Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Adventures in REALLY Bad Parenting – A Recap of Gossip Girl’s “The Townie”

“OK . . . when MY family looks like the most functional one on the show . . . something is VERY wrong.”

Remember, back in the old days, of television teen dramas, when parents were seen, and not heard?

“Jim, it’s 9:53 p.m.  Time to sit on Brandon’s bed, and teach him the Moral of the Episode.”

I mean, sure.  They had their own lives.  Sometimes, they even had their own usually boring storylines!  But, aside from giving the kids their regularly scheduled groundings, and offering some “sage advice” toward the end of the episode, when it came to teen dramas, TV Parents’ and TV Kids’ lives rarely intertwined. 

Well, boys and girls, those days are over.  It’s 2010 (almost 2011).  And, that means your TV Parents can ruin your lives, just as easily as your ex-boyfriends and frenemies can . . .

Be afraid . . . be very afraid.

Let’s recap, shall we?

A Very Dair Roadtrip

“So, this is what Middle Class Suburbs look like!  I’ve read about them in books, but didn’t believe they actually existed.”

When we last left Blair, she had just found herself an unlikely co-star to act alongside of her in The Rescue Serena Saga, Part 542.  That ally was . . . wait for it . . . Dan.

“Yeah, I’m as confused as you are.”

The first stop on the pair’s Random Couple World Tour was the Ostroff Center, where Serena had voluntarily committed herself for a drug binge she didn’t commit . . . well . . . at least not on purpose.  The two hope to spring Serena from the pokey, so that the three of them can work together to bring Juliet down for drugging “S,” and making her look like the female version of Charlie Sheen . . .

S and CS:  Separated at birth?

Blair and Dan are shocked to learn that Serena isn’t accepting ANY visitors at the center for 72 hours, not even best friends, or sort-of boyfriends (who she feigns deep attraction for, when the script requires it).  And so, our Upper East Side Scooby Gang’s resident Daphne and Velma . . .

Bet you can’t guess which one I think is Velma! 😉

 . . . decide to bring down Juliet, all by their lonesome.  But where can she be? 

In a moment of stupefying plot convenience, Blair and Dan turn directly to THE Gossip Girl for help.  And, because:

 (1) without the Upper East Side Scooby Gang, Gossip Girl wouldn’t have her SAG card;

(2) Gossip Girl hates Juliet as much as the fans do, ever since that biatch hooked up with Dullnessa and the Raccoon Zombie; and

(3) in addition to her vast network of snoopers around NYC, the Hamptons, and Paris, Gossip Girl also, apparently, is friends with some random Mail Guy in suburban Connecticut . . .

 . . . the show’s narrator quickly responds to Dan’s inquiry with Juliet’s current location, as well as a special request: “Find the b*tch!”

No one messes with Veronica Mars Gossip Girl, and lives to tell the tale . . .

So, off Blair and Dan head on their first official roadtrip together.  While en route to Connecticut, the unlikely pair bicker like an old married couple (and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way) . . .

Sexy!

Blair acts like the quintessential backseat driver, cleverly noting that, if she put her feet through the floor of Dan’s ancient car, and started running, they would arrive at their destination faster than with Dan’s turtle-esque driving . . .

Yabba, Dabba, Don’t!

Dan responds back that at least he knows how to drive, which is more than can be said for Blair.

Why drive yourself, when you can take a limo AND get laid at the same time?

Blair also astutely notes that Lonely Boy — a supposed “Brilliant Writer” — hasn’t exactly been Mr. Prolific Novelist of late, having spent all his spare time pining over Serena and Dullnessa and/or screwing  playing video games with his Ambiguously Gay Duo partner, Nate. 

Even I must admit that the fact that Blair, in her snide way, encourages Dan to nurture his passion for writing (something NOBODY else on this show, not even his parents, has cared enough to do yet), supports their compatibility as friends.  I repeat . . . FRIENDS!  (Can’t anybody have a platonic relationship with someone of the opposite sex on this show, anymore?)

Yeah  . . . you and the Raccoon Zombie don’t really count because she’s not really human.  Sorry, Buddy! 

Drugs = BAD!  Drug Dealing Damien = GOOD!

When Blair and Dan arrive at Juliet’s last known whereabouts, they are SHOCKED to walk into a HOUSE PARTY, where teens wear NON-DESIGNER CLOTHES . . . and listen to NELLY . . . and play POOL . . . and smoke GANJA . . . and drink CHEAP BEER.

SHE HAS A PIERCING!  OH, THE HORROR!

