIKE A SCHOOLGIRL, when it happened (maybe it was all those principal memories, getting the best of me).  “UNCLE JOHN, it gives me GREAT PLEASURE to bestow upon you the SENSELESS DEATH AWARD!”  I literally said, out loud, as I watched the scene.

 So, as you can imagine, I was just and confused and PISSED as Damon, when Uncle John showed back up at the party, alive and unharmed . . .

“He’s BAAACK!”

As it turns out, Uncle John was conveniently wearing that Can’t Be Killed Ring, also owned by Snoozy Alaric . . .

 . . . who, I must admit, I ENJOYED for the second week in a row, as he continued his awesome post-face punch Bromance with Hot Vamp Damon.

Apparently, like Alaric, Uncle John got the ring from Elena’s Surprisingly Slutty Biological Mom!

Uncle John also claims that HE was the one who sent Elena’s Slutty Mom to Damon, when she wanted to be turned into a vampire.  I’m not quite sure I believe him yet?  But, unfortunately, we will probably find out the truth in future episodes, as this AWFUL DUDE seems like he will be sticking around for a while.  Uncle John already kind of reminds me of a side-character from another show, who I DESPISED, but who never EVER seemed to LEAVE!

Marilyn from Big Love, anyone?

In other news . . .

Vampjer FINALLY Gets a Clue!

If you recall, newly-turned vampire Vicki was STAKED by Stefan, because she tried to kill Elena in a vampiric rage, while the lovelorn Jeremy watched in horror.  At Elena’s request, Damon compelled Jeremy to forget the entire traumatic experience, and believe Vicki had simply run away from home.  And that WAS what he believed — for a while, at least — until he developed a strange fascination with vampires, cultivated by, none other than his SORT-OF Gal Friday, Vampire Anna.

When Vicki was found buried in the forest, the coroner called her death a drug overdose.  “But then why was she buried?  Who buried her?”  Jeremy inquires, and rightly so.

The town council stonewalls Jeremy, when he inquires into the odd circumstances surrounding Vicki’s demise.  Even his sister, Elena, basically tells him to “let it go.”  At the end of the episode, a suspicious Jeremy breaks into Elena’s bedroom and finds her diary.  In it, he reads the whole Bloody Story.  And he is PISSED!

Also . . .

Drunk and Slutty IS as Drunk and Slutty DOES . . .

Still vulnerable from her daughter’s untimely demise, Julie Cooper Nichol Matt’s Slutty Mom gets wasted at the Founder’s Day Kickoff Party, and makes out with her son’s friend, Tyler.

“I totally POKED – HER!”

When Matt . . .

 . . . finds Tyler and his mom en flagrante, he freaks out, and moves to punch Tyler in the face.  But then, Tyler goes all rabid animal crazy on the poor guy’s ass!  And if you’ve read the books, or seen the spoilers, you know why.  Tyler’s dad slaps Tyler in the face HARD for losing his cool — making me feel bad for D-Bag Tyler, for the first time, since he’s been on this show.  And you just KNOW this isn’t the last we will see of THIS storyline . . .

Also, Matt kicks his Slutty Mom out of the house.  But something tells me, that ultimatum is not going to stick . . .

Well, that’s all I’ve got folks!  Tune in next week, when it appears that Sexy Damon (not Stefan) will be escorting Elena to the Founder’s Day Ball.  Let the sexually tense moments and sexual innuendos BEGIN!  Until then . . .

Sayonara, fellow Blood Suckers!

 

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Hey, remember that show Party of Five? Do you think Dr. Jack Shepard does?

 

Matthew Fox IS Dr. Jack Shephard.  And I am pretty sure he will continue to BE Dr. Jack Shephard, for better or worse,  LONG after Lost airs its season finale.  However, when the first season of Lost aired, back in 2004, I found that I couldn’t look at “Jack” without thinking, “Hey, isn’t that the guy from that show I used to watch back when I was a kid?  The one with all the hot orphans?”

Dude, you’re just burying your dad NOW?  Hasn’t he been dead since 1994?

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Party of Five was an hour-long drama that aired during the mid through late nineties.  The show revolved around the five Salinger siblings, who were forced to raise one another, after both of their parents were killed in a tragic drunk driving accident.  The clan included, early twenty-something Charlie Salinger (Matthew Fox), teens Julia and Bailey, young violin prodigy Claudia, and baby Owen.  

The acting on Party of Five was top notch.  It is no wonder that many of these “child stars” went on to have major movie and film careers.

Aside from Mathew Fox, there was . . .

the adorable Scott Wolf, who now stars in ABC’s show V;

Is it just me, or does this guy never age?  According to IMDB, he’s in his 40s now, and could probably STILL play a high schooler (well . . . maybe college).

Neve Campbell, who you might remember from the Scream movies;

Lacey Chabert of Mean Girls fame;

Ghost Whisperer Jennifer Love Hewitt; and

Jeremy London, who I always confuse with his twin brother, Jason.  He used to be pretty big in the ’90s. Now, I think, he just does a lot of Lifetime movies . . .

As a child, who was still a bit young to understand the true tragedy that had actually befallen the Salingers, I remember thinking about how much fun it would be to live in a house run by teenagers.  To eat pizza every night for dinner.  To sleep in a tent in the living room, like the Claudia character did (I was about that character’s age, at the time the show aired, so her living arrangements made TOTAL sense to me).  To not always have to clean up after myself (but, if you absolutely HAD to do chores, there would inevitably be singing and dancing involved). . .

Plus, I was an only child.  So I would have killed for a cool older sister, like Julia, to emulate, or a cool older brother like Bailey to pal around with.  And if I couldn’t be Claudia, and have Bailey for a big brother, I would have loved to date him like the shy bookish girl-next-door, Sarah Reeves.  I had a HUGE crush on Scott Wolf back then.  And even though I was closest in age to the Claudia character, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Sarah reminded me most of myself.

Like most teen dramas, the show dealt with the typical issues that young adults face during their adolescence: friends, dating, academics, puberty, peer pressure, etc.  However, it also had added layers of complexity, involving the unique challenges associated with raising a family at a very young age.  Additionally, there were a couple of really powerful episodes, during the first season, that addressed the death of the Salinger parents, and how each character coped when forced to come face-to-face with the drunk driver who killed them.

Because you tend to watch television shows very differently in your pre-teens than in your twenties, I took the liberty of Netflixing the first season of Party of Five a few months back.  I am pleased to report it has withstood the test of time.  If anything, I appreciated the show more, upon second viewing, because I better understood its dramatic subtext and complex character relationships.

Like most shows, Party of Five went off the rails a bit in its final couple of seasons.  In my opinion, it became WAY too maudlin.  This is not to say that Charlie’s cancer storyline, and Bailey’s battles with alcoholism, weren’t well written.  They just weren’t exactly a joy to watch.  Plus, there was that oddly funny, but completely out-of-place plotline, involving the youngest child Owen, and his newfound penchant for cross-dressing.  I guess the show’s writers inserted the story as a means of comic relief, but I sort of didn’t get it . . .

Lackluster final seasons aside, Party of Five was a major player on my ’90s television viewing roster, which is why I decided to give it a shout out here.  And, who knows, maybe clips from the show will pop up in a Lost Dr. Jack Shepard flashback, sometime soon?  Boy would Entertainment Weekly’s Doc Jensen have a field day with that!

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