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On Bad Men and Fearless Ladies – The Lazy Recapper Mini-Caps Mad Men’s “Mystery Date”

On July 13, 1966, a real-life Mad Man named Richard Speck raped and tortured nine student nurses, in the boarding house where they were living at the time.  Eight of them were killed.  Only one survived.  She did this, by miraculously managing to hide under a bed, undetected, while a horror movie unfolded inches away from where she lay . . .

It kind of makes you think twice about a childhood game, that revolves around opening the door to “sexy strangers.”  Don’t you think?

(Some doors are best left closed . . .)

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 The episode “Mystery Date” reflected on this real-life tragedy, and how it impacted the lives of the women and men, who lived during that time.  In a sense, the Speck murders functioned as the unofficial villain of this hour of television.  From Don Draper to young Sally, this week, all of the characters of Mad Men were forced to cope with issues of female violence, and what it means to feel “safe” in a world that is often terrifying . . .

Of course, since I’m a Lazy Recapper, I’m probably not going to address any of that stuff . . .

After all, it’s much more fun to talk about important things . . . like what the heck Stan Rizzo is wearing on his head!

“The Seven Dwarfs called, Stan.  Dopey really wants his hat back.”

Let’s review, shall we?

Don Draper’s bout with the flu this week on Mad Men taught me two things: (1) yes, hot people do, in fact, get sick, just like everybody else;

“I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately.  Perhaps it has something to do with this massive flood in my office.”

 . . . and (2) being sick can make you INSANE!

I mean, think about it . . . one minute, Don is defending his honor to his wife, when a former fling of his hits on him right in front of her, in an enclosed space.

(Love in an elevator . . . . living it up, when you’re going downnnnn.)

DON: “So, Wifey #2 . . . I guess this would probably be a bad time to ask for your thoughts on threesomes?”

The next minute, he’s STRANGLING HER TO DEATH, AND SHOVING HER CORPSE UNDER HIS BED!!!

Officially out of the running for Wife #3 . . . 

Wait . . . what’s that you say?  That Don’s seeming murder of Sexual Conquest 323 was just a Fever Dream, Symbolizing the Protagonist’s Subconscious Fear that his Slutty Past will Come Back to Haunt Him / Ruin his New Marriage?  And that his shoving her under the bed, reflected that same subconscious’ reaction to the Speck Murders, specifically, the hiding place of the lone female survivor?

Well, thank you, Dr. Freud.  I feel much better knowing that the man I have sex dreams about one of my favorite television characters isn’t an actual murderer of women.  Still . . .  having dreams like that is pretty f*&ked up, if you ask me.

Speaking of Bad Men, Joan FINALLY kicked to the curb her no good hubby, Dr. McRapeyPants, after he blatantly admitted that he would rather spend another year AT WAR, halfway across the world, and possibly DIE, than be with his wife and Roger’s lovechild their newborn baby son.

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 She also not-so-subtly called him out on that one terrible time, a few seasons back, during which he forced himself on her in Don Draper’s office, thereby incurring the wrath of Mad Men fans, like myself, for all eternity . . .

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We love you, Mama Joan!  You’re a FEARLESS, and just all-around awesome woman, who’s decades ahead of your time! But . . .  that still doesn’t make it OK for you to do this . . .

Hey Mommy Dearest, you are ONE TOSS AND TURN AWAY FROM SQUISHING YOUR BABY!  Get thee to a crib, GO!

Speaking of questionable parenting tactics, Grandma Francis found a fabulous way to get a stressed-out Sally to sleep, the night after the latter learned about the Speck murders . . . and by “fabulous” I mean “ridiculously inappropriate and more than a bit disturbing” . . . 

(WARNING: Here comes that “survivor under the bed” motif again!)

Fifteen years from now, when Sally’s a cast member on Celebrity Rehab, she will undoubtedly be telling Dr. Drew all about the time Grandma Harris slipped her some Seconals and let her pass out under the couch, while Granny sat above her holding a steak knife . . . 

On a much more positive note, Peggy Olson officially became my spirit animal, when she OWNED Roger Sterling, cleverly convincing the latter to give her $400 out of his own pocket, by simply uttering two words: “Dazzle Me.”

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Of course, this causes one to wonder just how much money Roger Sterling carries in his billfold.  And, perhaps more importantly, what’s he REALLY spending it on (aside from paying for the silence of his underlings, of course)?

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French lessons, maybe? 

Peggy may have handled Roger Sterling, like a boss.  However, she was a bit less savvy with new co-worker Dawn.  Sure, things started off OK!  When the ambitious copywriter learned that Dawn had been forced to spend the night at the office, out of fear for her own safety, she gallantly invited the latter back to her home  so they could get wasted together for a few drinks and some Girl Time Bonding . . .

(By the way, Peggy’s becoming a bit of a lush.  Don’t you think?)

(Then again, I guess it takes one to know one . . . )

Of course, she then proceeded to make poor Dawn feel like a crook, when she very blatantly eyed her newly chock-full-of-cash purse, before leaving the latter to sleep on her couch for the night.  Oops!

Speaking of socially awkward . . . New Guy, Michael Ginsburg, is actually growing on me, ugly suit preferences and all . . .

“I’m sexy and I know it.” 

(Even though the way he painted the “Cinderella Meets Prince Charming” story as a thinly-veiled Date Rape Scenario, during a pitch meeting, means I’ll probably never watch Once Upon a Time the same way, ever again  .  . .)

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 And that was Mad Men in a Lazy Recapper’s nutshell!  What did YOU think of the episode?

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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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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Lane Pryce: Fashion Guru / Wild and Crazy Guy? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Good News”

“Oh yes, Anna.  The advertising world is VERY exciting.   Us Mad Men are always on the pulse of the very latest in pop culture and fashion.  Like THIS new item, for example . . .

The Beefsteak Belt Buckle!  It’s fashionable.  It matches everything.  And it’s great for snack on the go . . . provided you don’t mistake it for anything else nearby . . .

“Freddy Rumsen did that once.  He’s never been the same . . .”

 This week’s episode of Mad Men featured Don Draper getting wasted, hitting on chicks half his age, and going out for expensive nights on the town.  But wait . . . isn’t that what happens in EVERY episode of Mad Men?  Perhaps, but  last night’s episode  was different, because last night we also got to watch LANE PRYCE get wasted, hit on chicks half his age (OK they were prostitutes, but still . . .), and go out for an expensive night on the town!

Who knew Don and Lane together could be such “Wild and Crazy Guys?”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Perhaps we should start at the beginning, with the only OTHER main character to actually get a storyline this week.  THIS GIRL . . .

Dr. McRapey saves the day . . . for once.