“We’re not in the Upper East Side anymore, Toto.”

 Although Blair and Dan are unable to locate Juliet at the party, they do find someone WAY BETTER (at least, in my opinion).

It’s Drug Dealing Damien!  Or, as I like to call him, Triple D-light!

You might remember Damien from his guest-starring role in The Only Storyline Where Raccoon Zombie was Mildly Likeable and/or Interesting.  Blair and Dan approach Damien, and the threesome decide to take a little stroll outside . . .  (Was I the only one who was kind of hoping they’d all smoke some weed together?  If any two people on this show need to loosen up, its Dan and Blair.)

“I beg to differ, TV Recapper.  Blair can be VERY loose, when she wants to be . . .”

Anyway  . . .

Through Damien (and some very goofy flashbacks) we learn that when Serena left town, after screwing Nate and accidentally sort of killing that Pete Guy, she briefly attended the Nightly School (Now, if that’s not a school name straight out of a porno, I don’t know what is), when Triple D-light was also matriculating there.  Apparently, before Drug Dealing Damien dropped out of school, and became the cool badass Jared Leto-lookalike he is now . . .

 . . . he was a surprisingly geeky Troy Bolton from High School Musical type (a.k.a. Zac Efron) . . .

Seriously, I can’t tell them apart!

 . . . who used to pine over Serena, and do her homework for her, while she drank absinthe, and badly danced around her dorm, like a hippy on LSD, or the lead in a straight-to-video sequel to Moulin Rouge . . .

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate a GIF of Serena dancing like a drugged out dork, from this week’s episode.  So, just imagine her doing exactly what she’s doing in the GIF above . . . only BY HERSELF!

Absinthe:  Making people dance like drugged out dorks, since WAY before anyone from the cast of Gossip Girl was born!

In addition to knowing Serena in her pre – Gossip Girl days, Damien also knew Juliet, who was, as Damien described her, a Townie.  When Damien last saw Juliet, she made a MAJOR drug purchase from him — one which included some hardcore rufies.  Damien seems SHOCKED to learn that Juliet bought the drugs to gaslight, and almost, kill Serena. 

“I thought she was just throwing a party,” exclaims Damien.  (Ummmm . . . a Rufie Party?  Nice try, Damien.) 

If you weren’t so gosh darn attractive, I’d totally hate you, right now. 

Nevertheless, Damien seems genuinely concerned with Serena’s welfare.  In fact, Triple D-light feels guilty enough about his part in what happened to his former luuuuve, that he agrees to help Blair and Dan locate Juliet’s house.  As the threesome pile into Dan’s Clown Car, Juliet spots them, and hides under her steering wheel, like the cowardly b*tch she is.

“Awwww, CRAP!”

Once they are safely out of sight, Juliet calls Jailhouse Ben, and tells him that she plans to return to NYC to “finish this herself.”  Ben, who was the same psychopath who GOT NATE’S DAD BEAT UP IN PRISON, JUST SO JULIET WOULDN”T SLEEP WITH NATE (Seriously, writers, what were you thinking when you wrote that scene?), once again, has a crisis of conscience.  He warns Juliet not to hurt Serena AGAIN.  And then, when his baby sister hangs up on his ass  . . .

“You HUNG UP ON ME, Lil Sis?  Oh, I am so pulling your hair and giving you a wedgie, when I get home!”

 .  . . Ben yells to Nate (who has conveniently entered the jail to see his father, at that EXACT moment) that he has to go protect Serena from Juliet.  Unfortunately, Nate is genetically incapable of doing anything on his own . . .

“Individuality is HARD!  Where’s the other half of my Ambiguously Gay Duo when I need him?”

And, therefore, puts in a call to Dan and Blair, at Juliet’s house . . . so that they can change his diaper do the dirty work for him. 

Meanwhile . . .

The Scooby Gang Makes a Discovery . . .

“Don’t hate me, because I spawned Juliet.  It could have been worse.  I could have spawned Raccoon Zombie.”

“Hey!  I resemble that remark!”

 Moments after Dair and Triple D-light arrive at La Casa de Juliet, Juliet’s mom inexplicably, and conveniently, drops a bombshell on them.  As it turns out, Juliet’s brother Ben, who’s last name is “Donovan” taught at the Nightly School.  Then, he was fired and incarcerated for engaging in sexual relations with a young student named . . . you guessed it . . . Serena van der Woodsen.

DUH! SURPRISE!

I smell a flashback coming on . . .

