Nov 162010

Tom and Lorenzo are the eponymous bloggers at Tom and Lorenzo (formerly known as Project Rungay). They blog about Project Runway, Mad Men, and fashion (among other things). For ages I’ve admired them and thought they were awesome. After the hugely controversial finale of Project Runway Season 8 (there will be spoilers below), I thought they’d be interesting folks to interview, and we set it up.

Our very long interview covered three basic topics, so that’s how it’ll be broken up. We talked about blogging (a subject I find fascinating), about Project Runway, and about Mad Men. Part 1 covered Project Runway and can be read here. Part 2 covers Mad Men, and we’re sure you’ll want to jump right in!

Deborah: So about Mad Men?

Tom: Okay.

Deborah: What had you start loving the show? Were you watching from the beginning?

Joan in purple--The Mountain King

Joan in purple--The Mountain King

Tom: No. (A little cross-talk about who is going to get to tell this story.) I was not the first one to come to this show. Prior to Season 2 beginning, they had put all of Season 1 On Demand. And we were just in the middle of a move and we had moved into this new house and were running around doing a lot of stuff, trying to put, you know, if you’ve ever moved, you know, I don’t need to explain it. And Lorenzo would take breaks and go sit in what we were using as our TV room at the time and watch it. And I could hear it playing in the background, and he kept saying, “You have to watch this. You have to watch this.” And I said, “I will, I will. It sounds kind of interesting.” And then he got to the end of the season and he was like, “No, you really need to watch this.” I sat down and I sat through Episode 1, and like a lot of people did, immediately clicked on Episode 2, then Episode 3. And then the next thing I knew, I had spent about four or five hours in front of the TV watching Mad Men. So no, we didn’t come to it at the beginning, we came to it slightly late, but before a lot of other people did.

Lorenzo: And it’s very funny because Tom didn’t want to blog about it.

Tom: And I brought you guys up. He said, “You should blog about it,” and I said, “Oh, no, those Lipp sisters are doing such a good job over there.”

Lorenzo: But then he got to the episode in Season 2; right?

Tom: Right.

Lorenzo: The episode about the whole Catholic church thing with Peggy and stuff, and I was like, “Come on. You’re Irish and you’re Catholic.”

Tom: Right.

Lorenzo: And you need to talk about this.

Tom: Yeah. Just as an aside, my mother was from Queens, New York. She was 19 years old in 1960, working as a secretary in Manhattan, and her name was Peggy.

Deborah: Oh, my God. That’s awesome.

Tom: My mother’s still alive and I tried to get her to watch it, and she does watch it a little bit, but she’s always saying, “It wasn’t like that. We weren’t all sleeping with each other.” She gets so upset that I might think that she slept with someone on her first day on the job just like Peggy did, so.

Deborah: Well, we won’t let her think that we believe that. I’ll send her a note.

Tom: Okay.

Lorenzo: Yes, that’s how we started blogging Mad Men. And our viewers respond well, or they responded well, so we continued.

Deborah: So yeah, when we first started and I started seeing other people write about Mad Men, I would be a little prickly, like, ‘They’re writing on our turf.’ But then I realized, everybody’s reading all of it. The really hardcore Mad Men fans are moving around and reading all of it and being excited about it. And it’s a show that lends itself to a lot of writing.

Tom: Yes, and it also lends itself to various points of view. You can look at Mad Men from a feminist perspective, you can look at it from a civil rights perspective, you can look at it from a purely media perspective, like what all of this stuff meant at the time. You can look at it from a purely historical perspective and put it in the context of, you know, Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, whatever you want. And you can even look at it from a gay perspective, although not so much this season with Sal gone.

Deborah: Sal [is] gone, but at least we do have Joyce picking up women in Howard Johnson’s.

