Tag Archives: Don and Betty

My Love Letter to AMC’s Mad Men

To promote Season 4 of its critically acclaimed television series, Mad Men, AMC will be airing “marathons” featuring the five “best” (as determined by viewer votes) episodes of the show’s first three seasons.  The marathons are scheduled to air each Monday night (starting at 8 p.m.) until the season premiere (Sunday, July 25th at 10 p.m.). 

Tonight’s marathon installment featured five episodes from my favorite season of the show, namely, it’s first season.  Watching the marathon (and yes, I actually sat through all five hours) reminded me of how spectacular this program is, and how much I have missed having it in my life during its interminably long hiatus. 

The phrase “relationship television” refers to the phenomenon where a viewer will compulsively watch a particular television show each week, to the point of sometimes altering their personal and professional lives around the viewing of that show.  I am not ashamed to admit that I am in a “relationship” with Mad Men.  And you know what’s great about relationships?  The cheesy love letters that come with them, of course!

Dear Mad Men,

The first time I heard about you, I wasn’t sure we would get along.  You see, typically, I’m not a big fan of “period pieces.” 

And, although you are certainly more contemporary than other shows of that genre, you ARE technically a period piece, Honey.  Granted, you received rave reviews from highly intellectual critics and pundits, even before you arrived.  But that just made me think you were stuck up and elitist.

Plus, you were on a television channel that I had never watched before — one that I had heard catered almost exclusively to really, really old people.

But a friend of mine aggressively sang your praises.  She told me how hot, sexy, smart, and witty you were.  She had me at “hot and sexy” . . .

So, I watched the pilot episode.  And even before the first commercial break, I was hooked.  I mean, it was REALLY love at first sight.

Your pilot episode opened with this brilliant scene!   In it (just in case you don’t remember), the lead protagonist, Don Draper, is in a bar, struggling over an advertising campaign he must pitch to the makers of Lucky Strike cigarettes, the following morning.  You see, it had recently been revealed that smoking could cause lung cancer. 

Furthermore, federal legislation prevented advertisers from saying that cigarettes were “healthy.”  The meeting was just a few hours away, and Don still had nothing to present to his clients.  So, understandably, your protagonist was a tad stressed out.  So while Don is busy getting plastered at the bar, he is also hard at work, brainstorming ideas for his campaign (Talk about multi-tasking!).  To organize his ideas, Don uses the advanced technology available to him during the 1960’s.   No lame lined notepad is good enough for the likes of Don Draper! NO WAY!

Don has something a bit more “high-tech” in mind . . .

I mean, seriously, he wrote ALL OVER that napkin!  By the time he was finished, there was so much writing on that piece of cloth, you could barely tell what color it was! 

When the waiter approaches Don, the latter tries to wrangle him into a conversation about what type of cigarettes he smokes (Hint: NOT Lucky Strikes).  “I just love to smoke,” explains the waiter, matter-of-factly.  Don deems the statement important enough to jot down on the sacred napkin.  (Way to go, Waiter Dude!)

This conversation is interrupted by the manager of the restaurant, who immediately presumes that the waiter is bothering Don, simply because said waiter is black.  As a child of the late 20th century, I found the blatant racism to be pretty shocking and offensive.  But back then, it must have been fairly common place.  Then, as Don scans the bar, the entire room seems to explode in a giant puff of smoke! 

Because, of course, EVERYONE smoked in the early 1960’s!  The scene I just described was less than five minutes long.  Yet, despite its deceptive simplicity, it spoke volumes.

That’s one of the things I love most about you, Mad Men.  You never talk down to me, or feel the need to spell things out for me.  You don’t take my intelligence for granted.  This makes me feel smarter, when I watch you.  And, in case you haven’t noticed, I enjoy feeling smart. 

(It happens so rarely, after all.)

Aside from your witty writing and snappy dialogue, you know what else is so great about you?  Your cast of characters . . .

When writing a show that takes place in a corporate environment, it’s sometimes tempting to simply rehash the same stale corporate stereotypes we generally see on show’s of the “office” variety.  But you didn’t take the easy way out, Mad Men.  Each of YOUR characters are multi-faceted and complex, from the lead role down to mere walk-on parts, like, for example, that waiter in the aforementioned pilot episode. 

In fact, it wouldn’t be at all out of the ordinary for a character who initially seemed pigeon-holed in the uptight “goody two shoes” role to rock out at a party . . .

. . . or get high on some killer weed, while spending a late night at the office . . .

. . . or get knocked up by a coworker, and not tell him about the baby until a full season year has passed, since it was given up for adoption.

I also wouldn’t put it past you to have a heretofore pristine and well-coifed housewife come completely unglued . . .

