Tag Archives: Anna Camp

Women are like soup? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Beautiful Girls”

Before we begin our regularly scheduled recap, I feel that it would be appropriate for all of us to pay our last respects to a very special woman.  She was a secretary (ahem, Executive Secretary – Thank you, Joan!), who in a very short amount of time, became an integral part of our Mad Men family.  With her cutting-one liners, and a sharp fashion sense that would inspire women (and men) for generations to come . . .

 . . . Miss Blankenship was always the Life of the Party.  ( I mean this was a woman who could HOLD her liquor . . . literally.)

However, because my own words will surely be inadquate to  express the true wonder that was Miss Blankenship, I have decided to let the SCDP staff eulogize her instead.  What follows is a portrait of the woman, in their words . . .

“She was born in a barn.  And died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut.”  – Bert Cooper

“She went away . . . for awhile.” – Megan, Don’s new secretary

“I’d ask my secretary to do it, but she’s dead.” – Don Draper

“She died the way she lived.  Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” –  Roger Sterling

“Hey, my mother made that! – Roger Sterling, again (regarding the blanket currently covering Miss Blankenship’s corpse).

Ahhhh, Miss Blankenship!  Always bringing the funny . . . even in death.  We’ll miss you, Girlfriend!

We now return to our regularly scheduled recap . . .

Sex Sells, and Don Draper Smells (like sex)

So, remember last week, when Don and Faye were in the cab following their first date, and Don turned Faye down for sex because he “wasn’t ready yet?”  Yeah . . . that didn’t last long.

The episode opens to lovely rhythmic sounds of SCDP’s favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “only”) Marketing Research Lady, Faye Miller, getting her hump on with the Dapper Don Draper.  Because this is AMC and NOT HBO, we didn’t actually get to see them do it.  (Although, honestly, I kind of WISH they DID show it.  Because it would have been a fabulous way to get the image of Steve Buscemi boning that slutty girl from Boardwalk Empire, during the previous hour, out of my head . . .  You guys saw that too, right?)

Don Draper

NOT Don Draper

Anyway, unfortunate PG-13 rating aside, we did get to watch a sweaty Don and Faye share a little post-coital pillow talk the morning afternoon after.  (Yes, these two took a LONG LUNCH together.)  The pair discuss their remaining appointments for the day.  For a change, it is Don who is more open about his upcoming afternoon, while Faye is more coy.  (Market Researchers have Confidentiality Agreements, perhaps?)  Faye gently asks Don whether she can shower first.  Don agrees to it, but only because HE’S NOT SHOWERING AT ALL!

Note:  I had some really solid sex smell jokes (most involving fish and cheese) to insert here.  But I think including them would be a serious betrayal to my fellow ladies.  Plus, I imagine you could figure them out . . .

Not only is Dirty Don totally cool with going to the office smelling like a Marketing Research Lady, he’s also surprisingly copacetic with Faye staying in his apartment, after he’s left for work.  He even LEAVES HER HIS KEY!

Wow, now that’s trust!  Guess this means he left his Big Ole’ Box of Secrets over at Betty’s house . . .

When Faye expresses the same surprise as the audience about Don’s unusually permissive behavior, Don replies lasciviously, “I’m taking all the interesting stuff with me.”  (He then seductively zips his fly over his sex-drenched undies .  . .)

“All the Interesting Stuff”

Rubbing Joan the RIGHT way . . .

Admittedly, the usually poised, polite, and utterly controlled Joan has been a bit prickly and excitable of late.  So, when she snapped at Roger’s typically adorable attempts at not-so-harmless flirtation, I didn’t really think much of it at first.  But Roger, who apparently didn’t watch last week’s episode of Mad Men (because he wasn’t in it AT ALL), was taken aback and a little hurt by Joan’s rebuff of his advances. 

Roger quickly consulted his secretary for guidance.  She informed him of something that all Mad Men fans knew was coming, we just weren’t sure when, or how it would be brought about.  Of course, Joan’s husband Greg will be shipped off to Vietnam immediately after basic training. 

He will not return home in between.  He will not pass Go.  And he will not collect $200.  Joan, who was just getting used to the idea of having him away for a few weeks, understandably takes the news badly.

Feeling guilty for his insensitivity, Roger hires a troop of pretty ladies with heavy Eastern European accents (all of whom he has probably banged at one time or another) to come to Joan’s house and give her a massage, manicure, and pedicure.  When she approaches his office the next day to thank him, Roger cleverly replies, “I knew I was rubbing you the wrong way.   So, I thought I would have someone rub you the right way.”

(OK.  That line was a little creepy.  But the gesture was definitely sweet.  And the whole thing was so VERY Roger Sterling.)

“Oh, yeah!  I’m the MAN!  You TOTALLY want to rub me now, don’t you?”

And yet, Roger screws things up AGAIN when he immediately asks Joan out, making the latter feel like the whole “massage thing” was just a ploy to get her back into bed with him (which, let’s face it — it probably was).

Lick me Peggy, one more time!

While Roger’s come-ons to Joan may have been a bit crude, they were NOTHING compared to the ones Joyce tried on Peggy.  Face-licking?  Seriously, Joyce?  Who taught you that was an appropriate way to romance a straight lady?  Fido?

When we first see Peggy, Joyce has stopped by her office unannounced, AGAIN (What’s the matter, Joyce?  Isn’t there a phone on your desk, amidst all those Naked Lady Pics that you were carrying around, when we first met you?)  “Peggy, your boyfriend is here,” snorts Art Director, Stan. 

(You know, I hate to say it, because he’s SUCH a MAJOR TOOL.  And he’s DEFINITELY no SAL ROMANO!  But, this guy is starting to grow on me.  I think its because of the adorable little crush he’s developed on Peggy, ever since he saw her nude, and got a b*ner from it.  Sure, he has no shot in heck of ever getting anywhere with her.  Yet, it’s still oddly endearing.  Stan is like the little boy in first grade, who pulls the little girl’s pig tails, and throws paper airplanes at her, because he can’t think of any other way to let her know he likes her.)

When both Peggy and Joyce seem unamused or affected by Stan’s mildly humorous lesbian jokes, he changes tactics.  “You [Joyce] can NEVER do for a girl [Peggy] what a guy [me – Stan] can do,” Stan insists.  (Awww, way too obvious, kiddo!)

Joyce responds by licking Peggy’s face (which is TOTALLY something that any guy – and any K-9 — can DO, by the way, not that they would all want to).  The whole exchange was admittedly pretty funny.  But what really made the scene, for me, was Stan’s facial expression, as he watched Joyce orally remove the blush from Peggy’s cheek . .  .

Ummm . . . yeah, Peggy.  If you want your face licked, than Stan probaby isn’t your guy.  Peggy and Joyce, ultimately, make plans to meet for drinks.  They then leave Stan alone to LICK his wounds, and his . .  .

