Mar 272008
 

Our very own insightful commenter, hullabaloo, just won tickets to see the Mad Men cast speak in a panel in LA. Congratulations!!!

And where did she hear about the ticket giveaway contest thing? Through us, of course.

How is that a health benefit? Plus, all machines have the option of either separating the CPAP Machine from the humidifier, or turning off the humidifier if needed.

I haven’t worked that out yet.

Anyway, have a great time, loo. Get quotes and photos and tell anyone you can about BoK. We know that at least Weiner and Rich Sommer have stopped in here. What we don’t know is whether or not Hamm made it over for his birthday week.

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  7 Responses to “Reading Basket of Kisses has Health Benefits”

  1. Fantastic! Yay!

    Hull, we can send you business cards!

  2. Congrats!!

  3. Okay, first off, let me start by saying I’m kind of lame because I didn’t get any pictures. Stupid iPhone…Luckily they had a three camera set-up, so I assume there will be footage of this event posted somewhere. I noticed that the Paley Center has DVDs of many of their other events, so it’s safe to say that this one will be available too, eventually.

    Matt Roush of TV Guide moderated the event, and here’s his write-up, which doesn’t divulge much of anything except that he had dinner with Matt Weiner and the cast at Kate Mantilini after the event. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tvguide/356859_roush28.html I have to say, that as a journalist and admitted fan of the show, Roush was kind of tepid as the moderator. He didn’t know basic stuff like Talia Balsam is John Slattery’s real life wife, which a quick perusal of any blog about the show, the AMC site, or the Mad Men IMDB page would have told him. Additionally, on more than one occasion, he asked Elizabeth Moss questions about Betty and her motivations, only to be baffled when she didn’t answer him. He also said “Among the lead cast, only January Jones (in Shanghai) and Bryan Batt were MIA.” Which, again, not completely true, in that both Maggie Siff and Michael Gladis were also absent. Maybe he doesn’t regard those two as leads—even though they’re both listed in the title credits as part of the primary cast. Other than that…

    I was surprised to see everyone—except the four mentioned above—in attendance, including Jon Hamm, who’s in the midst of shooting the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still in Canada, and Rich Sommer, whose brother will be deployed to Iraq on Monday ( http://richsommer.vox.com/ ). Godspeed, Rich’s brother. For some reason, I got this odd sense of déjà vu seeing the cast on stage. Maybe it was because they’d all been photographed wearing the same clothes at another event? Jon Hamm did look lovely, though–clean shaven, slicked back hair, and wearing a steel blue glen plaid suit. Mmm mmm mmm. Actually, everyone was really pretty…It was nice to see them in real life, and how closely they resembled their characters (except EM, of course), even in modern drag.

    The Cinerama Dome was packed. It seats 800 people, and from my vantage point, there wasn’t an available seat in the place. I think that says a lot in that the tickets ranged in price from $45 to $60, which, for a panel discussion seems kind of high. Here are pictures of the Cinerama Dome, which was built in the late 50s or early 60s to accommodate the then new “Cinemascope” and “Panavision” wide screen processes, as well as big epic movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago. It’s a domed structure with a curved screen that wraps around one side of the building.
    http://www.modernhometheater.com/virtualtours/arclight/index.html (the picture at the top of the page with the curved screen is the actual domed theatre where this event was held). Now imagine seeing our beloved show on a screen like that with a large audience who’s totally into it! Of course we only got the highlight reel which tied together all the plot points and themes of the season. But still, on a big screen? Wow.

    As a precursor to the discussion, they showed that Twilight Zone episode featuring Gig Young, where he’s the ad exec who returns to his home town. The themes of that particular episode of the Twilight Zone mirror all the things that went on in Mad Men, so it was a nice tie-in to this event. Weiner was surprised to see it, and was thrilled with the comparison to that show. Here’s a synopsis of the episode, in case you haven’t seen it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_Distance .

    Talking Points:

    First off, can I say how insightful the Lipp sisters are? Either Weiner & Co. are reading this blog on a regular basis, or Roberta and Deborah are really good researchers, or somebody is psychic, or it’s a combination of all of the above. A few of the talking points alluded to the very discussions that have been on this blog in the last couple of weeks—most notably Peggy as Don ( http://madmenmad.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/peggy-is-don/ ), Don Loves Rachel (http://madmenmad.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/don-loves-rachel/ ), 9 months for Don ( http://madmenmad.wordpress.com/2008/03/15/9-months-for-don/ ), and the anti-nostalgia aspect of Mad Men ( http://madmenmad.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/mad-men-is-a-counter-argument-to-nostalgia/ ) …

    Weiner: The show is very personal to him, to the people who work on it, and, what he’s just discovered, the people who watch it.

