Jon Hamm’s Finest Moment

 Posted by on August 27, 2014 at 9:27 am  Actors & Crew, Awards  13 Responses »
Aug 272014

Jon Hamm in character as Don Draper (James Minchin, Rolling Stone)

Photo credit: James Minchin, Rolling Stone

As we discussed yesterday, Jon Hamm is the Susan Lucci of the Primetime Emmys.

So here’s our topic for discussion: If there’s one Don Draper moment that is beyond compare, what do you think it is? What episode and scene would you ask an Emmy voter to sit down and watch?


Post-Emmy Open Thread

 Posted by on August 26, 2014 at 8:42 am  Awards  9 Responses »
Aug 262014

We the sisters completely forgot to put up an open thread last night. Feel free to vent your post-mortem Mad Men shut-out rage here. As well as congratulations to Breaking Bad, of course. And whatever else is on your mind.


Masters of Sex: Asterion

 Posted by on August 25, 2014 at 12:30 am  Masters of Sex, Slideshow  7 Responses »
Aug 252014


Halfway through Season 2, Masters of Sex decides “to hell with this,” and leaps forward two and a half years in the episode Asterion. I’m not saying it’s inexplicable—that’s the wrong word, because I can think it through and come up with explanations. Yet it was altogether strange.

The decision here is not to be historical: Masters and Johnson founded their own institute (a not-for-profit) in 1964, it wasn’t named “Masters and Johnson Institute” until 1978. Bill Masters divorced Libby and married Virginia in 1971. Before tonight’s episode, plenty of reviewers speculated as to whether the series would rush forward to reach these key events, but now we have the institute, under the “Masters and Johnson” name, founded in 1958. Clearly, historicity has been thrown aside. This means, among other things, that we don’t know when or if Bill will divorce Libby and marry Ginny, since the historical record is not authoritative. These are, at this point, essentially fictional characters with the same names, and doing many of the same things, as historical people.

So, it’s not catching up with the history of these people. Is it catching up with other history? Does Masters of Sex need the civil rights movement to progress? Or is it just to push the relationships? It’s almost as if the entire purpose of this time jump episode was the two scenes with Shelly; the punch line, Ginny remembering nothing about him, was two years in the making. It’s like the writer’s room was tired of the characters as they were, tired of the effort to get them to a different place, and so now Betty is a CPA and Libby has a sexless marriage and Bill has a renewed relationship with his mother and Austin realizes that bachelorhood is hollow. Phew, glad we didn’t have to write that for more episodes!

The real point, I suppose, is for Bill and Ginny to come full circle. Austin has a conversation with his ex-wife, and she has moved on. People move on. The bell, she says, cannot be unrung. But the irreparable damage between Bill and Ginny? That can be unrung, because the work is what binds them, and through the long absence of physical affection, they continued to work together. So there they are, back in the same hotel room, telling the same lies about how this is “the study” and not an affair.

There were certainly good things about the episode; especially Lester. Lester’s cinematic pretensions and his filming of everything lent just the right commentary on voyeurism to the proceedings. The acting was generally top-notch, as usual. It definitely felt like an Emmy-submission episode for Michael Sheen. Ann Dowd as Essie Masters, Bill’s mother, was peculiarly one-note. She arrived, delivered a speech, left, arrived, delivered another speech. It was not the quality we’ve generally seen from her, so I must question the writing.

The thing is, Season 2 of Masters of Sex has been outstanding. Season 1 was intriguing, occasionally magnificent, but uneven. But we’ve had six killer episodes in Season 2. And then Asterion. It feels like a total misfire. Sure, we’re all supposed to say “game changer,” but is it? Same cast of characters, same basic standing in their relations to one another, slightly different hairstyles and clothes.


Hell on Wheels 4.04: Reckoning

 Posted by on August 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm  Hell on Wheels, Slideshow  5 Responses »
Aug 242014
Photo Credit:Chris Large/AMC

Photo Credit:Chris Large/AMC

So. That happened.

Hell on Wheels Episode 4.04, Reckoning, was about what happened. It was a plot-builder, laying down groundwork for future episodes. None of the character work we saw (and we saw some good stuff) was meant to stand on its own; all of it was there to lead us to future episodes. This is a normal problem with even the best episodic television, sometimes you have to set things up in order for a pay-off to be worthwhile. An episode like Reckoning doesn’t make for thrilling television, but it has its rewards. Continue reading »


Basket of News, Aug. 16-22, 2014

 Posted by on August 22, 2014 at 9:00 am  Media-Web-News  7 Responses »
Aug 222014

Jon Hamm interviews Elisabeth Moss for Gotham, where they talk about future projects (via Polly Draper):

JH: I have a really good project I’ve been developing. It’s about a secretary in the 1960s and how she grows and does this whole evolution. I think it would be fun for you to look at.
EM: I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.