Honest Abe strikes out . . .

It seems that Stan isn’t the only one having a difficult time getting inside the Peggy Olson Pantalones.  Peggy’s new suitor, Abe, though he got off to a promising start, isn’t fairing much better.  Apparently, Joyce, despite obviously being just as in love with Peggy as Stan, had a fairly altruistic reason for inviting Peggy out for drinks.  The whole outing was just a ruse to reunite Peggy with her cute makeout buddy from a few episodes back, Abe.

The date starts pleasantly enough.  However, when Abe starts moving the discussion over to the Civil Rights movement and the evil of corporations, the typically well-spoken Peggy, suddenly, finds herself at a loss for words.  Apparently, Peggy only watches the news on television to see the commercials, and only reads newspapers for the advertisements.  She simply had no idea that one of the companies SCDP worked for, Fillmore Motors, refuses to hire black people.

The discussion quickly morphs into a heated debate about corporate responsibility versus personal and ethical responsibility.  Peggy wisely analogizes the Civil Rights movement with the then-fledgling Women’s Rights movement.  She argues about how difficult it is for women like Peggy to break through the corporate glass ceiling.  And yet, she did it.  She, therefore, wonders, why other oppressed minorities can’t work to do the same thing.  Abe discounts the analogy offhand, mocking the absurdity of a “Women’s Rights March.”  This offends Peggy, and causes her to promptly excuse herself from the bar.

And yet, Abe is not one to go down without a fight.  He arrives at Peggy’s office the next day, unannounced.  (AGAIN?  Seriously, what is with these new hippies?)

But Abe has not come empty handed.  Apparently, he has written a poem to Peggy, and he would like her to read it immediately, while he waits in the office for her reply.  Intrigued by the gesture, Peggy dashes off to read the poem, which she secretly hopes will go something like this:

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

Civil Rights are sexy,

but not as HOT as YOU!

Unfortunately, Abe’s doesn’t say that at all.

And, while we don’t get to read it, we are led to believe that it makes some sort of comparison between SCDP and Nazis?  “If anybody saw this [poem], I could get fired!”  Peggy exclaims, ripping it to pieces right in front of the Poor Sap, before storming off AGAIN!

TWO!

And yet, despite outward appearances to the contrary, there is evidence, during the second half of the episode, that would seem to suggest that Abe HAD changed Peggy’s mind about Civil Rights, Politics, and the ways in which the two sometimes conflict with the corporate world.  Well . . . if not changed her mind per se, at least opened it to new possibilities.  

This becomes evident when the SCDP crew is trying to come up with a song to play in the background of a Fillmore Motors TV and radio commercial, and Peggy dryly suggests a song by Harry Bellefonte.  When she is promptly shut down by her colleagues, Peggy innocently inquires, “Why are we working for a client that refuses to hire [black people]?”

To this, Don replies, “Our job is to sell our client’s products, not to make them like [black people.]”

When Peggy’s coworkers tease her about this, Peggy storms out of the office, for about the 80th time this season . . .

When Faye met Sally . . .

Don is at a client meeting with Fillmore Motors (they of the Racist Hiring Practices), when he gently interrupted by Receptionist -Soon-to-Be Don’s-New-Secretary Megan, who informs Don that his daughter is at the office .  . . along with some random elderly looking woman, who wears a very large hat, which, to me, looks a bit like this:

Apparently Random Elderly Woman in Hat found Sally hiding from the conductor on her train.  “I wanted to see you, but I didn’t have enough money,” Sally says sheepishly.

The admission causes Don’s face to look like this:

Things get even worse, when Random Elderly Woman gets a little bee in her bonnet (no pun intended), about what crappy parents Betty and Don are. She lets Don know her feeling in no uncertain terms, when Don tries to pay her for her time and trouble.  After Random Elderly Woman in Hat leaves, Don calls Betty .  . .

Oddly enough, this screencap DID NOT come from this episode.  Apparently, Betty spends a lot of time on this show on the phone (usually with Don), looking severely pissed off.

When Don tells Betty that she should come pick up her daughter, who was wandering the NYC train system alone, Betty . . . couldn’t give two cr*ps.

In fact, she refuses to pick up Sally until the following day.  “You think it’s so much fun to be her parent, you do it,” she yells

(Golly gee!  What a nice thing to say about your kid!  I’m so glad Sally has two parents that really value the time they spend with her.)

Don gives Miss Blankenship three instructions before heading back to his meeting: (1) watch Sally; (2) answer the phones; and (3) don’t say anything.  She does only one of those things.  And, considering that she died right around the time Betty called (Apparently, that shrew’s voice could kill ANYONE), you can probably guess which of the three tasks Miss Blankenship was able to follow.  When Peggy tries to talk to Miss Blankenship, the poor old lady KEELS OVER, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER!

Peggy screams, and Don is interrupted from his meeting once again.  He walks into this scene:

Sally is tucked safely in Don’s office at the time, and sees nothing.  This is good, because if any child can’t handle witnessing more traumatic moments, it’s Sally!  As is common during situations like this (and they happen quite often among the SCDP folks) .  . .

Joan offers to take care of the situation — contacting the coroner, having a blanket in Roger’s office (“My mother MADE me THAT!”) draped over Miss Blankenship’s lifeless body, and sneaking the corpse out the back of the office, so that the sight of her won’t disturb the client meeting already in progress.  (Unfortunately, Don and Faye get ringside seats to the whole thing from where they are seated in the conference room .  . . and so do we.)

After the seemingly interminable meeting, a frantic Don asks Faye to take Sally back to Don’s apartment and watch her until he arrives home.  “Me?”  Faye asks incredulously.

“Well, I would ask my secretary to do it, but she’s DEAD!”  Don replies, matter-of-factly.

(Good ole Don — always bringing the funny, even in times of crisis.)

“What do I tell her I am?”  Faye inquires.

“You are Faye,” Don answers exasperatedy, wondering for a second, whether he should have picked a SMARTER girlfriend, like Bethany, or Doris the Waitress, or that prostitute that liked to slap his face during sex.  (Hey, it worked in Pretty Woman!)

To further prove her intelligence, just moments after Don introduces Faye to Sally by name, Faye tells Sally, in a ridiculously childish voice, through which each word is painstakingly enunciated, “Hello . . .  my . . . name . . . is . . . Faye.”

But, this is what Sally heard . . .

. . . and rightly so!

Yet, surprisingly, things go pretty A-OK for Sally and Faye back at Don’s apartment.  In fact, when Don comes back, Sally is in a pretty jubilant mood, considering all that happened.  After Faye leaves, the pair order pizza. 

“Are you going to marry, Faye?”  Sally asks inquisitively, between bites of pizza.

NO DON!  If you know what’s good for you, you will stay single for a LONG, LONG, TIME . . . or at least until after that long stint in rehab.