    Golden Globes: Their experience was kind of like the episode with the Kennedy-Nixon returns…everyone gathered at the Chateau Marmont together watching announcements on TV, completely shocked to hear they won, as they just figured it would be a reunion and a couple of drinks, but then it was total elation, unbelievable. Weiner: a true Hollywood experience. Sun had not set, so you could see down Sunset Blvd, with all their friends and family there, everyone was really drunk, and it was a mind-blowing experience. Hamm: I think I was spared a bad experience. [Being at the Golden Globes in person, waiting for them to announce the winner]–so much that could go wrong in that situation. Glad to have the positive part of that experience without anything going wrong. Slattery: I wasn’t there. Morse: I wasn’t there either. Never even got a certificate…Weiner: I have the award, Robert. It’s at my house. You can come by and see it if you want.

    Hamm, a fan of television; unlike other shows, thinks Mad Men is not a guilty pleasure, but a real one— “a regular old pleasure;” it takes time, you can experience it. Weiner: it takes effort from the audience and for the writing; requires extra effort; show is honest in an embarrassing way; surprised that critics were on board from the beginning; it resonates from real life, there are times when you completely want to escape, then other times when it’s so real. Not so much nostalgia, but anti-nostalgia; the people aren’t heroes; Sterling Cooper is on the wrong side of things, while with Pete almost everything he says is right—even though he’s the “villain.” Drama is about conflict—everyone is aspiring to something and not getting what they want. People look happy but are not happy or getting what they want. Hamm: Draper’s gone through this 9 month period of massive self doubt and worry with so much happening to him, with Rachel and his brother, and stuff on the job–all of that on one side of the scale and this home life on the other, but he’s a day late and a dollar short to realize, to appreciate any of it.

    On how the show would be different if it were on HBO or Showtime instead of AMC: Weiner likes that it’s on AMC; other than language, there have been no real constraints; pilot had one swear word, which Pete muttered under his breath; great restraint; sex appeal in terms of the way men look at women, it’s the unwrapping of the package. That year is not a big cleavage year, it’s restrained, repressed—you are always on the verge of seeing things, though not really seeing it. That’s what’s sexy about it.

    Denials of pregnancy pretty real, according to recent news articles. Weiner: Yes, Peggy’s smart; Peggy’s so smart she slept with Pete on the first day. “Denial is a problem that is so big that for you to accept it, it would destroy you.” Moss: Yes, denial is having a problem in your life that would cripple you to even look at it. A girl who is just moving up in the world, the one thing she can’t deal with is this. It’s the one thing that ends up changing her life. Weiner: We also wanted to explore a woman going to work, being preyed upon sexually and turning that energy into gaining weight. The more weight she gains the more successful she becomes. I think Peggy is like one other person on this show—one other character, and it’s Don.

    On what we can expect for season 2: Weiner: People will come to it knowing as little as possible and hit the ground running with what ever it is. I can tell you one thing; it’s in the 60s. Being tied to the calendar you can ignore whatever you want and pay attention to whatever you want. There will be some history, it will be later in these people’s lives, and if you believe people change then they will be different. Some of the themes in advertising, like what we saw with the Volkswagen ad will continue. In advertising, it’s always about creative vs. accounts.

    Roush: Who is Donald Draper; do we now know? Weiner: You know some things about him but there are huge holes in his life. Just because we know it, doesn’t mean that everybody else knows it. He’s still two people.

    Roush: Is he a tragic figure; is he capable of happiness? Hamm: Yes, it’s the human condition. We’re all attempting to find it. We find it in fits and starts. It takes sacrifice and personal development, all that psych 101 stuff. Don’s a work in progress. Keep moving forward; when that’s your life philosophy there’s a lot of collateral damage.

    Roush: Don’s women. With Betty, the perfect homemaker, Midge the hip bohemian, and Rachel the independent career woman, if you combined all three of them would he have the perfect woman? Hamm: As Don says, “Who couldn’t be happy with all this?” But you always want more. Weiner: He’ll always be searching.