Elsewhere, Elisabeth tells Us Weekly 25 things you don’t know about her, talks to to the New York Daily News about the co-star’s reaction to the end of Mad Men that affected her the most, and to Metro about what it was like letting go of Peggy. Ms. M is also appearing in a GAP ad.

Matthew Weiner is also doing more press for Are You Here, and talking about the end of Mad Men.  He talks to Esquire about what he took from the set and which cast member got him most emotional.  He told HuffPost Live he had “strong feelings” about the way viewers perceive about the characters on MM. (There’s multiple clips at that link, btw.) Most of Matt’s chat with the L.A. Times is about his movie.  He has two segments on Late Night with Seth Meyers.  He even did a Nerdist podcast and a Reddit AMA (Rich Sommer has a cameo, and the fate of Chauncey is discussed).

Jon Hamm has timely words about the St. Louis community. And he goofs around in a fashion video for GQ (via Polly Draper).

Masters of Sex was renewed for a third season.

The Creative Arts Emmys were handed out last Saturday night; Basketcases will note Alison Janney won for Masters of Sex, while Downton Abbey won for hairstyles, and Breaking Bad won for editing.

Christina Hendricks talks Emmys with GoldDerby.

The Hollywood Reporter looks at all the Mad Men Emmys submissions.

John Slattery talks to the Irish Independent about Mad Men and God’s Pocket.  He’s also going to be in Marvel’s Ant-Man.

Agents of SHIELD is bringing in Adrianne Palicki to guest-star as Marvel superspy Bobbi Morse.

Janie Bryant tells Style how she’s spending her Summer Fridays.

Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reunited on a new show together, Barely Legal Pawn. Julia-Louis Dreyfus guest stars.

Bryan Cranston realized his personal dream of meeting Vin Scully.

Aaron Paul talked to The Guardian about Jesse Pinkman, fame, etc.

Walter and Skyler were two of the most popular names for babies in England and Wales last year.

Hell On Wheels costume designer Carol Case talks to THR about getting the clothes properly dirty for the show.

MacKenzie Porter talks to the HuffPost about becoming the second actress to play Cullen’s wife, Naomi on Hell On Wheels.

In Chicago’s Splash, Sarah Wayne Callies talks about the aftermath of shooting her last The Walking Dead scene.

Basket of News is compiled by Deborah and Karl — and Basketcases like you.



Aug 19, 2014

It’s an understatement to say that “spoilers” are anathema for today’s film and television audiences. Until the advent of social media, the threat of inadvertently or deliberately revealing an important story element or plot twist was posed primarily through word-of-mouth (at water coolers which no longer exist) or by imprudent media critics. The term mainly [...]

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Masters of Sex: Blackbird

Masters of Sex: Blackbird

Aug 18, 2014

Masters of Sex is very interested in things that aren’t sex. In particular, in things that are associated with sex, that get all tangled up with sex, but have nothing to do with the physicality of sex or with pleasure in its purest sense. The previous two episodes, Dirty Jobs and then Giants, seemed very [...]

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Hell on Wheels 4.03: Chicken Hill

Hell on Wheels 4.03: Chicken Hill

Aug 17, 2014

Let’s recap Hell on Wheels Season 4 so far: Episode 1, snoozefest. Episode 2, interesting, exciting, with a really great, really weird pivotal scene. Episode 3, Chicken Hill: excellent, straight-ahead television. So far, so good. I’m inclined to completely forgive the season premiere.

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Basket of News, Aug. 9-15, 2014

Aug 15, 2014

Matthew Weiner appeared on CBS This Morning to talk about the end of Mad Men, as well as Are You Here: Jon Hamm talks to Matt Lauer about the St. Louis Cardinals, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Mad Men… and surreptitiously photographing Lauer (h/t Polly Draper and Jahn Ghalt): Visit for breaking news, world news, [...]

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Christmas 1969

Christmas 1969

Aug 13, 2014

Saw this photo and immediately thought it might be something we see before the show wraps.

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Hell on Wheels Episode 4.02: Escape from the Garden

Hell on Wheels Episode 4.02: Escape from the Garden

Aug 9, 2014

You sound like an unreconstructed Southerner, but we’ll remedy all that. Now that’s more like it! Hell on Wheels came on flabby with a slow season opener that left me doubting if it could continue to deliver strong stories with compelling characters. One week later, Escape From the Garden, another Neil LaButte episode, leaves no [...]

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Basket of News, Aug 2-8, 2014

Aug 8, 2014

Vincent Kartheiser quietly married Alexis Bledel earlier this summer. Congrats! Elisabeth Moss may be the female lead in Season 2 of HBO’s True Detective.  Ms. M talks about The One I Love, the last day of Mad Men, and more at HuffPost Live.  Elisabeth has also joined the casts of Queen of Earth, and Meadowland. [...]

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Aug 6, 2014

Call me when you fix the damn phone! – Pete Campbell As Deb mentions in her recap, communication is a problem in A Day’s Work. People stumble into assumptions, can’t find the people they need to see, can’t tell whether anyone is hearing them, or can’t communicate at all.

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