“Well, they had to find SOME way to make my character likeable, before he dies in Vietnam.  How else can Christina Hendricks win an Emmy next year for her portrayal of the ‘grief-stricken widow?”

The episode begins with Joan Holloway hanging out in her hospital gown, and visiting with her friendly neighborhood GYNO.

“Open wide, Joan!  And I’m not talking about your mouth, either.  Unless, of course .  . . well, nevermind.”

If Doctor McGirly Parts looks at all familiar to you, he should.  This douchey Doc was the same guy who examined Peggy in the Season 1 Pilot episode.  (Remember?  He warned her against being the “Town Strumpet” . . . like Joan?)

“Oh, of course, not Doctor.   Aside from Pete, that college boy I picked up in the bar, Duck, my new boyfriend Mark, and my entire high school Chess team, I am a TOTAL virgin!’

However, this is NOT the same GYNO as that old fart, who told Betty she should be THRILLED to have a baby, because she has had a rich husband to care for her.

Douchey GYNO assures Joan that she is very healthy.  Everyone’s favorite Office Manager should definitely be able to have a kid if she wants one, despite her having had two abortions prior, one of which had been administered by Douchey himself.  Everything seems great about the visit, until, in typical Douchey fashion, the GYNO takes the opportunity to inquire after Joan about why her “happily married” husband would rather go to war halfway across the world, than stay home and bang her.  OUCH!  That one had to hurt!

Knowing full well that the window of opportunity that Joan and Dr. McRapey have to screw like bunnies (and hopefully procreate like them too), before he heads off to war,  is very limited .  . .

Even the Energizer Bunny has to stop sometime . . .

Joan approaches Lane the day before New Year’s Eve, in order to request some days off after New Year’s, during which she could “take care of some personal business.”

Unfortunately for Joan, Scroogey McLane hasn’t been laid since Eisenhower was inaugurated . . .

“Ahhhhh, us Brits DID always ‘like Ike’ . . .”

So, of course, he is none too pleased about Joan’s request.  “You will be off on New Year’s, why should I give you more days?”  Lane whines. 

When Joan tries to get her boss to reconsider, Lane REALLY goes for the jugular.  “I understand that all men are dizzy and powerless to refuse you, but consider me the incorruptible exception,” he seethes.

Clearly, Lane is the guy who got teased and rejected by all the pretty girls in high school, and now vows to make all of their lives miserable, whenever possible.  “Don’t go and cry about it,” Lane calls after a flabbergasted Joan, adding insult to injury, as she stalks out of his office.

“Lane Pryce, you are SOOOO not allowed in my Conga Line, next Christmas!”

Joan’s day goes from bad to worse, when she arrives home from work, only to get into an argument with her husband, about when he is leaving for Vietnam, and why the two of them cannot coordinate their schedules efficiently enough to find so much as five extra minutes of mutual screw time.  Thanks to Mr. “Incorruptible Exception,” a vacation for the not-happy-couple is pretty much out of the question.

“Was it just me, or did this scene look and sound like something out of that Leonardo DiCaprio film, Revolutionary Road?”

In order to make amends with Dr. McRapey, the next night, Joan holds an impromptu luau in her apartment, complete with leis (but sans getting laid).  Joan hopes that this charming luau will make up for the trip to Hawaii she and McRapey will never take, and the sex on the beach they will never have.  But things don’t exactly go as planned.  For starters, she nearly chops off her fingers!

Admittedly, this is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea!

McRapey surprises EVERYBODY by being surprisingly cool about the whole ruined evening.  He quickly grabs his medical kit and goes to work on Joan’s bloody hand, amusing her with cheesy jokes, as she works.  The unexpected sweetness of the moment brings Joan to tears.

“Didn’t I tell you NOT to go and cry about it!  Why don’t you EVER listen to me?”

Because, unlike Lane, Dr. McRapey is NOT the “incorruptible exception,” he is visibly softened by Joan’s uncharactertistic show of emotion.  “I can’t fix everything, but I can fix this,” he replies, smiling ruefully at the woman he may ACTUALLY love, despite all prior evidence to the contrary.

Keep this up McRapey, and I may have to actually learn your character’s REAL NAME!

Saying sorry is the hardest part . . .

To My Loyal Secretary,

Roses are Red.  Violets are Blue.  My marriage is over, and so are YOU!  YOU’RE FIRED!

Hugs and Kisses,

Lane

Dr. McRapey Greg  (See?  I did it!  I remembered his name!) wasn’t the only man needing to do some serious Joan Holloway Ass Kissing . . .

And let’s face it, there’s plenty to go around.

So, Mr. “Incorruptible Exception” has his Secretary send Joan a box of roses.  But when she opens them, and reads the card inside, she is infuriated!  It turns out the card says something completely workplace inappropriate like,  “I’ve been an incredible ass.  Please take me back.  I want to make love to you, while wearing nothing but a Beefsteak Belt Buckle.  Hugs and Kisses – Lane”

When Joan confronts Lane about a card that she would see as being sexual harrassment, if such a thing existed during the mid sixties, Lane is appalled.  As it turns out, Lane had recently gotten into a little tiff with his miserable cold fish of a wife . . .

Coincidentally, if they ever did a UK version of Mad Men, this is probably who they would choose to play the Betty Draper character . . .

So, the  . . . noun that rhymes with kitsch . . . immediately up and left for England, taking Lane’s only son with her.  (Let’s face it, seeing how much this broad hated NYC, we all know she was just WAITING for an excuse to do this, card or no card.)  And so, when the soon-to-be former Mrs. Pryce receives Lanes flowers in the mail, you can imagine her surprise (and relief?) when the card attached says, “Please forgive me, Joan!”

Lady Pryce vows never to return to the U.S., and instructs her son to tell his father that he won’t be returning either.  Happy Friggin New Year, Lane!

Eager to spread the “holiday cheer” already looming throughout this lovely episode, Joan proceeds to ream Lane’s secretary a new asshole for singlehandedly destroying his marriage.  When the secretary indicates that the mixup was the florist’s fault and not her own, Joan fires her faster than you can say “roses are red.”  Happy Friggin New Year, Secretary!

Smoking some grass, underage ass, home painting with class

I think I once saw a porn that began like this . . .   “Oh Mr. House Painter, you got paint on your jeans, let me WASH THEM FOR YOU!”

While Joan was chopping her fingers off, and Lane was watching his marriage go down the toilet, Don was headed to Acapulco alone for New Years.  But before he got there, he planned to spend the day with his old friend Anna Draper, the REAL wife of the REAL Don Draper, and the only woman who truly loved him for who he was . . .