Don says, “No.”

To Don’s surprise (and mine), when Don asks Sally in turn if she likes Faye, Sally says, “Yes!” (apparently, ANYONE would be a better mother than Betty . . . even this monkey)

That night before going to bed, Sally asks if she and her brothers can come live with Don.  “I’ll be really good.  I will take care of my brothers,” Sally pleads.

Don, who is watching his sex life go out the window, remains calm on the outside, but inside he is pooping a brick.  “Good night, Sally,” he says ignoring her.

He can’t get out of that bedroom fast enough . . .

Midnight Mugging in NYC – The ULTIMATE Aphrodisiac

Back at the office, Roger and Joan are still very freaked out by the untimely death of Miss Blankenship.  “She died like she lived, surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” mused Roger.  “I DO NOT want to die in this office.  I almost did.  TWICE.”

Roger begs Joan to go out for coffee with him, for the third time in this episode.  Except, this time, Joan finally agrees.

The married couple (as in both are married, just not to eachother) have a great time on their date, reminiscing about the past.  “Everytime, I think back, all the good stuff was with you,” Roger insists.

On the walk home, Joan notes how much the neighborhood has changed.  And, as if to prove that point, Joan and Roger are held at gunpoint and mugged.  Fortunately for Joan, Roger doesn’t try to play vigilante or hero.  He calmly hands over his own wallet and watch, as well as, upon request, Joan’s purse.  The mugger’s request for Joan’s wedding ring elicits tears from her, but she ultimately complies.  Then, thankfully, the mugger leaves.

Relieved, terrified, and wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster of the past few days, Roger and Joan embrace.  And then they do more than embrace . . .

When Roger begins to pull away, Joan whispers, “Don’t stop,” and so he doesn’t . . .

(Now, while it was nice to see these two crazy kids doing it again, I couldn’t help but notice they were SCREWING IN A DIRTY DARK ALLEY KNOWN TO BE FREQUENTED BY MUGGERS WITH GUNS . . . just saying.)

The following morning, Bert struggles to write Miss Blankenship’s obituary.  He doesn’t want Don to do it, because Don is kind of an asshole didn’t know Miss Blankenship very well.  “She was born in a barn, and died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut,” offers Bert morosely.

Joan is called in to finish the job, and does so with an appropriate, if rather impersonal, obituary statement.  But before she can leave, Roger corners her.  “I feel something for you,” Roger proclaims.  “Tell me that you don’t feel it too.”

“I’m not sorry for what we did,” replies Joan.  “But I’m married, and so are you.”

Not that insignificant details such as these have stopped Roger before . . .

Nothing says loving like rum in your French Toast . . .

The next morning, Don awakens to the less than familiar sound of puttering in the kitchen.  Apparently, Sally has decided to cook Daddy breakfast.  Doing a disturbingly accurate impersonation of Betty at her most seductively kittenish, Sally struts into the living room of Don’s apartment carrying two trays.  “I hope you like French Toast,” she offers.

Don DOES like French toast.  Except this French Toast tastes funny.  “What’s in this?”  Don asks.

“Poison Miss Butterworth’s” Sally replies.

“Show it to me.”

Sally gets the bottle from the cabinet.  It looks like this . . .

“That’s rum.  Learn to read labels,” Don says gruffly, as he continues to eat.

“Does it taste bad?”  Sally inquires nervously.

“Not really,” answers the ALCOHOLIC.

Using her best Betty-pout, Sally commandeers Don into a morning at the zoo.   “You finish eating.  I’ll get ready,” she instructs.

The father / daughter pair have a great morning — such a great morning, in fact, that when it comes time for Betty to pick Sally up at the office, she doesn’t want to go home.  “I want to stay with you.  I hate it there [at Evil Betty’s House].”

When Don tries to reason with Sally, she throws a tantrum.  So, Don requests Faye’s help once again.  This time it doesn’t go so well.  Sally lashes out at Faye, and dashes off screaming down the hall.  Sally then trips and falls on her face, in front of the entire secretarial pool.  Fortunately, the surprisingly maternal Megan is there to save the day.

Megan gives Sally a sweet hug.  “I fall down all the time,” Megan offers gently, comforting the young girl, like a natural mother would.

When Betty arrives at the office, Sally obediently takes her hand, “Goodbye, Daddy,” she says solemnly, as if it will be the last time she will ever see him.

Back in Don’s office, Faye is PISSED at Don for putting her in the situation he did with Sally.  “I’m not good with kids.  I’ve made that sacrifice in my life.  I don’t consider it a failure,” insists Faye.

Fortunately, for Faye, neither does Don consider it a failure.  (After all, clearly he’s not good with kids, either.)  The two end the episode in a sweet embrace.

Chicken Soup for Peggy’s soul

“I don’t know what the heck that girl is talking about!”

Back in Peggy’s office, Joyce has returned to get the details on Peggy’s argument with Abe.  “Men think that they are like soup . . .” Joyce offers randomly, upong getting the 411.

“Women are expected to be the pots.”

“Abe is a good soup.  But I think women can be soup too,” concludes Joyce.

Ummm yeah.  All I got out of that, Joyce, was “Peggy, I want to sleep with you.”

Joyce asks Peggy out for more face licking drinks again, but Peggy declines.

“Are you angry or lovesick,” Joyce wonders.

“I don’t know,” says Peggy, before seeing Joyce out.

Peggy then heads to the elevator herself, where she converges upon two other women, Faye and Joan.  These three very different women, are obviously headed in three very different directions.  The question is:  Where are they going?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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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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You say you want a REVOLUTION? – A Recap of True Blood’s “I Smell a Rat”

Why does one bad apple  vampire have to spoil it for the whole bunch?  You see, up until this point on the show, Humans and Vamps?  They were getting along JUST FINE! 

Sure, there was a certain fringe group of humans that weren’t all too keen on letting the vampires play in their Human Games . . .

But they were just a bunch of religious wackjobs.  And no one cares what religious wackjobs think, anyway. 

That was before THIS happened . . .

Special thanks to Carol for this awesome GIF!

Suddenly, those “religious wackjobs” were starting to sound mighty convincing to a lot of people.  As a result, many of our friendly neighborhood vampires found themselves having to take certain “defensive” measures, to maintain the “status quo” . . .  And that was when all the POO really started to hit the fan.

Secrets were revealed, loyalties tested, and plenty of supernatural creatures were forced “out of the closet,” in the process.  In fact, so much went on during this episode, that I don’t even know where do begin.  Wait . . . yes, I do  . . .

Everybody Loves a Good FAIRY tale . . .

After weeks upon weeks of hinting and speculation, Bill finally revealed to Sookie, “her TRUE Nature” (or as Bill calls it, her “Nashahhhhh.”) When she finally finds out, Sookie is less than pleased.  “I’m a FAIRY?  How f*cking lame!”  Sookie gripes.