Tom: That’s true, that’s true. But yeah, that’s the great thing about the show. And for myself, I think some of the best writing on Mad Men has been those writers who look at it from a feminist perspective. That has to be some of the most thought-provoking writing I’ve ever seen on the show.
Deborah: It is the most feminist show on television, I think.

Tom: By far.

Deborah: And it is, yeah, I mean, this episode this season, The Beautiful Girls, it was stunning.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: Do you think that people who haven’t seen Mad Men yet have preconceptions that change once they’ve seen it?

Tom: Yes. I think, and I’m sure you guys have seen this too, I think the biggest preconception is that it’s a show that celebrates things like misogyny and adultery and drinking at 10 a.m. on the job. And that, to me, is the biggest misconception of the show because that’s not what it does at all. People who don’t understand the show think that’s what’s going on, but in fact, it’s all been a very subtle, in a word, rebuke against that sort of behavior. And I think some people seem to start to get that with this season, that they’re not, you know, Don Draper isn’t a cool guy because he cheats on his wife and drinks at 10 a.m. Don Draper is kind of a mess. That was what I got out of this season, and I think a lot of the casual viewers started to see that point. I never saw the show as celebrating those things. I thought [it was] taking a very cold, hard look at those things, and I can see how in 2010 there are parts of a lifestyle that sound really glamorous to us, but ultimately, I think the show took the correct tack, which was, ‘Isn’t this odd and haven’t we moved past this?’

Deborah: Yeah, I agree with you about that completely, and I do think that there are people who are turned off, that they don’t want to watch. I have a friend who says, I said, “Do you watch Mad Men?” and she says, “That show about the adulterer?”

Tom: Right.

Deborah: It’s not exactly rooting for him to continue to cheat.

Tom: No, not at all. And in terms of the other forms of misogyny that show up on the show, again, it’s not celebrating the idea that you can tackle a secretary and lift her skirt right in front of a whole office, not at all.

Deborah: No.

Tom: It’s showing you how different things were. And I think for me, and I think for a lot of women, men and women in my generation, I think it was very eye-opening. Like, Wow, this is how my parents lived. My parents lived in a world where it was okay to lift a secretary’s skirt and announce the color of her panties to the office.

Deborah: Yeah. I mean, in some ways we live in a deeply misogynistic culture and in some ways, oh, we’re so glad we’re past that stuff.

Tom: I agree. I shouldn’t say we’ve moved past this stuff. I think misogyny and anti-feminism takes different forms, less overt forms in 2010 than 1965. So I shouldn’t leave the impression that I think we’ve solved all these problems, but I think the show does show you how different those problems manifested for our parents and grandparents.

Deborah: Exactly. So what started you on Mad Style? What’s the genesis for developing that as a series?

Lorenzo: Well, I guess first of all, we, our blog is–we blog a lot about fashion, and you can’t avoid the fashion on the show. I mean, Janie Bryant does an amazing job, you know, the costume design on the show, so there’s no way you cannot see that as an incredible and interesting part of the show, how important it is for the show. So one day we’re looking for new things to add to the blog, and we said why don’t we do a top ten, you know, Betty Draper looks. We’ll just do the best ten dresses.

Tom: Okay. Let me just jump in. That was his idea and then I said, “Well, if we’re doing Betty Draper we have to do the top ten Joan Holloway.”

Lorenzo: Joan Holloway. And then we—it kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And I said, “Why don’t we just do something called Mad Style”? And the thing is that, a lot of people don’t know this, but Tom went to film school.

Deborah: Oh!

Lorenzo: Yes. So he does have this incredible eye to see things in that, you know. [An aside by Tom cuts in, and then…]

Lorenzo: But anyway, Tom was the one pointing out colors and color schemes and stuff like that, and then we said, “Let’s focus on that.” So it was very gratifying to see later on, you know, many, many months later, Janie Bryant publishing a book and mentioning the exact same things that we had mentioned on the blog for the posts.