Anna is admittedly a bit worse for wear, having broken her leg recently.   Yet, she is still thrilled to see Don.  Just moments after he has arrives, Anna’s sister conveniently drops by, with a scantily-clad college student named Stephanie in toe.  Stephanie is Anna’s niece, and nearly half Don’s age, which makes her the PERFECT love match for him, as far as he is concerned.  I don’t know about you guys, but lately, Don Draper has been starting to remind me a lot of Matthew McConaughey’s character in the film Dazed and Confused.

“That’s what I love about [these] girls: I get older, and they stay the SAME AGE!”

Once they get rid of Anna’s Stick Up Her Ass sister, Anna, Stephanie, and Don, armed with a massive bag of grass, head out to the local bar for a few quick drinks.  As Don drinks, he gets pensive and philosophical.  So, while young Stephanie is off fiddling with her jukebox (no pun intended), Don begins waxing poetic to Anna about how Betty didn’t love the REAL Don Draper Dick Whitman, and that she dropped him like a hot potato, the minute she learned of his ignominious roots.

[Insert sad dramatic music here.]

Now, typically, I am NEVER one to stick up for Betty, under ANY circumstances.  However, Don’s kind of being a bit of whiny b*tch here.  So, I have to give credit where credit is due.  Ummmm DICK, your wife left you, because you CHEATED on her countless times, and LIED to her for many years about every important facets of your REAL life, including YOUR REAL NAME!

“Yeah!  Take that, DON!  You just got schooled!”  (sticks out tongue)

When the slow song Stephanie chooses on the jukebox immediately begins to play on the jukebox  (This is TRULY impressive, as I don’t think I have EVER had the song I selected from the jukebox actually played while I was there to hear it.  I’ve always been convinced the whole “jukebox thing” was a scam to eat my quarters.), Stephanie and Don the Lech, begin to slow dance .  . . up close and personal.  Don seems very happy about this recent turn of events.  In fact, you know what I bet he could use right now?

It works for swollen EYES . . . so why not . . .?

After dropping Anna off her house, Don offers to take Stephanie . . . *cough, cough* HOME *winks, clears throat.* 

Shocker of shockers, when Don arrives at Stephanie’s house, he immediately leans over, and begins to look at the college student with his trademark, “Even though I’m practically old enough to be your Dad, you should seriously consider f&cking me, because I look like this” . . .

 . . . eyes.

Stephanie responds to Don’s advances by . . . telling Don that Anna has terminal CANCER . . .

 . . . and that NO ONE has told her she’s dying, so as to PROTECT HER FEELINGS!

And ladies, let me tell you, there is no better way to kill a man’s . . . Beefsteak Belt Buckle . . . than to talk to him about “feminine health” issues . . .

Don is immediately faced with a cavalcade of conflicting emotions.  He is saddened by the prospective loss of his dear friend; angered that Anna’s own family has been keeping this information a secret from her (because Don NEVER keeps secrets from ANYONE!); and intensely guilty about leaving Anna alone to die.  He vows to come clean to Anna about her illness the following morning, even though that is when he is scheduled to leave for Acapulco.

However, when the morning comes, Don realizes that he can’t do it.  It is not his place to make this type of important decision about Anna’s life.  So, instead, he repaints Anna’s chipped walls, write both of their names on the bottom like a school boy with a crush, and sadly departs Los Angeles.  However, instead of going to Acapulco, Don decides to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC.

All Right! Enough of this maudlin crud!  On to the booze, babes, and Beef Beltbuckles!

“Let the debauchery begin!”

When Don arrives back at the office, he finds it completely empty, except for Lane.  After a few awkward moments with one another, these two decide that having a non-business related conversation while sober is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE.  So, the two pop open a bottle of wine sent care of Lane’s alcoholic father back in the UK, and proceed to get positively sh*tfaced.

Soon, Don is holding his liquor bottle at crotch level and pouring it on the floor instead of in his glass.  Watching this, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the “Freddy Rumsen Pee Incident” from Seasons Past.  I half expected Don and Lane to start lapping the stuff off the floor like dogs (“stuff” meaning the liquor .  . . not the pee . . . because that would be gross . . . not that licking whisky off a shag carpet isn’t). 

When the proverbial “keg” has been completely tapped, Don and Lane decide to go to a movie.  They argue a bit over what they should see.  Upon getting a glimpse of the film they did end up seeing on the screen, I was certain it was Godzilla.  However, upon doing some further research,  I quickly learned that it was some old film called Gamera, about a genetically altered turtle, with a bad attitude and destructive tendencies . . .  Kind of like THESE GUYS . . .

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Heroes in a Half-Shell, TURTLE POWER!”

And who doesn’t love a nice, feel-good movie, about a Reptile on Steroids?    In addition to being adorable, the men found themselves able to relate to Gamera on some deep spiritual level.

“This movie is VERY good!”

Next, the boys head out for dinner at a fairly swanky restaurant. 

LANE: “What a jolly good night this is!”

DON:  (Starts giving Lane the “even though I’m practically old enough to be your Dad, you should seriously consider f&cking me, because I look like THIS” eyes”)

LANE:   Ummm, Don.  Why are you looking at me like that?

DON: Sorry, it’s an old habit of mine . . .

LANE:  Well, it’s working.  Suddenly, I have this insane urge to f*ck you . . .

It is during this dinner that Lane gets the brilliant idea to put an entire hunk of steak over his crotch and do a dance that looks suspiciously like the Macarena.

First the Ninja Turtles, and now THIS.  Clearly, Lane is a man before his time . . .

The Wild and Crazy Guys’ next stop is a comedy show. 

But the comedian seems pretty lousy, from what I could tell.  After making some lame joke about masturbation, he starts going after Don and Lane themselves, with some half-hearted “gay jokes,” and a few “ugly jokes” . . .

?????????????????

 . . . about Lane.  Fortunately, Don’s Hos arrive, and the group quickly take their leave . . .

NO!  Not Don HO!  DON’S HOS!

Close enough . . .

Don, Lane, and the hos, head back to Don’s apartment.  Both hos want Don and Lane to do it in Don’s guest bedroom, where the kids stay when they come over, but Don wisely nixes the idea .  . .

“Dad, why are there tadpoles in my bed?”

Ultimately,  Don lets Lane screw in his bedroom, and Don and his ho take the couch.  And they say New Yorkers don’t understand hospitality!

The next day, Lane offers to pay for his lay, and the pair share a “lets never discuss this night again” look with one another, before heading back to the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce.  Lane, Don, and the rest of the crew, quickly gather around a brand new conference table for their first meeting of the New Year. (When did they get a table?  Weren’t they all just sitting in an empty circle last week?)

“Gentleman, shall we begin 1965?”  Joan inquires.

YES, PLEASE!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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The Return of Freddy Rumsen (and Creepy Glen): A Recap of Mad Men’s “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”

“Ho, ho, ho!  Don’s a ho, ho, ho!”