“Hey!  I resemble that remark!”

You know Sookie, there are a lot of WONDERFUL things about being a fairy.  After all, every time a bell rings, there’s a chance you may get your wings . . .

Oh, that’s angels?  Nevermind . . .

So, anyway, apparently, vampires just go CRAZY for fairy blood!  In other words, to Vampire Eric and Vampire Bill, Sookie tastes something like this .  . .

This begs the inevitable question as to whether Bill loves Sookie for her spunky, mind-reading, big-boobed self, or because her blood tastes like something he would order at Baskin Robbins.  Bill, of course, claims it is the former. 

“It is not your blood I love.  It is the way you scream ‘BEAAAAAAAAAL’ that really makes my heart flutter and my ear drums burst into flames.

Bill begins to wax poetic about how much he LUUUUUUVES Sookie, and wants to protect her for all eternity, and blah, blah, blah.  While he speaks, you can literally hear the violins playing in the background.  Super small ones . . .

When there’s a WILL, Vampire Eric gets his way .  . .

Meanwhile, Eric is at Fangtasia, drafting his Last Will and Testament with a lawyer, while Pam (who is looking FABULOUS, in her smokin hot purple leather dress, by the way) looks on, in not-so-silent protest.

“Let’s see, the rest and residuary of my Estate goes to Pam.  My heart .  . .

. . .and my weiner . . .

. . . belong to Miss Stackhouse.  But to whom shall I leave my crown?

Of course!  Lafayette – a King’s Crown for my favorite QUEEN!”

Vampire Pam is disappointed in her Maker.  It’s not like Eric to just roll over and “play undead,” just because some Big Gay Vampire King is mad at him.  She thinks he’s acting like a total pussy, and tells him as much.  But Eric, convinced he is about to meet his Maker . . .

Yeah . . . that one too, I guess.

 . . .  is determined to make his final arrangements.  He immediately asks SlutBall Yvetta to act as his witness, while he signs the will  . . .

Poor Dumb Yvetta!  She actually believed Eric was going to leave all his fortune to HER, just because the pair had a few good rolls in the coffin.  OK, a few good SIX-HOUR rolls in the coffin, but still . . .

“But you PROMISED!”  Yvetta whines, like the whorish Dancing Baby she is . . .

“I promised you a job and lots of good sex.  That’s all,” insists Eric, causing poor Yvetta to wet her diaper, before storming out in tears.

Out, Out, Damn Spot!

“Dammit!  This is the THIRD shirt I’ve lost to Vampire Guts.  If only there was a way to cope with tough-to-remove stains like these . . .

Thanks Tide!”

When we last left Tara, she was being rescued by Jason Stackhouse . . .

. . . who turned her abusive ex-boyfriend, Franklin . . .

 . . . into THIS . . .

Poor Franklin, if only he could have used his “Mad Texting Skills” to dial 911, things might have worked out differently for him . . .

We love you too, Franklin . . . you creepy psycho stalker, YOU!

Now, Jason, has had SOME experience killing EGGS . . .

 . . . but virtually NO experience, killing VAMPIRES (well, unless you count poor, Vampire Eddie, but that was purely for recreational purposes  . . .)

“Did I ever tell you about this time I drank Vampire Blood and got this massive boner for HOURS?  Good times!”

 So, the elder Stackhouse was, understandably,  a little freaked out . . .

I can’t believe I’ve killed such a brilliant texter!  Oh the lack of humanity!

So, Tara, who is VERY experienced in the art of Vampire Cleanup, takes charge, instructing Jason to pick up Franklin’s guts . . .

. . . dump them in his truck, and drive them FAR FAR AWAY! 

While Jason is handling the first load, Tara takes some time to pay her last respects to the love of her life  . . .

Nothing says loving like a LOOGEY!

“Oh, Tara!  How I’ve longed to taste your spit again!”

Jason and Tara then ride back to Jason’s house, where Fairy Sookie is waiting for them, and looking for some protection.

Sookie Plays Shrink . . .

“I should really charge by the hour for this!”

Poor Sookie!  She came to her brother’s house looking for safety, and some R&R  — after being on the run from vamps, werewolves, and maenads for THREE SEASONS without any breaks.  But NO ONE will let the Poor Fairy rest!  All they want to do is talk her ears off about their petty little problems.  First up is Tara, who wants to give Sookie the play-by-play in her neverending “Why I hate vampires” saga . . .

“He made me wear an ugly dress.  And he was a VERY bad kisser!  It was TERRIBLE!”

Next up was Jason, who inexplicably stayed clothed for the entire episode.  And for that reason, he must be PUNISHED!

“Bad for him.  Good for US!”

Jason finally admitted to Sookie that HE  broke killed Eggs, not Andy.

Take that, recent outbreak of Salmonella Poisoning!

Sookie responds by giving Jason the WORST ADVICE EVER!  “Tell Tara.”

Seriously?  What good could it possibly have served for Jason to tell Tara about Eggs, just moments after she suffered the traumatic experience of watching her abusive boyfriend die right in front of her, AGAIN!

And yet, tell Tara, Jason did, just moments before the fiesty femme was about to give him a Gratitude F*ck, for saving her from being murdered by Franklin.

“See this, Jason?  This is your chances of getting laid during this episode going down the drain . . .”

“Sh&t!  Not AGAIN!”

Tara dashes out of that room, faster than you can say “blue balls.”

Next, Vampire Eric comes to visit Sookie . . . TWICE!

The first time Vampire Bill is there.

The second time, he is in SOOKIE DREAMS!

“Woo hoo!”

Both times, the message is the same.  “Sookie, you want me, and my sexy body . . .

“Who doesn’t?”

 . . . and don’t trust Bill.”

In the first encounter, Sookie more or less blows off Eric.  And yet, she is noticeably distraught, when he not-so-subtly alludes to the very real possibility of him meeting his “final death.”  It is likely Sookie’s anguish over THIS first encounter, that causes her to DREAM of Eric that night.  And that dream . . . well . . . it deserves it’s own BOLD SUBHEADING, don’t you think?

Why aren’t MY dreams like THIS?

Sookie is dozing on the couch, when she awakens to find Eric perched on its armrest, peering down at her.  “Will your blood ever wear off?  I’m tired of dreaming of you.”

“Huh?”

(Hey Sookie, if you ever get tired of dreaming of Eric, I’d gladly take those pesky dreams off your hands for you.  No problem.)

“It’s not just the blood.  You KNOW you have feelings for me,” whispers Eric, as he leans in closer.

“Ew,” replies Sookie, but her rapid breathing, and “f*ck me” eyes  say something else entirely.

Dream Eric then leans in and kisses her gently.