Serena and Teacher Sitting in a Tree, F-U-C . . . (Well . . . you know the rest.)

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Apparently, four years ago, Serena was the same slutty, hard-drinking, lousy student that she is today.  And yet, also like today (well, more like yesterday, or last week, or whenever those Professor Hotpants Colin episodes aired) . . .

Just refreshing your memory . . .

 . . . Serena soon found a reason to reform and become a “good girl.”  That reason was that she was Hot for Teacher.  And that teacher was Professor Hotpants Colin Mr. Donovan.  Suddenly, Serena and Ben were spending A LOT of time together, talking about books, and frolicking in the rain.

But things went south fast, when Mr. Donovan and Serena entered a hotel to seek shelter from the rain one night, and Serena propositioned Ben to get a room with her.  Ben, more or less, admitted that he shared Serena’s romantic feelings, but did not want to cross the line with her, due to her student status.  In a chat with her therapist at the Ostroff Center, Serena admits that this was her FIRST (and, possibly, only) romantic rejection EVER.  (Must be nice.)  After the encounter, Mr. Donovan and Serena basically broke contact with one another. 

So, basically, Ben and Serena never SCREWED.  And yet, Ben Donovan ended up in jail . . . with his crazy sister plotting revenge on his behalf.  Why?

Evil has a new name: Mom

Back in the Upper East Side, Juliet has magically beamed herself from Connecticut to New York in a matter of SECONDS!  She’s also instantly appeared in the bedroom of Serena’s high security rehab center.  (Juliet is clearly a vampire, ghost, or an extra from the cast of Star Trek.)  When Serena returns to her room, after her therapy session, and finds Juliet there, I get REALLY excited about the AWESOME Cat Fight, I just KNOW is going to break out. 

Then, I remember this is SERENA, and not Blair . . .

So, of course, nothing fun happens.  Juliet explains to Serena how, four years ago, a lawyer showed Ben an affidavit, supposedly signed by then-minor Serena, stating that Teacher Ben crossed state lines, and “statutorily raped” her. 

Serena’s “family” didn’t want news of the occurrence in the papers, so they struck a deal with Ben’s attorney.  Ben would get minimal jailtime, if he didn’t contest the charge.  He also wouldn’t appear on the Child Sex Offender Registry.  (You’ve got to love Gossip Girl writers, and their COMPLETE lack of knowledge, regarding anything relating the legal system.)  So, now, Ben is in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, and Juliet is out for revenge.  But, who signed Serena’s name on the affidavit, if not Serena, herself?

*Insert scary music here*

By the time Blair, Dan, and Drug Dealing Damien arrive back at the Upper East Side, Serena is home and hanging out, bizarrely enough, with Juliet, who she invites to her mother’s Snooty Party.

Ummmm, Serena.  What the heck is wrong with you?  Have you even watched this past season of Gossip Girl?  Do you have any idea how much crap this evil biatch has done to you?

And yet, Serena is determined to confront her mother, about what she did to Ben, and by extension, to Serena.  So, the crew heads down to the party.  There, they encounter Eric, who hilariously confronts Drug Dealing Damien for the first time since that whole “Make Jenny into a Drug Dealer” Incident.

“Are you looking for another virgin to be your drug mule?”  Eric asks Triple D-light conversationally.

“I was going to say, ‘Why?  Are YOU available?’ but I won’t, because I’m leaving,” snarks Damien, before exiting stage left. 

(Man, I love that guy!)

Serena confronts her mother, and tries to talk to her privately about the Statutory Rape Affidavit.  But Lily blows her off, trying desperately to keep up the appearance that she comes from a loving and happy family.  So, Serena gets her mother’s attention the only way she knows how, by publicly humiliating her. 

Then, the entire Non Judging Breakfast Club (and Juliet and Rufus) confront Lily about what she has done.  B*tchface has NO QUALMS whatsoever about admitting that she brought charges against Ben — based on rumor alone — so that the private schools back in NYC would take pity on Serena, despite her crap grades and generalized sluttiness.

“This is incredibly stressful for me.  I need a drink.  Anyone got some absinthe?”

At this point, everyone is looking at Lily, as though, they want to tie her to a chair and force her to watch weeks and weeks of  Jersey Shore marathons on television.  And yet, Lily finds an unlikely ally in, who else, but THE Chuck Bass . . .

“I RULE!”

Chuck (stupidly) argues that it is TOTALLY OK that Lily sent an innocent man to prison, so her daughter can get into private school, because, “Everyone does things to protect the people they love.”