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men marked the “return” of a number of important people and things:

First, there was Freddy Rumsen . . .

A man whose vast talents include: pissing himself before client meetings, taking “six-month leaves” and playing Mozart with his fly . . .

Also, returning for this episode was Glen Bishop . . .

His talents include:  creeping everybody out, watching grown women pee, asking for locks of their hair, and being show producer, Matt Weiner’s kid in real life!

“That’s my boy!”

The final addition to the “People Returning” category is Lee Garner, Jr. . . .

His talents include trying to rape Sal . . .

 . . . getting Sal fired because he tried to rape him, and making fans HATE HIS GUTS for getting rid of Sal.

Other non-human returnees included:

Peggy’s virginity . . .

But it left a few minutes later . . .

And Don’s misery and lack of good judgment . . .

But, when you think about it, has that EVER really left?

So, now that we’ve given all the old -newcomers a warm welcome, what do you say we get on with the show?

The Case of Creepy Glen and the Phantom Phone Calls

“I don’t know about you.  But I’m just really happy to be involved a storyline that doesn’t involve someone dying, or me getting screamed at by my Mean Mommy.”

When the episode first opens, the new “Francis family,” led by the “about as exciting as watching paint dry,” Henry Francis . . .

“What exactly is wrong with watching paint dry?  I very much enjoy watching paint dry.  It’s scintillating . . .”

 . . . are searching for a Christmas tree that won’t scrape the paint off their ceiling.  While there, Sally runs into Creepy Glen . . .

“I heard you got a new dad.  My mom said that would happen,” offers Glen conversationally.  (Ohhh  BURN!  Take that Mama Betty!  You should have really thought twice about giving this boy a lock of your hair.  He’s out for revenge now!)

Glen then shows Sally his red twine dispenser, and Sally remarks at its beauty, before being called away by her brother.

“I might call you sometime,” threatens Glen, as he ponders putting a lock of Mama Betty’s hair on a squirrel he just killed, and making it into a voodoo doll.

Creepy Glen DOES call Sally.  But instead of revealing his true identity when Housekeeper Carla picks up the phone, he refers to himself as STANLEY, his evil alter ego.  As if Creepy Glen wasn’t creepy enough before, he now has multiple personality disorder too! 

Sally, who, unfortunately, has never seen the film Fatal Attraction (both because it’s Rated R, and because it hasn’t come out yet in 1964), takes this brilliant opportunity to pour her heart out to Creepy Glen / Stanley.  “I hate it here.  I really, really do,” she gripes.

(It’s interesting how Betty CLAIMS to be squatting in Don’s house with her new husband for the “children’s sake” and the “children” themselves, don’t even want to be there.)

“Bad Mommy!”  (says Creepy Glen, as he stabs a pin in Voodoo Betty’s heart).

“Don’t worry.  One day your parents will wake up and they will want to move.  You’ll see,” Glen offers, cryptically, before hanging up the phone.

That night, while the “Francis’s” (I’m never going to get used to typing that) are out for dinner, Glen once again calls the house.  This time, no one answers.  He and his friend then somehow break into the house and vandalize it, by pouring food from the fridge all over the place.  “There’s eggs in my bed,” complains Bobby, who has had more to say in this episode then he did throughout the entire third season of this show.

“My room is fine,” exclaims a confused Sally, as she walks toward her night table and finds Creepy Glen’s red twine dispenser – clearly, a gift of love . . .  FROM HELL! 

(Insert maniacal laughter here.)

“Mark” Your Man?

You know who wasn’t getting stalked by a creeper this week?  Peggy!  But she WAS getting pressured into sex, by her clingy, nasally voiced loser of a boyfriend, Mark.  (PEGGY!  You can do SO much better!)

I rest my case.

“I want to be your first,” whines Dweeby Mark, uttering the most unintentionally hilarious line in the entire episode, about the girl who got knocked up by Pete, and who Duck Phillips gave “a go around like she never had before.”

Like a virgin .  . . touched for the very tenth time . . .

Born Again Peggy tells Marky Mark with his Pants in a Bunch that she “wants to wait.”  He responds by laying on her the slobberiest, most unsexy, kiss of all time.  “Think about THAT!”  He says triumphantly, as he struts out of her apartment.  Oh, she’s thinking about it, all right . . . and so are we . . .

After admitting to herself that she “doesn’t want to be alone on New Years,” Peggy receives some advice from Freddy Rumsen about “men.”   Freddy tells her that she should “not lead the boy on,” because that’s PAINFUL . . .

Ahem.

 . . . and that if she “really likes him, she should wait,” Peggy decides to screw Marky Turd anyway.  Hey Mark, get the hint . . .

But, hey, at least you won’t have to worry about THESE anymore . . .

Freddy Rumsen Doesn’t DO Santa Claus!

(Insert sad zipper music here.)

Well, I, for one, enjoyed seeing Freddy Rumsen return. (Now we just need Sal, Ken and Paul!)  Unfortunately, the poor guy didn’t seem to be enjoying himself all that much this week!  It’s tough being on the wagon in an office filled with alcoholics, isn’t it Freddy? 

 Just ask THIS GUY . . .

Sorry, wrong Duck.  I mean THIS GUY . . .

Kind of blew the punchline there, didn’t I?

Speaking of Duck, I never did forgive him for what he did to poor Chauncey . . .

So NOT cool!

But I digress, back to On-The-Wagon Freddy  . . . 

He comes to the offices of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, sober 16 months, and armed with a two-million dollar account, Ponds Face Cream.  When asked how he managed to receive such a windfall, Freddy explained that he and the CEO were “in the same fraternity” (more on that later). 

Interestingly enough, the heretofore, happy-go-lucky (happy-go-drunky?) Freddy specifically requests that Pete not have anything to do with the account, as it was Pete who ultimately got Freddy canned for The Piss Heard Round the World.  Now, not that I blame Freddy at all for his decision, but I would be careful, messing with Pete, if I were him.  After all, the dude IS armed . . .

 . . . and REALLY likes to hunt!

Freddy might not be happy to see Pete, but he’s thrilled to see Peggy, at least initially.  Upon entering the office, he lovingly refers to her as, “Ballerina,” and gives her a big bear hug.  If you recall, it was Freddy who first convinced Don and Co. to give then-secretary Peggy a shot at being copywriter for the old agency.  And look how far she’s come since then!

“I’ve come VERY far!  I now wear granny suits, and have the haircut of an 85- year old, despite being in my mid 20s!”

Peggy’s and Freddy’s reminiscences are cut short when Roger Sterling comes back from lunch with the Ponds CEO, clearly wasted!

Not THAT wasted!