In spite of herself, Sookie closes her eyes and moves in closer.  “You know you like this,” probes Eric, kissing the side of her neck, “and this,” he continues, kissing the front of her neck.  “And you know you can’t trust Bill.  That’s not my blood talking.  It’s your survival instinct,” concludes Eric, as he leans in to bite Sookie’s neck. 

Sookie sighs in ecstacy, and then (unfortunately) wakes up with a  start.  She HAS to go see Eric to engage in a hot six-hour sex session with him find out why he said he was about to die, and she can’t trust Bill.

Hallelujah!  Dreams CAN come true!

NOT a DREAM!

Sookie sneaks out from the “grounding” Papa Bill Compton enforced on her, and heads off to Fangtasia to visit Eric.

Time for dessert!

Sookie begins the meeting with all intentions of talking business, but Eric is much more interested in enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse Tongue Special, for his “Last Supper.”  Eric moves in close to Sookie, invading her personal space with gusto, just like he does in ALL of my favorite scenes, “If I meet the true death without at least having kissed you, Sookie Stackhouse, it would be my biggest regret.”

SQUUUUEEEE!

“That’s what I did during this scene!”

“Why does it sound like you are saying good bye,” whispers Sookie.

“Because I am,” responds Eric mournfully.

And then he leans in . . . and kisses her .  . . for REAL!  And guess what?  She KISSES HIM BACK!  And I’m not talking that peck on the lips, “I’m just humoring you, but you really remind me of of my grandpa,” kissing, either.  I am talking REAL, HONEST TO GOODNESS MAKING OUT, complete with arms fondling backs, and bodies squeezed tightly together like two halves of a delicious peanut butter sandwich.  In short — It’s the moment Sookie and Eric fans have been waiting for.  And it. is. AWESOME!

But then Pam (who I usually adore, but not today) has to come and screw it all up.

Pam implores Eric to either give Sookie up to Russell, or USE her, to save his own life.  (Note: There was some talk earlier in the episode, of Sookie’s blood permitting vampires to walk in the sun.  However, Bill assured Eric that the effect was only temporary.)

In the final scene of the episode, Eric shocks all of us, by carrying Sookie into a dungeon (the same one where he held Lafayette prisoner during the early part of Season 2), and chaining her to a wheel, by her neck. 

Who knew Eric was so into S&M?

Sookie immediately concludes that Eric has betrayed her.  But has he?  Or is he just doing this to save HER life?  Only time will tell . . .

Tommy Makes His Move (But So Does Hoyt!)

Back at Merlotte’s, our favorite Baby Vamp and Teen Shapeshifter are working HARD, and getting dirty together on the floor . . .

 Mmmmm, KINKY!

Unfortunately, Arlene the Ass isn’t helping them AT ALL!  Instead, that b*tch is  watching TV . . .

And who’s on the tube, you ask?  It’s Looney Tunes Hatemonger, Steve Newlin, of course!

For those of you just tuning in, Steve Newlin was one of the main villains of True Blood‘s Second Season.  He is the leader of a Vampire Hate cult called the Fellowship of the Sun.  The oddly charismatic Steve even briefly indoctrinated Bon Temps own Jason Stackhouse into his Sick Sad Cult World . . .

Fortunately, however, Good Ole’ Jason couldn’t keep it in his pants, as per usual . . . And when he started doing the horizontal mambo with Steve’s wife, Sarah . . .

 . . . Steve decided he didn’t want Jason in his little club anymore.

So, anyway, Arlene is busy not-cleaning, and watching Steve Newlin peddle his hate, when she suddenly blurts out, “It was only a matter of time before one of y’all got caught on film.”  (“Y’all” obviously referring to Jessica and the rest of her vampire kind.) 

OH NO, she DIDN’T!

Well, needless to say, Jessica doesn’t like that comment very much . . .

OK.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I loved this scene.  But the whole “Vampire gets mad and pushes the bad guy (or girl) against the wall, super fast” thing?  It happens EVERY SINGLE EPISODE.  And it’s getting kind of old.  Why can’t they just drop kick the bastards, and be done with it?

Apparently, Jessica has a little something she wants to say to her Good Ole Pal, Arlene.  “OK.  We get it.  You don’t like vampires.  Well I don’t like narrow minded skinny bitches with bad dye jobs.  But at least I’ve got the courtesy to keep my mouth shut about it . . . most of the time,” seethes the  Baby Vamp.

Meanwhile, Tommy, who has been watching this entire exchange take place, is clearly turned on . . .

“Damn!  This is better than the porn I watched on PayPerView last night, and charged to Sam’s credit card.”

“You don’t think he knows, do you?”

After Arlene scampers away, like the whiny coward she is, Tommy moves in for the “kill,” telling Jessica how hot her fangs and rage issues are to him.  But Jessica is still hung up on Hoyt, and she tells Tommy as much.  “Then why are you here with me and not him?”  Tommy asks, with surprising amount of bravado, seeing as Jessica has given him NO REASON whatsoever to believe she’s interested.

“If you want my body, and you think I’m sexy, come on Vampire let me know!”

“Because this is my shift.  Duh!  Because Hoyt is too good for me,” Jessica pouts.

Never much for self-respect  (You know what they say about lying down with dogs, after all .  . .), Tommy responds, “But I’m not too good for you.”

Then, Jessica leaves his ass.  BURN! 

Ummm, Tommy.  I have a book recommendation for you . . .

Meanwhile, Hoyt is in the car with a VERY HORNY Summer .  . .

Summer is ready to do it with Hoyt, because she thinks screwing him will save their dead-in the-water relationship.

“I have a mouth like a hoover, if that helps!”

To Hoyt’s credit, he doesn’t enjoy his Summer.  Instead, he grows some balls, and finally kicks the antiquing, porcelain doll collecting, freako to the curb.

“Does this mean no more biscuits?”

Immediately after ditching Summer, Hoyt rushes to the bar to profess his love to Jessica!

But she once again blows him off . . .

When Hoyt storms out, Tommy rushes after him, to rub salt in his nemesis’ wound .  . . so Hoyt decks him.  Then Tommy turns into THIS . . .

. . . and attacks Hoyt.  (Ummm . . . weirdest fight over a girl, EVER!)

When Jessica comes outside, and sees Hoyt being attacked by Doggy Tommy, she easily tosses him into the trees, like he’s a random piece of dust that got on her shirt.  It is the coolest thing EVER! 

 (Another note: It’s uncertain at this point, whether Jessica KNOWS what Tommy is.  Perhaps, she just thought Hoyt, was being attacked by some random mangy mutt.  Perhaps not . . .)

As Naked Tommy looks on sadly from the bushes, Jessica tells Hoyt she loves him too.  She then forces him to drink her blood, to heal his Tommy bites.

Awwww yeah!  It’s only a matter of time, before these two are de and re-virginizing eachother regularly once again.  And I for one, couldn’t be happier . . .