Tom: So yeah, right after we did the first or the second Mad Style, I said to him, “I can tell you that by the end of the summer,” because we started back in the spring, I think, “this is going to be one of the most popular things on our blog,” and it turns out, because I could just tell. It was just such–nobody else was doing it, and it is the most stylish show on television. And I could just tell that people were going to respond well to it. And they did.

Deborah: There were a couple of writers who did some fashion writing, like there was one on AMC’s blog, but I would read it and I would think, ‘I’m not buying it.’ I would think, ‘I’m not getting that what she’s saying about the fashion of those characters, about the relationship between fashion and character, is accurate.’

Lorenzo: I think the issue there, because we read them too, and not taking any credit away from her, is that there’s a big difference between fashion-fashion and costume design, you know? Like, there’s—you design something specifically for a scene, for a theme, for a story. You know, it’s a little different than just throwing [on] beautiful dresses, you know?

Tom: Yeah.

Lorenzo: There’s a big difference, as you know, and that’s what we wanted to try to focus on. Just how important that dress was, or that suit was, for the scene, for the story, for the development of the story, and the repetition that occurred showing the times of using the same colors of the same, you know, wearing the same dress and so on and so on. And as you know, it was an incredible amount of time, and we were even crazier to think that we could go back and in Seasons 1 and 2 and 3.

Tom: And I bet you were the only one of the few people on the planet who can understand this. Imagine setting out for yourself the task of taking screen [captures] of every dress Peggy Olson wore on Season 1.

Deborah: Oh, my God.

Tom: And that’s the goal. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Well, how do you start that? Well, we had to sit down and literally–I mean, with only Peggy, who is, Elizabeth Moss is in every–almost every single episode–you have to sit and watch every single episode. You might be fast forwarding through them to find the Peggy scenes, but you still have to sit and watch them.

Lorenzo: And not only that, you have to get that angle, you know. You try to get the props and the bag and whatever. Seriously, sometimes it was so draining that I had a little meltdown every time I did one. And I would start screaming like, “Why the hell am I doing this? It’s too much work!” You know, it’s a lot of work. When it’s someone like Bobbie Barrett or Mona Sterling, well, you look up their IMDb listing, you find the actual episodes they were in, and you only have to watch maybe six or seven episodes total. But when it’s Joan or Betty or Peggy, it is a massive, massive undertaking.

Dr. Edna

Deborah: Yes. I was aware of it while I was reading it. There’s no question about it because you don’t know when some outfit is going to surprise you. I mean, until I was looking, I was–we just ran this thing on the blog last week, a guest writer did this thing about Klute, which was brilliant, and paralleling Dr. Edna to Klute…People send me guest posts; if I like them, I just save them until the off-season when we need posts. It’s harder to write [off-season]. I mean, I’ve got Season 1 posts I could put up anytime I have a slow day. And so there’s Dr. Edna from Episode 3, and I look and said, “She’s wearing the same outfit” [as in Blowing Smoke].

Tom: Oh, yep.

Deborah: She didn’t change her clothes. That pink blouse with the pussy bow and the tweed skirt, same outfit, both episodes.

Tom: Wow.

Deborah: And I would never have noticed that, but I had the screen caps from an Episode [5] post that we just put up last week. Take a look at it. There she is. She didn’t change her clothes for her last meeting with Betty.

Tom: But she’s a constant.

Deborah: She’s stable and warm and feminine and earth tones. It’s, and tweedy professional. A little bit of a wall, I think.

Tom: Yeah.

Deborah: In that uniform. It’s like Charlie Brown and his striped shirt.

Lorenzo: Right.

Tom: It’s true.

Deborah: So what have you discovered in writing the Mad Style that surprised you; that you didn’t expect to find out?