“Watch Chuck wear protection, while inside the woman he loves.”

But then RUFUS, of all people, pops Chuck’s “I Heart Lily” bubble, by spilling the beans that his Darling Wife plans to sell The Empire Hotel out from right under Chuck’s nose!

This is despite the fact that Chuck DEEDED the Hotel to Lily TEMPORARILY because she was “family,” and he TRUSTED her to manage it, during the short time in which he was unable to do so.  Chuck, of course, is disgusted.  Rufus is disgusted.  Everyone is disgusted.  (That’s a lot of disgust for single scene!)

As for Juliet, she agrees to leave Serena alone, after “S” promises to get her brother out of jail.

SAYONARA, SUCKA!

Cut to . . .

ONE WEEK LATER  .  . .

It is during these last few moments of the episode, when the most shocking events of the hour occur . ..

(1) The Non Judging Breakfast Club COOKS a CHRISTMAS DINNER, WITHOUT MAIDS . . . or DOROTA!

“Prepare for the end.  The apocalypse has clearly arrived.”

(2) To take the Empire back from Lily, Chuck decides to form an alliance with . . . JACK BASS!

“I’m BAAAAACK!”

(By the way, before Chuck left the dinner, he said what, in my opinion, was the funniest line of the ENTIRE episode, “Goodbye Friends . . . and Dan.”)

Apparently, Blair thought it was funny too . . .

(3) Serena visited the Much-Less-Creepy-Than-We-Originally-Thought (except for the whole Getting Nate’s Dad Beat Up Thing) Ben.  She did so by herself, after Dan turned down her roadtrip invitation (which, in and of itself, is kind of shocking, when you think about it).

“Rejected twice in a single episode.  Oh, the humanity!”

(4) Nate made the HUGE mistake of allowing his drug addict felon father move in with him, upon being released from jail.

Yeah, that’s not going to end well . . .

And, finally . . . the most SHOCKING of all . . .

(5) Dan and Blair admit that they have the same taste in DOCUMENTARIES!

They also WASH DISHES . . . BY HAND . . . TOGETHER!

“You’re telling me that Blair knows how to wash dishes?  BULLSH*T!”

Is there nothing sacred in the Upper East Side, anymore?

And, since, there won’t be any new Gossip Girl episodes until January 24th . . .

We feel your pain, Blair!

 . . . and since this episode was all about flashbacks, I invite you to take a trip down Memory Lane — and whet your whistle for next year’s Gossip Girl episodes — by watching this very well-done fan video (created by theunwrittenpast), which features memorable clips from the show’s groundbreaking first season . . .

Until next year . . . xoxo!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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“S” is for Sucks to be YOU, Serena – A Recap of Gossip Girl’s “Gaslit”

Well, Serena.  The bad news is that you’ve been framed from a drug overdose you didn’t cause, and made to look like a Total F*&k Up, in front of all of “Manhattan’s Elite.”  The good news is you look ADORABLE in your News Snapshot.

Those of you who have read my Gossip Girl recaps before, know that I have a HUGE Major Mondo Intense Mildly Annoying  slight bias for the wonderous, made-to-be-together, TV Couple that is CHAIR . . .

Given that bias, you can probably imagine that this GG installment, which was most definitely Chair light, and “Serena and Parents” heavy, does not rank as one of my favorites, for this season.  And yet . . .  there were a few things that definitely endeared this episode to me.  They included:

(1) The Raccoon Zombie’s banishment to a trash can far, far, away (possibly, for good, this time?)

Not in MY trashcan, B$tch!  You get your own!”

2) Snoozenessa, upon being discovered for the massive FRAUD she is, crying wee, wee, wee, wee, ALL THE WAY BACK TO BROOKLYN, where she belongs . . .

3) Blair’s and Dan’s discovery that Serena is actually NOT quite the Hot Mess that Juliet and the Triumverate of Evil made her out to be.  In fact, by the end of this episode,  MOST of the “Non Judging Breakfast Club” is “non-judging,” once again.  *glares and points accusatorily at a Still VERY Judgy Nate*

“Hey, don’t blame, ME!  I’m still mad about that time Serena almost gave me a venereal disease!  Oh . . . wait .  . . you mean that wasn’t real either?”

4) Despite the show’s writers TRYING desperately to prove otherwise, it is still VERY obvious to most of us fans that Chuck and Blair have NOT, I repeat NOT, lost “That Loving Feeling.”

Dear CB Sex: 

We miss you!  We’ll see you real SOON!