I’m sorry, Tommy!  I know things haven’t exactly been easy for you during this episode.  Fortunately, however, I have something that is sure to cheer you right up . . .

You’re welcome!

Sam Merlotte Gets “Lost”

While Tommy was busy getting beat up by a girl and rejected, his dog partner in crime, Sam, was equally busy altering his entire personality from the past three seasons — by snapping at everyone, drinking heavily, and experiencing flashbacks.  Since when did Sam Merlotte become Sawyer from Lost?

“Is this another Flash-Sideways?”

Just like a certain, Flight 815 survivor, apparently Sam Merlotte was somewhat of a con artist in his “past life.”  In fact, he made most of his cash by robbing banks and jewelry stores, using his shapeshifting abilities to sneak in and out unnoticed.

“And to think, all this time, I’ve been relying on my good looks and great abs to get me in the door . . .”

In Sam’s little flashback, he seems to have a girlfriend . . .

Yeah, bye bye is right, b&tch!

The girlfriend is played by Arielle Kebbel.  And if you know the actress, you knew the character was a goner, the moment she appeared on screen.  After all, Arielle bears the dubious distinction of being the girl who’s character gets tragically killed in EVERY SINGLE supernatural TV show or horror movie in which she is featured . . .

This is DEAD Arielle Kebbel in The Vampire Diaries.  Believe it or not, she actually played a VAMPIRE in that one . . .

Anyway, apparently, Arielle (or whatever her name was in the episode) was only using Sam, so that she and her boyfriend could get his money and booty .  . .

 . . . runoff, and live Trashily Ever After.  When I heard this, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another blonde brat who tried to do the EXACT SAME THING to the man who loved her . . .

Yeah . . . her.  Apparently, it was LOST Day on True Blood . . .

So, b&tchy Arielle and her beau escape with poor Sam’s moolah, while Sam lies writhing on the floor, plotting his revenge.  He gets it the next night, when he arrives in dog form at the couple’s campsite.  (Really?  A campsite?  All those jewels and cash, and these two couldn’t afford a hotel?  What gives True Blood?)

So, Sam morphs back into human form, and holds a gun at Bad Boyfriend’s head . . .

Sam then knocks the dude unconscious and waves the gun over his prone form.  Then Arielle takes out a gun and holds it at Sam’s head.  Not thinking clearly, Sam instantly shoots his so called lady love dead.  In anguish, he then shoots the boyfriend to cover his tracks, and leaves the campsite. 

AHA!

So, NOW we know why Sam was on the run from the cops during the first season!  It all makes sense now!  I just wonder why he never got around to changing his name, seeing as “Sam Merlotte” may or may not still be wanted for murder . . .

Speaking of Murderers .  . .

Arlene FINALLY tells Terry that the baby in her belly is not his, but rather Evil Rene’s.  And you know what?  Terry is AWESOME about it . . .

He offers to raise the baby as his own, and give it so much love, it can’t possibly turn evil.  (Awwww, I heart HIM!)

And yet, Arlene STILL wants to get rid of the baby.  So, she asks her new “Wiccan” friend Holly to help her out in this regard.

Arlene is a total Poopyhead!

In fact, that’s what I think I will call her for the rest of the Season .  . .

Have a nice trip, boys!

Lafayette’s and Jesus’ story this week, started with a miraculous rescue . . .

 . . . and ended with a “trip” that looked like a Disney World ride . . .

“Hey, isnt that the old hag from Snow White?  Weird!”

It all started when Trailer Trash Barbie . . .

  . . . Crystal, along with Jesus . . .

 . . . and Lafayette were driving around with a half-dead Calvin Norris in the backseat.  Since there didn’t seem to be any time to get to a hospital  (And lets face it, with the exception of Jesus, NONE of those folks have an ounce of health insurance.), Lafayette decides to take the whole gang to his house.  There, he feeds Calvin some of that vampire blood he has been dealing.  Calvin heals almost immediately, but then disowns his daughter for letting two gay guys feed him V.  Talk about ungrateful!

“Them f*ckers is a WHOLE NEW DIMENSION of trash!”  Lafayette muses. 

Trash . . . the final frontier.

Alone again, Jesus, who despite being all holier than thou, and “I can’t date a drug dealer,” just episodes earlier, begs Lafayette to take V with him. 

Remembering how much he LOVED the stuff last time . . .

 . . . Lafayette agrees, and the two have this weird theme park-esque tripping sequence, where they proceed to tell eachother about their family roots, both of which seem steeped in freaky voodoo-type magic.  But the absolute weirdest hallucination of them all was THIS GUY . . .

Apparently, Jesus has an evil grandfather of some sort.  (Hope his name isn’t Judas . . .)

And finally . . .

Bat sh*t crazy Russell . . .

 .  . . picked up some random male prostitute, holed up with him in a random hotel, and talked to him as if he was Talbot, before staking him.

“Oh, Russell!  This is BEYOND offensive!  I am WAY cuter than this guy!  And you did it in a seedy motel, with COTTON sheets instead of silk.  If my guts weren’t trapped in that vase of yours, I’d be ROLLING OVER in my grave!”

Oh, and I almost forgot . . .

After Jason uninvited Bill to his apartment, because Bill gave him WAY TOO MUCH crap for accidentally letting Sookie, a GROWN woman, escape, Crystal . . .

 . . . snuck into Jason’s house, and revealed herself to be one of THESE . . .

Watch out Tara, I smell a CAT FIGHT in your future . . .

So, there you have it folks, another spectacular installment of True Blood is in the can.  Can you believe there are only two episodes remaining, before we bid this fabulous Season adieu?

 [www.juliekushner.com]

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Welcome Back, Mr. Draper! – A Recap of Mad Men’s Season 4 Premiere Episode “Public Relations”

You’ve been missed . . . you sexy Mad Man, YOU!

Hard to believe, it’s been a FULL YEAR since those crazy cats at Sterling Cooper up and left the agency that still bore THEIR OWN NAMES, to start a brand new one.  (Actually, it’s EASY to believe.  Every day away felt like pure torture to me!)  But, hey, the past is in the past, right?  It’s a new year (1964), and our Mad Men have a shiny new logo, and a brand new office, to call “home” . . .

Pretty snazzy, right?

So, pour yourself some scotch, light up a ciggy, and practice your “John’s” and “Marsha’s,” because it’s time to start recapping!

” . . . so cheap, they couldn’t afford to get us a whole reporter!”

“We’re crude, inappropriate, mean-spirited, and make fun of cripples.  But you love us, anyway!”

When the episode begins, Don is seated at a coffee shop, enduring a tedious interview with a bland journalist from an advertising rag.  The purpose of the interview is to drum up business for the still fledgling Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce advertising agency, which, a year after it’s inception, is still just finding its sea legs.  “Who is Don Draper?”  Bland Journalist inquires, ironically echoing nearly the exact sentiments of practically EVERY newspaper / magazine that has covered Mad Men in the past three years.