“That man sure knows how to have a good time!”  Roger proclaims about his lunch companion, before stumbling back to his office. 

“That’s some job he has,” scoffs Peggy upon Roger’s exit, echoing the same thoughts many of us Mad Men fans have had throughout the course of the series.  Seriously, does Roger ever work?  (He does have the best one liners-though!)

“I also have the best sex life.  Unless you count Don . . .”

Freddy is not paying attention to Peggy’s gripes, however.  He’s worried about the CEO of Ponds.  He gets up and rushes to make a call.  “I heard you went out with Roger Sterling today.  Do you have something to tell me?”  Freddy says into the phone.

Clearly, the “fraternity” Freddy and the CEO were in together only has two Greek letters in it . . . and both of them are “alpha.”

Later, Peggy and Freddy argue over the Ponds campaign.  Freddy wants to use more mature models as spokeswomen, and Peggy wants to use young beautiful ones.  Gone are the days of prim and proper Peggy, who would either hold her tongue completely or politely express her disapproval, when one of her colleagues made a campaign suggestion that was ill advised.  She really let poor Freddy have it, basically telling him, in no uncertain terms, that he was “old-fashioned” and had no talent. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women sticking up for themselves.  And Freddy’s notion that young women idolize and want to look like old ones, simply because old women are MARRIED, is pretty laughable.  And yet, the diatribe seemed a bit tactless on Peggy’s part.  Talk about biting the hand that once fed you!

Freddy wasn’t much better, telling Peggy that if she didn’t work so hard, maybe she’d actually find a man that would want to marry her (and impliedly allow her to stay home barefoot and pregnant).  Riiiiiiight, because MARRIED women are always SO MUCH happier than single ones . . .

Need I say more?

When Freddy didn’t show up for the office Christmas party, Peggy became concerned.  So, she was understandably relieved to see Freddy in the office the next day.  “I don’t want to have to worry that you are going to go out and get drunk, every time I hurt your feelings,” scoffs Peggy.

REAL NICE!  Pick on the former alchy, why don’t you?  What happened, Peggy?  Did Marky Turd steal your sensitivity chip?

As it turns out, Freddy didn’t skip the Christmas party because Peggy “hurt his feelings,” he simply didn’t want to be Santa, because, for whatever, reason, Freddy associated wearing the Santa costume with getting wasted in it.  Whatever the reason, he manages to stay sober. 

 Good for you, Freddy!

But you know who most certainly, DIDN’T stay sober this episode?

Don (Juan?) and Roger Claus

Not only is Don drunk for much of this hour, he is also having a REALLY difficult time getting laid.  First he tries to hit on his new neighbor, Reed from Grey’s Anatomy . . .

 . . . who has miraculously been brought back to life after her untimely death, and reincarnated as a nurse.  “Reed” (who according to Wikipedia is called “Phoebe” on this show) is initially a very friendly new neighbor to Don, flirting with him mercilessly, and expressing concern over his habit of returning to his apartment inebriated on a regular basis.  Upon confirming that Don is not the Scrooge he appears to be, (“I don’t hate Christmas.  I just hate THIS Christmas,” he clarifies), she even invites him to her Christmas party, an invitation that he declines. 

 But when “Phoebe” helps a drunken Don into his apartment, and he tries to pull her into bed with him, she refuses.  STRIKE ONE!

Don’s next target is a pretty market researcher . . .

 . . . whose presentation Don walks out on, because he doesn’t want to answer a questionnaire about his parents . . . (That’s understandable, Dick Whitman Don Draper).  When the researcher calls Don out on his evasive and rude behavior, he asks her out on a date.  She declines, condescendingly telling him that he’ll be married in a year to someone else, anyway.  STRIKE TWO!

But Don isn’t the only SCDP owner lowering his batting average this episode, Roger strikes out himself when he mistakenly invites Lucky Strike scion, Lee Garner, D-Bag (a client who more or less OWNS SCDP) to the office’s small “belt-tightened” Christmas party.

“Is Sal going to be there?  I really miss Sal!”

Suddenly, the tightened belt must be loosened A LOT!  “[You] have to take this party from Convalescent Home to Roman Orgy,” Roger instructs Joan.  (She does.)  “Wear that red dress with the bow on the back that looks like a present.”  (She does.)

SUCCESS!

Lee, meanwhile, uses the party held in his honor, to basically make Roger’s life miserable.  First he hits on both Roger’s new wife, and “Joanie,” his former lover.  He then forces Roger to don a Santa suit, and takes pictures of him, with all the male employees sitting on his lap.  (Fodder for the Lee Garner Jr. Spank Bank, no doubt.)

“But where’s Sal?  I want Sal in the picture!”

To Roger’s credit, he’s an exceptionally good sport about the whole thing.  The same can’t really be said for Don, who copes with the awkward event by getting completely sh*tfaced.  He does share a sweet moment with Peggy, though.  (“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart,” he tells her, and we can tell he really means it.)

When Don arrives home to find he has left his keys in his office, he calls his secretary, Allison (played by Alexa Alemanni), who is still at the party, but is about to leave with New Guy Joey and friends.  She locates Don’s keys and agrees to bring them to his apartment.  When New Guy Joey finds out that Allison is headed to La Casa de Drunk Don, he is not pleased.  “He’s pathetic,” grumbles New Guy Joey about his boss. 

(Note: A lot of fans on the message boards seemed “appalled” by Joey’s lack of respect for Don.  But was I the only one that saw something more here?  Does anyone else think Joey has the hots for Allison?  After all, he did draw her what looked like it might have been a personalized caricature in her likeness, earlier in the episode . . .

 . . . and he DOES have a cute butt!  I wasn’t really a fan of that hideous RED velvet suit he was wearing during the office party though . . . That was HORRID!)

Anyway, Allison arrives at Don’s house to find him sleeping on the floor outside his apartment.

She lets him inside, sits him on the couch, and gets him a glass of water and some Aspirin, which he quickly downs.  But as she is set to leave, he grabs her hand, and pulls her onto the couch with him.  He then begins to kiss her, as he caresses her neck.  “Don’t,” she says softly and without much fervor.

“Don’t, what?”  He asks, laughing a bit, before beginning to kiss her again.

Allison manages to pull away one more time, but when the third kiss comes, she is completely swept away.  “Oh,” she says with surprise, as Don falls on top of her, on the couch.

A few short minutes later . . . (because, lets be honest, Don had A LOT to drink), it’s all over.  After a few moments of surprisingly tender petting, Allison sheepishly rights her clothing, and tells Don she has to go meet her friends.  “Are you sure?”  He asks.

Allison nods and heads for the door, “I . . . um,”  She begins, not sure of how to broach the issue.

“I understand,” says Don.