Love,

Chair Fans

 

But enough of that.  Let’s get on with the recap, shall we?

“HELP!  I’ve fallen off the wagon, and I CAN’T GET UP!”

“Ugh!  These sheets are DEFINITELY less than 400-thread count.  WTF!”

 When we last left Poor Serena, she was rufied, tossed in a cab by the EEEVVVIL Psycho Stalker Juliet, and shipped off to a cheap motel in Queens.  It is there that Serena wakes up in the opening scenes of this episode — wasted and reeking of booze, with a stomach filled with pills, and a nose raw from possible inhalation of The White Stuff.  In other words,  she’s going through exactly what I am forced to endure every Sunday morning.  JUST KIDDING! 🙂

Blitzed as she may be, Serena, fortunately, still has enough sense to pick up the phone, and dial 911 for help. 

“I don’t know where I am or how I got here,” Serena cries, her voice hoarse and words slurred from intoxication.

Off camera, Serena’s call is presumably traced by the Good Folks over at 911.  She is then picked up by ambulance, and carted off to a nearby hospital.

 All of this goes down completely unbeknownst to the rest of the GG cast, who are still pissed as hell at Serena for all the crap they THINK she pulled during last week’s episode (i.e. kissing BOTH Dan and Nate, very publicly exposing Chuck’s and Blair’s relationship, applying for a job Blair wanted, and dropping out of Columbia, via text message).  The rest of the Upper East Siders would much prefer to completely forget about Serena, and gorge themselves on turkey, pie, and expensive Thanksgiving wine.

As for Blair, she plans to spend Turkey Day in Paris, with her adorable gay dad, and his adorable gay boyfriend (remember them?). 

Ahh . . . memories.

(By the way, did anyone else ever wonder why Blair spent the WHOLE SUMMER in Paris, and never once mentioned visiting her dad?  Or, did I miss something . . .)

Knowing full well, that Blair’s impromptu vacation was nothing more than Queen B’s way of running away from her Chuck and Serena Problems, Dorota has other plans for her Boss / Surrogate Daughter.

Dorota = TOTAL Chair fan.  No wonder I love her so much!

Appealing to Blair’s sense of decorum and tradition, Dorota bakes a pie for the van der Woodsen’s and subtly suggests that Blair bring it to their home, in lieu of attending their Thanksgiving dinner, as she has every Thanksgiving, since Season 1 of Gossip Girl (at least, I think).  So, of course, when Blair arrives at La Casa de VDW cake in hand, who’s there, but Chuck Bass, himself!

The sexual tension / romantic chemistry between Chuck and Blair is palpable (as always) — so much so, that Chuck gallantly offers to leave La Casa de VDW, so that Blair can pretend to eat turkey in peace.  Blair declines the offer, however, assuring Chuck that it is important that they get used to running into one another now, as it is bound to happen at least once an episode.  (At least, we can HOPE!)

This Barely Concealed Chair Lovefest is interrupted, by the entrance of Mama VDW, who, quite honestly, seems annoyed by the presence of  Serena’s friends in her home.

“Here, I am — one of the richest women in Manhattan, and I don’t have ANY friends my age, aside from Rufus Doofus.  My life officially sucks!  Bring back Billy Baldwin, please.”

Things get increasingly more intense when Blair asks to see Serena, and Lily has no clue where she is (Mother of the Year — that one!).  As it turns out, Lily thought Serena was with with Blair .  . .or Chuck . . . or maybe the Dalai Lama, who can keep track, anymore?  Now that she knows her daughter is not with any of the aforementioned people, Lily FINALLY starts to worry about her daughter’s safety. 

Cue the phone call to the VDW household, announcing that Serena is in the hospital, suffering from a possible drug overdose.  Calls are made to the entire GG cast (except for Nate, who, unfortunately, got stuck with the Bad B Plotline, this week).  Everyone else rushes to the hospital to be with Serena.

“They tried to make me go to Rehab, and I said, NO!  NO!  NO!”

At the hospital, the doctor informs the VDW clan that Serena’s condition is stable.  However, she was on some serious anti-depressants when she came to the hospital, and may very well have tried to commit suicide.  Conveniently, at that very moment, Breaking News on the television screen above the cast’s heads announces Serena’s “Tragic OD”  to THE WORLD.  Knowing that the family can’t stay at the hospital, or go home, without being hounded by the media, the doctor “kindly” suggests having Serena involuntarily admitted to the same Rehab Center where little Eric got un-suicidal himself, during Season 1.