Others who have reviewed this episode found Don’s reply to this question, obnoxious.  I, however, felt it was entirely understandable, if not exactly polite or appropriate.  To me, “Who are you?”  is the autobiographical equivalent of that all-too-familiar job interview question, most feared and despised by prospective employees the world over:

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

There is absolutely NO good way to answer a question like this succinctly, without sounding at best, trite, and, at worst, like a total tool.  It’s a stress question, pure and simple.  Bland Journalist himself  all but confirms this, when Don challenges the nature of the inquiry.  “How do people respond, when you ask them that question?”  He scoffs.

“Usually they think about it for a moment, and then say something cute.”  (That’s right, because “cute” and “trade magazine” are clearly synonymous with one another).  Nevertheless, here are some examples of answers Don COULD have given:

“I am the walrus.”

Who am I?  That’s a secret I’ll never tell.  XOXO, Gossip Girl.

Instead, Don simply replies that he’s from the Midwest, where he was taught that it is impolite to talk about yourself.  He’d much prefer to talk about his new ad campaign for his client, Glo- Coat, but Bland Journalist isn’t biting.  He’s got all the information he needs.  “It’s only a couple hundred words, but, with any luck, the picture will be bigger than the article,” concludes Blandy.

Good call, Ad Age magazine!  VERY good call!

To make things even more awkward, Pete and Roger arrive on the scene, crowding Bland Journalist with their good natured butt-kissing, and shameless self-promotion, respectively.  “Here’s my card.  You’ll probably want to write an article about me when I finish my book,” offers Roger, completely without irony. 

Bland Journalist is apparently so excited by this prospect, that he knocks into the table and twists his leg around . . . his wooden leg, that is.  Awkward apologies are muttered all around.  And with a “sincere” thanks from Pete for his service to his country (turns out Blandy’s a Korean war vet), the Journalist is on his not-so-merry way. 

“Would you look at that?  [Ad Age] is so cheap, they couldn’t even afford to give us a whole reporter,” quips Silver Fox, Roger Sterling.

Pretty harsh, right?  In his defense, this isn’t the first time Roger’s dealt with the extremity-challenged, in a business capacity.  Perhaps, you recall last season, when this . . .

 . . . let to this . . .

 . . . and, subsequently, this . . .

So, coming from the guy who once did THIS . . .

 . . . I’d say Roger was surprisingly well behaved.  Wouldn’t you?

Is it any wonder Blandy ends up writing an article that makes Don look like a total prick, putting the company in jeopardy, and forcing clients to seek representation elsewhere (including Harry’s precious Jai Alai)?


“I’m trying to be an adult about this.   But it’s just SO HARD!”

Next stop for the trio is an impromptu meeting with Jantzen, a swim suit company, that wants to advertise bikinis (I’m sorry, TWO-PIECE SUITS), without resorting to any sex appeal whatsoever.  They justify this by claiming to be a “Family Company.”  Yeah . . . You know who ELSE is a “Family Company?”  Hooters . . .

“Give me my Ham (and my Jon Hamm!)”

Disgruntled that “Family Companies” like Jantzen are the kind they now have to beg for business, the Hot Trio heads back to their “new” office . . . well, it’s new to us anyway.  While bemoaning it’s small size (Employees have made a habit of lying to clients, and pretending it has a second floor . . . It doesn’t.), Scrappy Curmudgeon, Bertram Cooper, unwittingly gives us a nice tour of the place. 

During that tour we learn that Joan FINALLY has her own office . . .

And Peggy has a new part-time assistant / art guru.  The bad news is, it’s not Sal . . .

The good news is, this New Guy is pretty cute too!

Nice butt!

The character’s name is Joey Baird, and he’s played by Matt Long, who you may remember from the recently cancelled series, The Deep End, or the not-so-recently cancelled series, Jack and Bobby, or (blushes) the movie Sydney White, starring Amanda Bynes.

Wait  . . . that’s not a good picture of him.  Let me show you a better one . . .

You’re welcome!

When we first meet Joey, he’s playfully enjoying a little inside joke with our favorite Secretary-turned- Senior Copy Editor, Peggy Olson.

Love your newfound spunk, confidence, and laidback attitude, Peggy!  Not so crazy about the new ‘do . . .

Throughout the episode,  the two coo “John” and “Marsha” to one another repeatedly.  I’ll admit that, while I thought the whole bit was cute and amusing, I didn’t get the reference at first.  Upon further research, I learned that “John and Marsha” was a comedy sketch originated by a man named Stan Freberg in the late 1950’s.  If you are curious about it, you can find it, here.  However, it’s more or less what you see on the show.  Namely, lots of different variations on ways of saying the same two names, OVER and OVER and OVER again . . .

Along with the always adorable Pete Campbell (who I’ve majorly crushed on for three seasons straight, DESPITE his evil tendencies and smarminess; and who was unusually sweet, polite and altogether smiley, in this episode) . . .

I LOVE YOU . . .

 .  . . even though you might KILL ME!

 .  . . Peggy and Joey devise a cheap and easy way to advertise for one of their smaller clients, Sugarberry Ham.  The “advertising” will involve paying off two actresses to viciously fight over the ham in a grocery store, on the day before Thanksgiving.  Knowing that Don will likely disapprove of the stunt, they decide not to tell him.  Initially, the plan seems to go off without a hitch.  The “fight over the ham” makes headlines, and Sugarberry increases their advertising budget, as a result.   But then, one of the actresses charges the other one with assault, and an arrest is made. 

So, on Thanksgiving morning, Peggy has to call Don, with her tail between her legs, so that the actress in question can make bail.  Don initially balks at the request.  However, eventually, Don recalls that very special time when Peggy bailed HIM out of jail for drunk driving, while he was schtupping that comedian’s wife during Season 2 . . .

That is NOT Betty Draper . . .

He ultimately relents, allowing Peggy to come to his apartment to retrieve the cash.  Afraid of getting reamed a new one by her boss, Peggy brings her new boyfriend (fiance?) for protection.  Unfortunately, New Beau Mark doesn’t look like he could protect Peggy from a frisky kitten, much less Don.  Mark is played by Blake Bashoff, who Lost fans may remember as Dead Karl.  He looks like this . . .

 . . . only a bit older, and less bloody.

Mark does manage to let it slip that Peggy is his fiance, an admission which raises Don’s eyebrows, and which Peggy denies vigorously.

The next day at the office however, Don DOES ream Peggy a new one, for not informing him sooner about the stunt, and for jeopardizing the firm’s reputation.  But New and Improved Peggy more than holds her own in the Lion’s Den, arguing that the stunt DID in fact increase profits for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.  “Our reputation is pretty much where you left it,” retorts Peggy, not so subtly hinting at her boss’ Ad Age snafu.