The next day, however, it becomes pretty obvious, that Don does NOT understand!  He basically lets Allison know, in no uncertain terms, that, in his mind, this was a “one time thing.”  “I’ve too often taken advantage of your kindness,” he says.

Allison takes the hint, and, blinking back tears, accepts the envelope Don hands her, containing her Christmas bonus.  She eagerly opens the envelope, hoping for some sign that there was more to all this than Don “taking advantage of her kindness.” 

But along with the cash, is a card containing only one phrase: “Thank you for all your hard work.” – which, admittedly, can be interpreted in one of two ways, both of which make Poor Allison feel like a hooker  . . . (At least Don never asked her to slap him.)

Bad Don!

[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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Feeling lonely and unappreciated? – Well, then it’s high time you were hit on by some Mad Men!

Ladies, prepare to be shamelessly objectified!

Last week on this blog, I penned (or, rather, typed) my very first love letter.  (I’m generally more of a smutty text message kind of gal).  In this letter, I expressed my most personal feelings and deepest desires to the men that I love .  . . the Mad Men.  I wrote the “letter” in honor of both the upcoming premiere of Mad Men‘s fourth season — which is set to occur this Sunday, June 25th at 10 p.m  — and the “best-of” marathons AMC is running on Monday nights, in anticipation of that event.

As you can see, Pete Campbell is VERY excited about the upcoming premiere.  As should you be . . .

Having given my love whole-heartedly to Mad Men, I think it’s high time I got loving some in return, don’t you think?  And, let me tell you, NO ONE makes a girl feel more LOVED and WANTED than THESE GUYS . . .

I don’t know about you, but I feel so violated by that clip show, that I might actually have to go on “the pill,” just from having watched it.

Maybe Peggy can get me an appointment with HER gynecologist.  He has such FABULOUS bedside manner, after all.

Mmmmmm . . . “The Town Strumpet” . . . That’s always been my favorite pet name. 

That little trip to the gyno’ put me in the mood for some music.  Freddy Rumson, care to “serenade” me?

Bravo, Freddie!  That was wonderful.  But I was thinking more along the lines of some show tunes.  Something from “Bye, Bye Birdie” perhaps.  You know who gives “great show tune?”  Sal Ramano, of course!

You know, for the life of me, I can’t understand why everyone thinks he’s gay!

OK . . . so maybe singing show tunes is not the most “manly” of pursuits. But hunting sure is!

In fact, I really can’t think of anything that makes me feel warmer and cuddlier than a man describing in graphic detail his brutal butchering of poor defenseless creatures.

Yeah .  . . I’m going to need a cold shower after that one . . .

And just in case those “sexy” videos weren’t enough to make you “feel the love,” perhaps this picture will . . .

Watch AMC’S Mad Men premiering Sunday, July 25th at 10 p.m., and feel lonely no more . . .

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“I Prefer MY Men Dark, Broody, and a Little Bit Evil.”. . . My Picks for TV’s Top Ten Brooding Bad Boys

 

What good girl doesn’t secretly want a bad boy by her side to rescue her from the monotony of a life spent being well-behaved?  Now, in the real world, dating a guy like this is the quickest way to a broken heart — if you’re lucky — and a black eye, the slammer or the morgue — if you’re not.  But in TV land, the girls who win the hearts of the baddest baddies fare quite well, actually (not to mention have the best sex lives)! 

 For girls like me, who are desperate to experience the thrills of the darkside, without any of the risks or guilt attached, TV Brooding Bad Boys are our salvation.    And because I am so grateful to these fictional bad asses, who’s mere existence has managed to keep me on the straight and narrow all these years, I have decided to pay tribute to some of the best ones in this post . . . 10 to be exact.  (They are in no particular order. although I may have saved the best for last.  After all, playing favorites with bad boys is the surest way to get burned . . . literally.)

1) Don Draper – Executive Bad Boy

TV Show: Man Men

Who plays him?  Jon Hamm

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Let’s see.  He accidentally killed the REAL Don Draper, and then stole his identity.  Now, he smokes and drinks like a fish (and usually drives afterward).  He also cheats on his (soon-to-be ex) wife . . . ALOT, sometimes with married women, sometimes with coworkers and/or his kids’ teachers, and sometimes with random flight attendants he meets on business trips.

Why he’s broody?   On occasion, Don actually feels guilty about all the sleeping around he does (It’s rare, but it happens).  He also had a miserable childhood, with a drunken dad who abused him mentally and physically, and a prostitute biological mom who named him after a private part.  To top things off, Don’s wife can be a real cold b*tch sometimes.  And despite being model gorgeous, she actually strikes me as a kind of snoozy lay.

Why we love him anyway?  Don Draper is nothing, if not flawed.  But he is also a brilliant ad man, with a keen sense of business acumen.  When he wants to be, Don is actually a pretty great dad to his kids.  But Don’s “parenting” goes beyond the walls of his home.  The advertising executive’s paternal nature extends to his younger colleagues, particularly Peggy Olson, whose ambition and intellect he encourages, and whose career got a jump start, thanks to his willingness to put his own job on the line for her.

2) James “Sawyer” Ford – Castaway Con Artist Bad Boy

TV Show: Lost

Who plays him?  Josh Holloway

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Sawyer made his living as a con man who bilked little old ladies out of their pension checks, and slightly younger ladies out of their inheritances and hard-earned dough.  On the island, he initially kept to himself (aside from the occasional fist fight).  Left to his own devices, he survived by hoarding his fellow castaways possessions (including some very pricey drugs, and quite an impressive weapons stash).  He also used Shannon’s painful and highly traumatic asthma attack as an excuse to get Kate to kiss him for the first time.  It was hot, but kind of heartless too . . .

Why he’s broody?  Like Don Draper, Sawyer had a pretty f-ed up childhood.  When Sawyer was a little kid, a con man bilked his parents out of their life savings.  Sawyer’s father became so depressed as a result, that he killed Sawyer’s mother before turning the gun on himself.  To make matters worse, Sawyer is stranded on a deserted island where he is constantly fending off the unwelcome advances of Polar Bears, sadistic birds, black smoke, and those wackadoo Others.  Oh, and did I mention the object of his desires keeps ditching him to make out with this lame ass pompous doctor?  You’d be pretty pissed off too . . . I bet!

Why we love him anyway?  Sawyer may be a con artist, and a thief . . . and he sure likes to beat the sh&t out of people!  But he looks GREAT with his shirt off!

As the seasons of Lost progressed, Sawyer also proved himself to be an excellent leader, and a staunch protector of those he loved, most notably, Kate, Juliette, and, yes, even Hurley.  He even stopped beating people up so much.  (Well, at least he was more selective about it.)  Oh, and the nicknames!  I loved all those nicknames!