 . . . or to have a beloved gay character nearly raped by a man, and then subsequently fired for REFUSING to submit to the rapist’s advances . . .

Oh, and the female characters on this show?  They totally kick ass!

Early 1960’s America wasn’t a kind place for working women.  In the workplace, they were often mistreated, and undervalued, if not openly sexually harassed.

They also lacked the same opportunities as men, and were expected to conform to the demeaningly narrow stereotypes of the era.

And yet, many of the female characters on this show, bucked societal trends, and found success in the “take-no-prisoners” world of corporate New York City.

Did I mention that the men on the show are hot?

And their sexual conquests are even hotter?

Seriously, what more could I ask for in a “Television Show Relationship?”

Well . . . maybe there is one more thing, I could ask for.  It’s a minor thing, really.  It’s just that . . .  DO YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING AWAY FOR SO DAMN LONG?

I know they say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but a YEAR???  Come on, Mad Men!  That type of “absence” just makes the heart depressed.

And yet, now, I hear you are returning to my home in just a few short weeks!

So, I hope you’ve been working out . . .

 . . . because I plan to have some SERIOUS makeup sex with you, upon your return!

See you on July 25th!  I love you!

XOXO,

KJewls

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Filed under Mad Men

Hot Times, Summer in TV Land – What shows will YOU be watching during the “off-season?”

 

Hey!  Where did everybody go?

Remember when “original television programming,” during the summer season, meant nothing more than a bunch of lame ass game shows . . .

 . . . and mind-numbing reality series?

Well . . . it still does.

Fortunately, however, thanks to an increasing number of “pay” cable channels opting to provide their fans with original series ALL YEAR ROUND, summer television sucks a heck of a lot less than it did, say, five-years ago.

This morning, I was browsing through the online edition of Entertainment Weekly, when I came across this very cool article, which briefly summarized what television shows will be gracing our small screens this summer.  Based on this article, and some additional research on my part, I managed to compile a surprisingly full “Summer TV Watching Roster” for myself.  Here’s a list of the shows that made my “watch list.”

THE VETERANS, a.k.a shows that I’ve watched in the past, and think are AWESOME — Therefore, I will watch them again . . .

True Blood

Premieres Sunday, June 13th at 9pm on HBO.

This one sort of goes without saying, doesn’t it?  Particularly, since I have already been yammering on about the show on this blog, FOR WEEKS!  I mean, honestly, what could be better than a super raunchy, hilarious, and at-times very scary show, featuring all of the things I love best?  For the past two seasons it has been on the air, every SINGLE hour of True Blood has been jam packed with:

Shirtless Men;

Vampires;

Sex (sometimes, even ORGIES!);

Blood;

Love triangles;

and people who talk with funny accents!  And if that hasn’t sold you yet, this BRAND NEW extended trailer definitely WILL . . .

Entourage

Premieres Sunday, June 27th at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

It’s hard to believe that this show is already heading into its SEVENTH SEASON!  It seems like only yesterday that “new hot young movie star” Vinnie Chase and his boys — uptight Eric, loveable loser Turtle, and dimwited has-been Johnny Drama — were making waves in the L.A. party scene, by bedding all the underage ladies, and pissing off all the celebrity guest stars. 

 Then again, maybe it WAS yesterday.  After all, one of the best things about Entourage is how comfortingly predictable it is.  Sure, Vinnie Chase is slightly less new and certainly less young than he was in early seasons.  And, yes,  his “hotness” as a character always tended to wax and wane, depending on what fake movie he was starring in, during a particular season (and how big his hair was at the time).  But other than that, most of the show’s episodes followed a pretty basic formula, and that formula WORKED! 

Basically, I think a lot of Entourage‘s long running success has to do with how well it caters to the basic male fantasy.  Seriously, what GUY wouldn’t want to do virtually nothing all day, but party with his friends and various celebrities (The latter usually drop in for cameos, playing exaggeratedly douchey versions of themselves).  And, yet, still be rich, successful, and highly oversexed?  Here is an example of a typical scene you might see during a run-of-the-mill episode of Entourage . . .

In conclusion, if you are a “dude,” or a girl who likes watching “dudes” do their thing on television, Entourage is the summer show for you!

Mad Men

Premieres Sunday, July 25th at 10 p.m. on AMC

A few months back, I wrote a blog entry that sort of functioned as unofficial tribute to all things Mad MenIt has been almost a year since this one-hour drama, set during the early 1960s, about the employees of a successful New York City advertising agency, graced my television set.  And yet, I STILL consider the show to be one of the best written and most intelligent programs on television today.  (ESPECIALLY since Lost and The Sopranos are no longer on TV . . .).