“You mean, back when I had an actual plotline to MYSELF?  Ahhh . .  . memories!”

Quick to think the worst of Serena, most of the family is totally on board with having Serena committed, except for Dan who still luuuuuuuuuuuuves her, even after she purportedly screwed him over, by macking on his studmuffin Nate, at the Saint’s and Sinner’s Ball, last week.

Hey.  I’ve heard about those rehab places.  There are NO CONJUGAL VISITS!  If Serena gets admitted there, I’ll NEVER get laid!  EVER!  Except, maybe by Vanessa.  But we all know she doesn’t count.

And yet, despite Dan’s protests, a very pissed off Serena is admitted into rehab against her will.  So, Unlikely Superhero Dan comes to Serena’s rescue, by helping her make a JAILBREAK!

The only problem is that Dan is not smart enough to come up with a good hiding place for Serena.  So, of course, he takes her to the FIRST place everyone will think to look for them — HIS APARTMENT.  *facepalm*  Granted, Dan claimed they were “just packing for a vacation there,” but, seriously, THESE TWO ARE RICH!  It’s not like Good Ole’ “Bonnie and Clyde” here couldn’t afford to stop at the mall, en route, and pick up clothes there!

Fortunately, for Dan, Serena’s not quite bright enough to see this for the DUMB idea it is.  So, she awards Dan for his bravery, with a quick smooch . . .

She also admits to Not-So-LonelyBoy, that he was, in fact, the one Serena was GOING to choose to be with at the Saints and Sinner’s ball (NOT NATE?), had the Triumverate of Evil not gone and royally f*cked things up.

Meanwhile . . .

Rats and Raccoon Zombies Invade Manhattan –  Pest Control is on standby!

When Rufus Doofus calls his Rodent Daughter to inform her of Serena’s hospitalization, the wench FINALLY sprouts a conscience.  So, Little J immediatley heads back to the city, to tell Juliet that the Triumverate of Evil MUST come clean about their recent dastardly deeds.  Juliet balks at the idea, arguing that Serena might actually REALLY NEED REHAB.   So, why put a stop to a good thing?  The same lame excuse is trotted out to Vanessa, when she confronts Juliet about what happened to Serena.

By the time Jenny arrives at the hospital, Vanessa has already ratted HER, and HER ALONE, out to Rufus the Doofus, conveniently leaving her own part in the revenge plot out of the tale, as well as Juliet’s.  And, while it is always great to see Jenny get chewed out by her dad, of course, this particular chewing out INTERRUPTED Chuck’s and Blair’s sweet moment together at the hospital, and, therefore, ROYALLY SUCKED!

It’s ALWAYS Jenny’s FAULT!  Damn Raccoon Zombie!

Blair was just about to tell Chuck how great it was to have his support during all this Serena Drama, and how, maybe, nothing needs to change between them after all . . .  More Sex, More Sex, More Sex! . . . when The Pestilence arrives and RUINS EVERYTHING!

Outside the hospital, Rufus chews out Jenny for being such a Freakish Brat.  Little J then tearfully promises to leave Manhattan for the 85,000th time.  (She just seems to keep returning . . . like weeds, or roaches, or a bad rash . . .)  However, for now at least, Jenny really does plan to leave the City for good.  She just has to make one quick pitstop first . . .

Back at Dan’s Place . . .

Puff the Magic Dragon, lived up Serena’s nose

Due to their Lame Hiding Spot, Ma and Pa VDW-Humphrey, along with Blair, find the “happy couple” at Dan’s apartment, before Dan even has time to cop a feel at Serena’s boobies.  While Dan (rightfully) calls Lily out on what a crap mother she has been to Serena, all these years (Did I forget to mention that Lily is paying off Serena’s enemy, Juliet, MONTHLY to keep her quiet about Serena’s supposed past?) Blair goes to talk to the Hot Mess herself, and try to convince her to go back to rehab.

At that moment, a GG blast conveniently produces obviously doctored pictures of a masked Serena-looking person snorting enough White Stuff to build a snowman in her nostrils.   This was actually a pretty brilliant move on EEEEVILL Juliet’s part.  Because, now Serena (LIKE EVERYONE ELSE EXCEPT DAN), becomes convinced that she’s actually a drug addict!  And, so, back to Rehab the VDWa go, to celebrate a Very Van Der Woodsen Thanksgiving  together . . . along with the rest of the obscenely wealthy alcoholics and drug addicts . . .

Speaking of cokeheads . . .