3) Noah “Puck” Puckerman – Mohawk-Wearing Bully Bad Boy

TV Show: Glee

Who plays him?  Mark Salling

Why he’s a Bad Boy?   At the start of the show, Puck was your basic jock bully (with a mohawk, of course).  He LOVED tossing slushees in the faces of the Glee kids, and tossing nerds in the dumpster.  He also got it on with a quite a few of his mom’s friends.  But Puck’s worst offense, by far was screwing “Celibacy Club President Quinn,” while she was dating his friend.  He also kept their rendezvous a secret, even after Quinn became pregnant, and Finn agreed to take responsibility for Puck’s baby . . .

Why he’s broody?  You know, I could explain it to you.  However this video says it better, than I ever could . . .

Why we love him anyway?  Ummm . . . did you WATCH that video?  Did it not make you fall in love with Puck, and make you want to give birth to all of  his mohawk-wearing babies?  By the end of Season 1, Puck came a long way toward redeeming himself.  Not only did he stop throwing nerds into dumpsters, he also became really close with the Glee kids, most notably Rachel and Mercedes.  And when it came down to it, Puck really stood by Quinn, and supported her throughout her pregnancy, even going so far as to stand by her side, as she gave birth.  Now if that’s not a Redeemed Brooding Bad Boy, I don’t know what is!

4) Chuck Bass – Upper East Side Bad Boy

TV Show: Gossip Girl

Who plays him?  Ed Westwick

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Oh, Chuck!  How are you a bad boy?  Let me count the ways.  Before you met Blair Waldorf, you bedded so many random women, that you made Don Draper, Sawyer, and Puck look like priests. 

You tried to date rape Jenny Humphrey in the pilot episode (an incident we ALL wanted to forget about, and almost did, until you repeated the feat during the Season 3 finale.)  Along with Blair Waldorf and the rest of your Scooby gang, you have schemed (and succeeded) to ruin the lives of MANY of Manhattan’s elite, sometimes even those in your own social circle.  And you’ve callously broken Blair’s heart a few more times than us fans would have liked . . .

Why he’s broody?  Despite being born into privilege, Chuck hasn’t had the easiest life.  His mother died giving birth to him (or so he thought).  And Chuck’s father blamed him for his mother’s absence all his life, constantly denigrating the young man’s worth and ability.  Then his father died, which always sucks. 

On the romantic side of things, particularly in the earlier episodes, Chuck constantly found his love for Blair unrequited or blatantly ignored.  And once he FINALLY got her, Chuck had to keep screwing things up.  So  he lost her, over and over again, due to his own insecurities, hubris, and fragile ego.

Why we love him anyway?  He’s Chuck Bass!  The only man who can refer to himself in the third person constantly, without it ever becoming annoying.  And as cold and callous as he may sometimes seem, Chuck LOVES Blair, possibly more than any television character has ever loved another.  He loves her unconditionally, despite her flaws and idiosyncrasies.  Chuck is always willing to sacrifice his own happiness for Blair’s, as he does in this adorable scene.

(Click the internal link to watch.)

5) Ryan Atwood – “Bad Boy from the Wrong Side of the Tracks”

TV Show: The O.C.

Who plays him?  Benjamin McKenzie

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Ryan hails from Chino.  Based on what the show’s writers would have you believe, growing up in Chino makes you automatically bad news.  During the pilot episode of the show, Ryan got himself involved in a teensy bit of grand theft auto.  (It wasn’t really his fault, but still . . . .).

  Oh, and believe it or not, Ryan likes to beat the sh&t out of people EVEN MORE than Puck and Sawyer!  In fact, I’m pretty sure he did it at least once during every single  episode of The O.C!  If I recall, toward the end of the show’s run, he even got into cage fighting for a while, so that he could get PAID to beat the sh*t out of people.  Smart business move, Ryan!

Why is he broody?  NOBODY does broody like Ryan Atwood!  Don’t believe me?  Check out this clip from the show’s pilot episode . . .

This guy is the epitome of the strong, silent and ANGRY type.  And with good reason!  Growing up poor with an absentee father, a drunk mother, and a delinquent brother, Ryan didn’t have many opportunities growing up.  At least, that is, until saintly public defender, Sandy Cohen, took him into his home and under his wing . . .

Why we love him anyway?  Grand theft auto and butt-kicking notwithstanding, let’s face it, for a bad boy Ryan wasn’t .  . . all that bad.  He was sweet and protective of his friends, particularly Seth and Marissa, the latter of whom he got out of more jams than I can even count.  He also had this staunch code of honor and integrity, that he never seemed to waver from, no matter how far he got from his Chino roots. 

Sure, Ryan could be a little stiff and quiet at times . . . . OK .  . . most of the time.  But every once and a while, he would let loose and show his sweet side.  And when that happened, no heart was safe . . .

6) Alex Karev – Dr. McBad Boy

TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy

Who plays him?   Justin Chambers

What makes him a Bad Boy?  OK.  I’m not going to lie.  A lot of times Alex Karev can be kind of a dick, both literally and figuratively.  There was that one time, when he posted all those pictures of Izzie in her undergarments all over the hospital.  And that other time when he unwittingly gave George syphilis, by sleeping with the nurse he had a thing for.  Giving of STD aside, Alex was kind of mean to George in general.  He was always calling him names and denigrating his manhood, whenever he got the chance. 

Oh, and Alex cheated on Izzie . . . like A LOT!

Why he’s broody?  Alex had an abusive father, who beat the crap out of him regularly.  (Anyone else noticing a pattern here?)  He also has really bad luck with the ladies.  His girlfriend Rebecca went all crazy and bipolar on his ass.  The other love of his life, Izzie, cheated on him with a ghost (Oh, I am serious!).  She also got cancer . . . and he married her, thinking she was dying.   But then she went into remission . . . and then she inexplicably dumped his ass.  I think Alex has a right to be a little pissed off at the world?  Don’t you?

Why we love him anyway?  Alex is a fighter.  He speaks his mind, and tells the truth, when no one else has the guts to do it.  Plus, he’s an amazing doctor, who has a fabulous way with kids and teens, in particular.  Unlike some of the other doctors at the hospital, Alex speaks their language, and doesn’t talk down to them.  For that reason, they often trust and respect him.  And for a D-bag, he can be surprisingly sweet and romantic, as illustrated here . . .

7) Eric Northman – Immortal Viking Bad Boy

TV Show: True Blood

Who plays him?  Alexander Skarsgard

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Eric is a very old, and very powerful vampire, who always gets what he wants.  To him, humans are food to be consumed, and toys to be used for his amusement.  Eric is currently involved in the shady and underground business of selling highly addictive vampire blood to humans and other assorted creatures.  He’s betrayed his colleague Bill more times than I can count, in order to get what he wants.  He kidnapped Lafayette and beat him into submission, until the latter agreed to become one of his blood pedaling minions.  Eric also tricked Sookie into drinking his blood so that she would have hot sex dreams about him all the time.  (And that’s a BAD THING?)