The show’s third season finale was just JAM PACKED with OMFG moments.  Most notably, both Sterling AND Cooper QUIT Sterling & Cooper (along with the show’s main protagonist, Don Draper, and MOST of the other series regulars on the show) to start their OWN AD AGENCY!

Huh?

Wait a second . . . didn’t Sterling and Cooper ALREADY HAVE their own ad agency?  You know . . . the one that was NAMED after them!  Well . . . yes . . .  technically . . . But then this British ad agency came and bought them out.  Except, THAT agency ended up just wanting to . . . Well . . . maybe you should just Netflix Season 3, and see for yourself . . .

Oh, and did I mention that TV Super Couple, Don and Betty, are getting a divorce?

Or that I AM IN LOVE with Pete Campbell / Vincent Kartheiser?

Sorry . . . completely irrelevant, I know.  Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

Having crafted a brilliant and unexpected Season 3 finale, it looks as though the Mad Men writers have laid the groundwork for what will undoubtedly be an exciting new season . . .

My Boys

Premieres, Sunday, July 25th at 10 pm on TBS (It looks like I’ll be taping this one . . .)

Television watching can’t be ALL DRAMA, ALL THE TIME, can it?  Especially during those hot summer months, I always like to throw a little light comedy into my TV watching schedule.  For the past three years, this little sitcom, about a twenty-something sports journalist from Chicago, and her rag tag gaggle of guy friends, has fit the bill just fine.  At the end of last season, P.J. tried to cope with her ex-boyfriend, Bobby’s upcoming marriage, by hooking up with Bobby’s older brother on the night of Bobby’s wedding. 

Sounds like a great idea, right?  And, perhaps, it would be, if Bobby didn’t walk in on the couple in flagrante, just as he was on the verge of telling P.J. that he still had feelings for HER!

My Boys may not be the most original sitcom out there, nor is it the funniest.  And yet, I’ve always found it enjoyable to watch.  Plus, TWO of P.J.’s “boys” are particularly easy on the eyes (Take a look at the cast pic above, and you will see exactly who I mean), which certainly doesn’t hurt . . .

THE ROOKIES, a.k.a. new shows I am willing to give the privilege of having a temporary slot on my TV-watching “dance card,” until they inevitably disappoint me with their suckiness . . .

The Gates

Premieres Sunday, June 20th at 10pm on ABC.

 

Interestingly enough, this show, about a snooty suburban community that just so happens to house residents with supernatural powers, was the only one on basic (non-pay) cable to make my Summer TV Watching list.  What can I say?   I’ve always been a “sucker” (pun intended) for a good vampire tale . . .

Haven

Premieres Friday, July 9th at 10pm on the SyFy

This “mystery-of-the week” type drama, created and produced by the same people who brought you The Dead Zone, has been described as “Twin Peaks meets the X-Files” ( says Entertainment Weekly), with a little bit of Fringe thrown in for good measure.  The show follows two FBI agents, as they investigate strange supernatural happenings (Are you noticing a pattern here?) occurring in a small town in Maine.  The program is purportedly based on a novella by Stephen King, entitled The Colorado Kid (as opposed to “The Maine Kid”?).

Stephen King tales tend to be genuinely spooky, with excellent plotting and great characterization to boot.  I’m hoping this series offers some of that as well.  Though I’m not generally a fan of horror, for whatever reason, I always find myself drawn to “scary” shows, during the summer months.   It looks like this summer will be no exception.  Plus, I like the fact that, unlike the other shows on my list, this show isn’t serialized.  So, if I have to miss an episode or two, I won’t be completely lost.

Melissa and Joey

Premieres Tuesday August 17th at 8pm on ABC Family

OK, I’m going to be completely honest here.  I’m pretty sure this show is gong to be AWFUL!  And yet, the little kid in me simply can’t resist the chance to see two of her favorite 90’s “teen idols” all-grown up, and starring in a show TOGETHER! 

Apparently, these two (Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence) starred in one of those lame made-for-tv movies, a little while back, and were such “a hit” together, that they decided to try for something a bit more permanent.  The sitcom is about a local politician (Hart) and a bankrupt Wall Street type (Lawrence), who end up living together.   Let the hilarity ensure!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a promo for this show anywhere on the internet.  So, in honor of Hart and Lawrence, I’ve decided to show you THESE instead . . .

A nice hefty helping of CHEESE with your blog!  You’re welcome!

So, there you have it, my Summer TV Watch list .  . . what’s on YOURS?

 

 

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Filed under 90s television, Entourage, Mad Men, My Boys, Summer Television Shows, True Blood