Nate’s Mom and Dad are . .  .zzzzzzzzz

Nate is hanging out with his Secret Lover Dan, when he learns, thanks to some mis-delivered legal documents, that his mother has randomly decided to divorce his coked up, embezzler father, who’s still in jail.  Nate, who’s naive enough to think his dad is reformed, convinces his mother that Daddy-O has CHANGED.  He’s a GOOD PERSON NOW.  So, she should stay married to him!  (How many times have we heard THAT ONE before?) 

Nate’s overly botoxed Mama, is incapable of making any other expression, aside from “mildly surprised,” when she hears this.  Realizing that her inability to smile or open her mouth particularly wide, will make it difficult for her to land a new Meal Ticket Husband, Mama Archibald decides to give Papa Archibald another chance. 

So, Mother and Son visit Papa in jail, and quickly decide to give him another chance.  Then, of course, as Nate is leaving the jail, he learns that his Daddy is up for parole.  In other words, this whole “Papa’s Reformed Thing” is probably a Big Ole Crock a Sh*t.  Now, Daddy-O seems a whole lot less concerned with “changing for the better,” and more concerned with “putting on a good face for the Parole Board,” so he can earn his “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”

  Go figure . . .

Also visiting jail on Turkey Day . . .

Juliet Proves Herself to Be Even Crazier Than Her Jailbird Brother!

While Nate is chatting up his Pops, Juliet shows up at jail, clad in an outfit so WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE for the occasion, that I’m half convinced she’s been arrested for prostitution.

Unfortunately, she’s just there to visit Crazy Brother Ben . . . again.  When Juliet tells her Looney Tunes Brother how she made all of Serena’s friends hate her, and got her, more or less, kicked out of Columbia, the guy is absolutely thrilled!

However, when Ben finds out that Juliet had Serena drugged, he’s morally APPALLED!  This . . . coming from the same guy who had Nate’s dad beat up, convinced Juliet to try to get their own cousin fired from Columbia on sexual abuse charges, and was willing to ruin the lives of the ENTIRE GG cast, just to get to Serena.  Oh yeah . . . these two (Ben and Serena) DEFINITELY did the nasty together, at some point!  There’s no other possible explanation for this sudden moral outrage, on Ben’s part. 

Juliet agrees with me, and starts calling Crazy Brother Ben out on his hypocrisy, reminding him all that she has given up on his behalf.  Juliet then skips town, cleaning out her fleabag apartment, in a flash.  By the time Jenny arrives to confront Juliet at her place, all that is left is that darn party mask, from the Saint’s and Sinner’s Ball. 

(I find it VERY hard to believe that someone as savvy as Juliet, would be dumb enough to leave such an obvious clue of her wrongdoing behind.)

“We’ll always have pie!”

Riding home from the whole Serena Ordeal in a limo with Chuck  (YAY LIMO – SEX, SEX, SEX!), Blair admits to how comfortable being with him makes her.  She is so comfortable, in fact, that she is beginning to regret breaking up with him in the first place.  As Blair admits this to Chuck, she sweetly clasps his hand.

But then Chuck tells Blair that she was RIGHT to break up with him.  He LETS GO OF HER HAND!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

“I can’t be your friend right now.  I wish I could,” says Chuck, sadly.

“I know, and I’m sorry,” Blair offers.

“I’m not.  Because I got to spend more time with you today,” admits Chuck.

Back at home, Blair encounters Jenny, who promptly comes clean to her about the whole Triumverate of Evil, Serena Revenge Plot thing.  And I’ll be darned if the two don’t share an oddly sweet moment together!  When Blair asks for Jenny’s help in bringing down Juliet, Jenny declines, assuring Blair that the Queen B was right in banishing her from Manhattan, in the first place!

Blair even seems to suggest that she will miss Jenny, when she’s gone!

That makes one of us!

When Jenny leaves, Blair immediately picks up her cell phone.  She is about to dial Chuck, her go-to lover partner-in-crime, when it comes to getting revenge on Bottle Blondes.  However, Blair ultimately decides against making that call.  She does, however, send Chuck some pie. ( And We all know how much CHUCK LOVES BLAIR’S PIE!).  The pie for Chuck comes with a little note:  “Just because we couldn’t be friends, doesn’t mean we aren’t – B.”

Chuck smiles at the note, and so do we, knowing full well, that it will NEVER truly be over between, Soul Mates, Chuck and Blair.  So, take that, haters! (Just kidding, I love you all!)  🙂

Meanwhile, Jenny texts Vanessa about having come clean to Blair about the Revenge Plot from Hell.  A VERY SCARED Vanessa immediately pees her pants at the thought of Blair’s Inevitable Wrath.  V-card then ends up escaping to Brooklyn, like the Big Weeny she is!