    Roush: After Rachel, by not asking for a cigarette, was she the best he ever had? Hamm: Well, she’s the one person he feels closest to, he senses a kindred spirit with her. Betty and what he later realized about Midge, they’re just a pose. Rachel is a real person living a real life. She experiences real things. She’s real to him…

    Moss: Peggy has hope and belief whether it’s Don, advertising, love…she’s taking a lot of hard knocks, but she gets up and she does learn from them. Peggy will somehow figure it out. Roush: Does Peggy get a make-over? No answer, but Weiner says: “Peggy works really hard. That’s something you don’t see on TV. You see her working.” Peggy was the only one who knew where the story was going (pregnancy), and everyone else had no idea. Slattery thought she was just getting heavy…”is it me…”

    Slattery: “the best part I’ve ever had…I’m saying that now because I’m here…” When he first read for the show, he thought he was reading for Don’s role. Weiner mislead him into thinking he could do the part, but actually had him in mind for Sterling. Roger will be part of the show. Weiner: “I might have added 50 lbs to my ingénue but I don’t want to do the show without John” Jon Hamm: “he wasn’t talking about you Slattery.”

    Morse: Occasionally arrives on set singing “A Secretary Is Not a Toy.” Of course no one knows what he’s talking about because they weren’t born then, and haven’t seen the show. Weiner can’t believe he knows him. Like someone grabbed him out of the TV and put him in his home. Who cares: inspiration came from a friend of his who was going on about his wife to be, and Morse’s response to him was “who cares…”

    Roush: Pete is one of the least happy characters. Kartheiser: Happy is a weird word; reminds me of “happenchance.” [Me: Is that a word?] Kartheiser: Nobody really lives happiness. You get it for a moment or two once a year; it’s uniquely American; until we put it in—you know, the pursuit of happiness, it wasn’t something you endeavored to be; Europeans are content, Americans want happiness. Heroes aren’t happy; heroes are the tragic ones; in real life it’s the villains who win…there’s nothing tragic about Dick Cheney. None of the characters are good, none of them are bad, they’re all confused doing what they think is going to bring them happiness, but that doesn’t exist. Weiner: it’s frustrating to accept the fact that other people have a reason for why they’re doing what they’re doing. One of the things that’s amazing about Pete; he’s just a person. He does some despicable things, but he wants what he wants. Kartheiser: We’re just dealing with words…semantics; once you ask if you’re happy, you’re not happy any more. Hamm: That’s our purpose; make rain so you can sell them umbrellas. Don tells Pete how to get a long, but Pete doesn’t listen. Peggy gets it, but Pete doesn’t.

    Roush: Christina, have you been saluted? Hendricks: The craft service guy says I make him proud to be an American. Roush: Joan is such the queen bee in the office. Does Joan envy Peggy, pity her, both? Hendricks: wondered the same thing herself; proud about her new pupil, but Peggy won’t do what she says. Why is she behaving this way; she’s not jealous; she’s confused; baffled about it. Like she says she’s trying to be helpful. She doesn’t understand why Peggy won’t take her advice.

    Sommer: Harry’s pecking order is pretty low; he’s the one nice guy, then he’s not…anymore. He has aspirations to be something more, but he’s pretty content until his affair, which he regrets. Roush: Is Jennifer going to be like the “Vera” of Mad Men? Always the voice on the phone? Will we ever meet her? Weiner: Yes, we’ll see her. Rich: Oh, really? Weiner: No. I don’t know. Until there’s a story that’s really about their personal lives, you don’t know who they really are. Harry’s an ambitious character. Harry knows how to run things and how to talk to Don.

    Staton: “contrary to what Vincent said, I think Ken is a happy dude. He enjoys his job, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to do it. He’s got a pretty happy life, his creative endeavors on the side. He’s pretty content.” For Staton, what’s more shocking is the women’s view of themselves vs. the men’s view of women. According to AS, men still feel that way about women, although they may not openly express it. But he’s surprised at the way they are portrayed on Mad Men. Staton was brought up by a single mother, so it’s shocking for him because he knows women to be strong and independent.

    Surprising thing I learned about Mad Men? That, according to Weiner, the first episode takes place on “April 7.” Which, huh? The calendar in the doctor’s office said March, although I suppose he might not have turned the page. I sometimes forget to do that, too, but that messes up the timeline of Peggy’s pregnancy, unless the kid was premature, which, okay, I guess. Weiner did admit that some mistakes were made, so…who knows?

    That’s the gist of it. Some audience questions followed, but none of them were mine, and no one asked anything that would provide new information or insight (sigh, one person asked where the term “Mad Men” originated…what a wasted opportunity). Then they scooped everybody up and got them the heck out of there.

    Sorry for the loooooooong post. I’m not much of an editor.

  4. Okay, I tried to post my own impressions of the Paley event, but for some reason, they didn't upload. Hopefully these links will suffice.

    Full transcript:
    http://www.thefutoncritic.com/rant.aspx?id=200803

    And another write-up:
    http://tv.ign.com/articles/863/863068p1.html

  5. Hull, more than three links throws it into the spam filter. I saved it.

  6. Hullabaloo, that is a fantastic write-up. Thank you!

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