Tom: I did not — oh, God, because it’s so in the past now. Let’s see. What did I discover? I discovered, what I didn’t realize was how young Betty will often dress if it serves her needs. She will sometimes dress very childlike and then other times she’ll dress very glamorous, for a trophy wife. What else? I did not understand the relationship of color to the characters until we started really looking at it. And at least the major female characters all have certain color schemes, and that those colors repeat according to what’s being said in the scene. Like for instance, golden yellow tends to be Peggy’s power color. It tends to revolve around scenes where she is empowered in the office or she is moving forward in the office in some way. Or, you know, we made the [statement]–and it was wildly, wildly overstated by other people-–that Joan wears purple quite often when something, a romantic disappointment happens in her life. And, you know, nothing else states that better than when she got raped by her fiancé and she was wearing that absolutely stunning purple dress. With regard to the purple thing, we walked that back a little bit later in the Mad Style posts because it was misunderstood that “every time Joan wears purple something bad is going to happen to her,” and that’s not what we meant. I don’t think that’s the way Janie Bryant’s mind works, but there are colors and themes that reoccur with the characters with some consistency. And for a while there, at least in the first three seasons, for Joan she was consistently wearing purple at points of heartbreak.

Deborah: Right. And that changed in Season 4. But, you know, Season 4 is 1965. There was a lot more purple out there.

Tom: Exactly. I never meant to float the idea that purple means one thing and one thing only for all times throughout the show. It just meant that for a period, Janie Bryant was–and she might not have even been doing it consciously–but she was playing around with the idea of purple being her heartbreak color.

Deborah: And I think Janie is also really conscious, not just of the symbolic meaning of the colors, but that most of us have a limited palette.

Tom: Exactly. And she wisely shows incredible palettes, especially for Christina Hendricks and January Jones, that set their looks off. Now, with Elisabeth Moss, [Peggy is] not a glamorous character, so she was allowed, Janie was allowed to not be, I mean, that’s the thing that’s particularly endearing about Peggy is she doesn’t always get it right. And especially, that is illustrated best in her clothing. Elisabeth Moss is beautiful. She’s a beautiful actress. I’m not taking anything away from her, but Peggy is something of a schlump sometimes.

Deborah: Oh, absolutely. And Lizzie knows that, you know. I’ve interviewed her and she’s [said[ sometimes she’ll beg Janie, “Why does Peggy like plaid so much?”

Tom: Right, right.

Lorenzo: Right. Well, I will never, ever, ever lose respect for Elisabeth Moss for that first season where she allowed them to make her look so unattractive for most of the season. When you look back at Season 1 while she was hiding her pregnancy, even from herself, it was amazing how frumpy she looked, and hard to believe that she’s such a young girl and such a skinny little thing.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. She really did look bad. Well, there were I think a series of three different body suits and two different sets of facial prosthetics.

Lorenzo: Yeah.

Deborah: So that’s a lot of, I mean, those jowls were devastating.

Lorenzo: Exactly.

Deborah: You know, just as an aside, I noticed, you guys didn’t point this out when you did the style for the finale, but Peggy was in solid gray and Joan was in solid black, and I thought, Why are we at a funeral? It was so —

Tom: There was an awful lot of black being worn this season, especially by the women. Joan has worn that black dress a couple of times, Peggy introduced a couple black dresses into her rotation and she never used to wear them before. The first time we noticed the black dresses showing up, we kind of opined that maybe it has to do with this post-assassination period, you know, maybe calling back to Jackie’s black dress during the funeral. But then as the season went on and they were moving away from the more historical stuff—and it was all very interpersonal this season—I honestly think the black was just a way–well, first of all, mod styles which were coming into the mainstream in 1965; there was a lot of black and white. So black was being introduced historically into women’s clothing at the time. But from a character and story point, I just think it’s been a very, very depressing year for almost everybody in Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, and I think the black dresses kind of reflect that.

Deborah: That makes sense. My feeling was that that meeting between the two women, the way that they were excluded, they way that the person who was light was the person who was behaving in a traditional feminine manner by getting married as opposed to the women who were being professionals —

Tom: Right.