*Sings* Na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, hey, hey, hey, GOODBYE!

At the end of the episode,  Blair seeks out a new partner-in-crime for her Get Revenge Against Juliet for Serena plot . . . DAN?

“Don’t worry.  I’m just as confused by it as you are.”

Based on the promos we were treated to at the end of this episode, next week’s GG installment promises more fun plotting and scheming from the Non-Judging Breakfast Club, as well as the return of one of my FAVORITE GG guest stars of yesteryear . . . DRUG DEALING DAMIEN!

Can I get a “HELL YEAH?”

XOXO!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Anatomy of a Trailer – Burlesque

The way I see it, Burlesque, the upcoming movie / musical starring Christina Aguilera, in her big screen debut, will either be truly spectacular . . .

 . . . or ridiculously bad.

The film follows Ali (Aquilera), as she escapes from whatever podunk town she came from, and heads off to Hollywood with big dreams and little cash.

View from a dirty bus window.

She finds a job as a waitress at a struggling night club, called Burlesque Lounge, run by Tess (Cher).  And . . . well, I’ll let you see for yourself .  . .

:32 – “When you are putting on your makeup, it is like you’re an artist.  But instead of painting a canvas, you are painting a face.”

 . . . or, in Cher’s case, a face made of canvas.

So, after seeing Cher in this trailer, I’ve come to two conclusions: (1) She looks pretty good.  Her face really hasn’t changed that much since the 90’s . . .

(2) The reason Cher’s face hasn’t changed since the 90’s, is that it hasn’t moved since then.  Did you watch that scene where she was putting on her makeup?  I felt like I was watching an expert ventriloquist!

Bet you can’t guess which one is real?

:49 – “Great enthusiasm, terrible timing.”

It looks like Stanley Tucci will be playing the role of the “man behind the older woman” . . .

 and the “staunch supporter / behind the scenes mentor” of the younger one. 

It’s The Devil Wears Prada all over again.

:57 – Kristen Bell is in this movie!

I heart her, even when she plays mean and unlikeable characters . . .

  . . . and it seems like she will be playing one here too.

1:02 – “The question is, do you have the talent?  Because you’re on . . .”

Hey, that was Cam Gigandet!

What?  You don’t remember CAM?  Sure you do!  He was the douche responsible for Marissa Cooper’s death on The O.C.  . . .

 . . . and the douche who wanted to beat Sean Farris to a pulp in Never Back Down .  . .

 . . . and the douche who wanted to eat Bella in Twilight . . .

In fact, Cam’s “Douching Schedule” was SO uncompromising, that he rarely had time to put on a shirt . . .

 .  . . which is why I love him!

1:12 – “What happened to all the great dancers in L.A.?” 

             “They’re all Dancing with the Stars.

I think this was meant to be somewhat of an inside joke, as Dancing with the Stars’ Julianne Hough is said to have signed on to  this film.

It seems a little odd that they didn’t put her in the trailer, though.

1:17 – “What is she doing up there?”

The Genie in a Bottle dance, perhaps?

1:27 – “Nobody can tell you.  You gotta make me believe that you belong on that stage.  That it’s yours, and that nobody can take it from you.  Now you want to show me something?  Show me THAT!”

WOW, Cher, I’m so inspired now!

I might even start taking violin lessons — on a tiny violin, kind of like the one I heard playing in the background, during that speech you just made.

1:46 – And there are those infamous Aguilera pipes we’ve come to know so well. . .

Too bad she’s dressed like a bachelor party stripper . . .

1:48 – OMG!  It’s Alan Cummings!

This guy kinda scares me.   But I can’t remember why . . .

Now I remember . . .

1:51 – McSteamy ALERT!  McSteamy ALERT!

Hold on to your panties, ladies.  Because they are about to fall . . .

2:07 – “Clearly, one of us has underestimated the other.”

Oooh!  I smell a Cat Fight!  And I don’t know about you, but my money is on Veronica Mars!

She’s small, but scrappy.  Then again . . .

This could actually be a real toss up.

2:16 – Aww Cam!  I knew you wouldn’t let me down!

2:24 – “Alice?  Well, welcome to Wonderland.”

Burlesque dances into theaters on November 24, 2010 (Thanksgiving).  Will YOU see it?

[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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