Why he’s broody?  In truth, Eric’s not all that broody.   And if he was, he probably wouldn’t admit it.  But he does have a very soft spot for one Sookie Stackhouse, which has heretofore remains unrequited.   And Eric is not a man used to not getting his girl.  At the end of Season 2, we witnessed a vulnerable side to Eric that we hadn’t seen before.   He lost his beloved maker, Godric to the sun, and cried tears of blood to mourn the loss.  Thus, proving that even a “cold blooded” vampire like Eric can suffer from a broken heart.

Why we love him anyway?  Let’s face it.  Eric is just super sexy!  His witty banter with Sookie never fails to make me drool.  Eric also has a great sense of humor, and can lighten even the darkest of moments with his wit and charm.  Plus, Vampire Eric is a really good guy to have on your side, when you are faced with a group of evil supernatural creatures who wish you dead.  And you never know when that might come in handy.  Did I mention he would be an excellent accessory to any bathtub?

8 ) Logan Echolls  – Spoiled Little Rich Bad Boy

TV Show: Veronica Mars

Who plays him?  Jason Dohring

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Logan Echolls takes the term juvenile delinquent to a whole new level.  Like many on this list, Logan enjoys giving a good ass whipping, but that’s not anywhere close to the worst thing on his rap sheet.  Let’s see, during the show’s three seasons he (1) bashed the headlights on Veronica’s car; (2) brought GHB to a party; (3) blew up the local community pool; (4) orchestrated and videotaped “bum fights” for profit; (5) screwed his good friend’s mom and his girlfriend’s enemy; and (6) got himself arrested so he could beat up a known criminal who hurt Veronica. (I’m sure there’s more, but I only have so much blog space . . .)

Why he’s broody?  Logan’s dad was a famous actor, but also a sadistic psycho killer who slept with and then murdered Logan’s girlfriend, Lily.  Then his mother promptly killed herself.  Logan soon found himself to be a suspect in Lily’s murder.  Once he was cleared of that rap, he became a suspect in some gang member’s murder.  Then, later, he was a rape suspect. 

In fact, every time something bad happened in Logan’s general georgraphic vicinity, he became an automatic suspect.  After just a couple of episodes spent hating her guts, Logan fell in love with Veronica.  The problem was, there almost always seemed to be another guy (Duncan, Piz), another girl (Hannah, Kendall, Parker), another dead body, or another one of Logan’s bullheaded actions, standing in the way of the couple’s happiness.

Why we love him anyway?  Logan and Veronica were made for eachother!  Their witty banter was timeless.  Logan alone had enough one-liners to fill a Joke Bible . . .

 The sexual tension that emerged from Veronica’s and Logan’s once mutual hatred of one another could power cities.  No matter what the current state of their relationship was, Logan was always willing to risk everything to save Veronica, be it his happiness, his future, his life, or his freedom from legal prosecution. 

And what girl wouldn’t want that dedication in a guy?

9) Pacey Witter – Bad Boy from the Creek

TV Show: Dawson’s Creek

Who plays him?  Joshua Jackson

What makes him a Bad Boy?  Pacey was pretty much the worst student ever!  It was a wonder he even graduated!  He was also in many ways the ringleader of the Creek crew.  For the most part, they were pretty straight laced to the point of being kind of boring (I excuse Slutty Jen Lindley from this list of course).  But Pacey was always the one trying to lure them over to the darkside, with parties (gasp), and drinking (double gasp), and ditching school!  (OMG!) 

OK . . . so maybe he isn’t that much of a bad boy.  But I couldn’t imagine doing a “boy list” without including the boy that officially started my TV fangirl career.  And, of course, there was that time he banged his English teacher in the bushes and ended up inadvertently making a sex tape from it . . .

Why is he broody?  Like many of the boys on this list, Pacey is a product of a dysfunctional family — a drunken dad who abuses him, a brother who verbally berates him, and a mother and sisters who ignore him completely.  Due to his poor grades and upbringing, Pacey believes himself to be destined to a life on the Creek, doing menial labor for minimal wage.  To make matters worse, he spends a good portion of Season 3 head over heels in love with Joey Potter, a woman who he believes to be completely out of his league, and who also seems to be very hung up on his best friend, Dippy Dawson.

Why we love him anyway?  Pacey is by far, the kindest hearted, most romantic, sweetest, and most loyal boy on this entire list.  Not only did he beat up boys for his lover, Joey ( most of these guys did that at one time or another), he also took care of her when she needed a friend, taught her to drive, saved her family’s business, bought her a wall, picked her up from a bad date in the middle of the night, and took her on a three month voyage without ever pressuring her into sex.  In short, this man is MY HERO!

10) Damon Salvatore – The “I Like to Bite” Bad Boy

TV Show: The Vampire Diaries

Who plays him?  Ian Somerhalder

What makes him a Bad Boy?  What doesn’t make this guy a bad boy?  He’s a VAMPIRE!  He controls humans’ minds and drinks from them regularly.  He breaks peoples necks for no apparent reason at all.  He made Caroline his feeding vessel and sex slave for a couple of episodes.  

(Click the internal link to watch.)

 He tortured Vicki and made her think his brother, Stefan, was doing it.  Then he killed her. 

(No embedding on this clip either.  You know the drill.)

After that, he turned her into a vampire and she went nuts.  So he had to dispose of the body.  He also continually tries to steal his brother’s girlfriends.  (But we actually really like him for that .  . .)

What makes him broody?  Damon has been pining over the same girl for a century and a half!  (How’s that for dedication!)

So, he risks his undeath to find his dream girl, only to learn that she doesn’t want to be found.  His own brother basically tricked him into becoming a vampire.  And now that same brother is dating a woman who looks exactly like the girl he fell in love with all those years ago.  Did I mention that Damon is in love with this new girl too?

(Here we go again, click away . . .)

Why we love him anyway?  Damon is beautiful and sexy.  He is also strong, intensely masculine, and hilariously funny.  The elder Salvatore Brother really does try to protect Elena in every way he knows how.  Damon knows that Elena can redeem him.  And deep down, he truly wants to be redeemed.  Oh, and he looks really hot with his shirt unbuttoned. . .

So, there you have it, Ten Brooding Bad Boys viewed from the perspective of the blogger that loves them all.  In every life a little darkness must fall.  And if you have to have darkness, at least let it come in the form of a hot sexy man who loves you, like no one else will . . .

Sweet Dreams, fellow Good Girls!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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