Peggy also calls Don out on being spiteful, when he tells her she can’t take part in the Jantzen pitch meeting.  “You know, we’re all here because of you.  Everyone just wants to please you,” Peggy concludes matter-of-factly, before turning on her heel and stalking out of his office.  You GO GIRL!

Bitch Slaps and Girl Trouble

But Peggy isn’t the only lady giving Don Draper “girl trouble.”  He’s also coping with the fact that his wife is currently living in HIS marital home with the Deadly Boring Henry Francis, while HE keeps paying the mortgage (more on those two in a bit). Unaccustomed to seeing Don Draper NOT getting laid on a regular basis, Roger decides to set him up with cult leader Sarah Newlin from True Blood one of his tartlet new wife’s friends, Z-list actress, Bethany Van Nuys.

Bethany kind of reminds me of a slightly younger version of Betty Draper, on uppers.  She twirls to show Don her borrowed dress, and bemoans the sorry state of the world.  Later, on the taxi ride home, Bethany lets Don make out with her, and feel her up a bit, but will not let him walk her back to her apartment, “I know that trick,” she whispers coyly.

When he declines an invitation to spend Thanksgiving with Roger and his wife, Bethany offers to see him again on New Year’s Eve.  “We’ll see how things go,” she concludes, nonchalantly, before leaving Don to nurse his blue balls . . .

Unable to get a proper FREE lay, Don is forced to resort to paying for one.  In a slightly disturbing scene, Don invites a hooker to his shabby apartment, and instructs her to slap him in the face over and over again, with increasing force, as they screw.  I haven’t felt this uncomfortable watching Don Draper, since last season, when he picked up those hitchhikers, took some hallucinogenics, danced seductively with that teen from the kid show, Zoey 101, and passed out on the floor . . .

Now, I know there are a lot of powerful CEO types who enjoy being dominated in the bedroom, as a change of pace from their day-to-day lives.  But Don Draper has been SO emasculated, in practically every way possible, in recent episodes, that it’s a little surprising that HE, of all people, would be into this sort of thing. 

When Don picks up the children, the tension between him, Betty, and Henry is palpable.   To make matters worse, when he drops them off, Betty has intentionally stayed out past curfew.  He is, therefore, forced to wait alone in the dark of his former home, watching television, waiting for the inevitable confrontation to ensue . . .

In Evil Wench and Mr. Boring News . . .

Yes, that’s how I feel about them too, Sally!

When we first see Betty, this season, her and two of her three kids (What happened to Baby Gene?  Who stole Baby Gene?) are spending Thanksgiving with Henry’s family.  Clearly acting out, when Henry’s mother (who sort of didn’t look OLD enough to be his mother?) asks Sally Draper if she is enjoying the food, she poutily replies, “No.  I’m not hungry.”

In response, the kindly Betty shoves a heaping serving of marshmallows in Sally’s mouth, practically choking her own daughter.  Taken by surprise, Sally gags and spits up pre-chewed food all over the fancy table.   Betty then roughly drags Sally out by her arm, her long nails clawing into Sally’s wrist.  “You’re pinching me!”  Sally yelps, for the whole dinner table to hear.

Between this exchange and Betty’s later, “Don’t tell your Dad how mean I am to you” – threat in the hallway, late at night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a movie I caught on cable recently.  Here, let me show you a clip . . .

“Well, she’s absolutely right!  Wire hangers ruin EVERYTHING!”

Seriously, could Betty BE a more hateful mother to her kids?  Fortunately, Naive and Not-Too-Swift, Bobby Draper, has, so far, gotten himself through this whole ordeal mostly unscarred.  But Sally?  That girl’s got “join a Doomsday cult” written ALL OVER HER!

“Time to drink the Kool Aid!”

Even Henry Francis’ cold shrew of a mother thinks Betty sucks at parenting.  “I’ve raised raised a few children in my day.  And those kids are terrified of her,” she cautions.

And the SECOND Worst Mother of the Year Award goes to . . .

“I see what appeals to you about her, and you don’t need marriage to get it.  She’s a Silly Woman, Henry.  And why are you still living in that man’s dirt?” Betty’s Monster-In-Law-To-BE continues.

“Because I’m a pig.  Oink, Oink!”

Clearly affected by his mother’s speech, sniveling rat, Henry, refuses to stick up for Betty, when Don confronts her about their not moving out of the house.  “He’s right, you know!  You haven’t even started looking,” whines Henry.

(Whatever happened to the guy who said, “I’ll take care of you, Betty.  I don’t want you to OWE [Don] anything, Betty?”  Has Mommy Dearest, Betty, sucked THAT out of him too?)

And you know what the ABSOLUTE WORST thing about this couple is?  They keep THEIR DOG CHAINED UP OUTSIDE!

FOR SHAME!

Don throws a temper tantrum, then FINALLY RE-grows a pair, and saves the day . . .

This picture has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what I’m about to tell you.  I just really like it is all!

In the last few moments of the episode, Don and the rest of SCDP meet with the holier-than-thou Jantzen Swimsuit execs.  Don responds to their request that he keep their advertising pure and clean by . . . NOT LISTENING TO THEM AT ALL! 

 “So well built, we can’t show you the top floor,” Don pitches, showing the saintly wing nuts a highly suggestive (especially given the times) photograph of a woman wearing only a bikini bottom, and a white band across her boobs, so that you can’t tell whether she’s wearing a top, or not.

For whatever reason, Don’s advertisement kind of reminded me of THIS.

Well, the Jantzen people are appalled.  You can almost see their panties getting tied in a knot over the thought of this “lewd” picture representing their “Family Company.”  When they politely protest, Don berates them for their prudishness, and violently kicks them out of the office.  “Get me an interview with The Wall Street Journal,” he barks.

“And I thought I was the baby of the office!”

The Season Premiere Episode of Mad Men ended much as it began, with Don Draper being interviewed by a journalist, this time a slightly less bland one from The Wall Street Journal.  Here, a newly animated Don (humbly) touts himself as the driving force behind SCDP.  He then launches into the story of how SCDP got started, which is basically the same story that made up the Season 3 Finale.  A very exciting tale indeed!

So, there you have it, the Season Premiere Episode of Mad Men.  So what did you think?  Was it everything you hoped it would be?  Do you hate Betty and Henry as much as I do?  Do you think I’m weird for crushing on Pete for as long as I have?  Important questions . . . all. 

But before you go, I have something you might want to try . . .

It’s a little quiz from AMC’s website, in which you “interview” for a job at SCDP.  The first time I took it, I got “Secretary,” which, I have to admit, bugged me a bit.  Apparently, I’m a bit too nice for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce . . . So, I “interviewed” again and got “Account Manager.”  Much better .  . .

You can try the quiz, here.

[Watch Mad Men Sunday nights, at 10 p.m. on AMC.]

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