Deborah: –were not being rewarded. And it was something like, it was almost like grieving or funereal for Peggy and Joan…Then they sit down and laugh together about it.

Tom: Well, I mean, you could make the point–and that’s a good point, that the girl getting married is in the bright pink and the two women who were smoking cigarettes and talking about what assholes the men are, are in gray and black. But I’ve made the point in the past, especially with Peggy, not so much with Joan, that when they want to make–when Janie wants to make the point that she is one of the boys, and she is a career woman and she is different than the other girls, she puts her in masculine colors. She puts her in grays or she puts her in dark browns. She has rarely ever done that with Joanie, but for that particular scene, that point needed to be made that she is not, anymore at least, one of those office girls. She’s definitely not one of the boys, Joanie, but she — it was a solidarity moment with her and Peggy that for the first time in six years these characters were on the same page with each other.

Deborah: And matched each other.

Lorenzo: Yeah, they matched each other. It’s very, very rare that Joan and Peggy are wearing even similar colors in the same scene. The only time–and I’d forgotten about this, one of my readers pointed out–the only time I can remember is the, you know, “This isn’t China, Peggy. There’s no money in virginity,” that scene that they have in the coffee room back at the old Sterling Cooper office in Season 1. They were both in pink at the time. But Joan, of course, was in a vivid, vivid, vivid pink, and Peggy was in a pale, washed-out pink. And that’s the only time I can think of where they were…similar at all.

Deborah: Interesting. So where do you anticipate in terms of style for Season 5?

Tom: Well, we’re never going to see Don Draper in bell bottoms or a Nehru jacket.

Deborah: But I’m thinking Nehru jacket for Harry.

Tom: Oh, I think that’s it, you nailed it. The one who’s going to become the fashion nightmare is going to be Harry Crane. It’ll be bell bottoms and paisley shirts and Nehru jackets for Harry Crane. Just Don, I can practically guarantee that in the last episode of the series Don will be dressed almost exactly the same as he was in the beginning of the series. Pete, Pete is very traditional, but he is young, so his style might change. I fear seeing Joanie try and take on some of the styles of the late 60s and I hope they don’t try and do that because I think she’s not suited for them. I don’t know, Peggy’s not adventurous with her clothing, so I really don’t see much changing for her going forward. She’s gotten much, much better as time went on. She got a much better haircut, but she’s not going to be super mod, and that would be unprofessional for the office anyway. But you nailed it with Harry Crane. He’s the one. He’s the one that’s going to be wearing the embarrassing outfits.

Deborah: Yeah, that’ll be fun to watch.

Tom: And Megan, Megan, yeah, yeah, assuming Megan sticks around.

Lorenzo: The other characters, you know, they’ll follow the trends..

Tom: Yeah, Megan will be wearing some pretty wild stuff.

Deborah: And so will Trudy.
Tom: So will Trudy and maybe Jane Siegel—or Jane Sterling. The younger, more glamorous girls, they probably will be trying on the heavy eyeliner and stuff, all that crazy stuff. That’ll be fun. The thigh-high boots.

Lorenzo: I know. I can’t wait.

Deborah: What are the signature changes between ’65 and ’66?

Tom: Oh! (silence)

Deborah: You’re not that good. I stumped you.

Tom: No, I’m not that good. I would absolutely have to do some research on that. The thing with the Mad Style stuff is it just happened to intersect with, Mad Men just happened to intersect with a couple of things of which we were both fairly knowledgeable, one of which was 60’s fashion, the other which was 60’s advertising. We happened to have an interest in that. But we can’t quote and say, “Oh, in ’66, this happened.” No, I can’t do that. When the show comes back, when I know what period it’s working in, I will start doing more research into that year and see what the differences were, but I can’t just quote off the top of my head and say, “Oh, ’66 was when, you know. black and white checked dresses were all the rage.” I really don’t know.

Deborah: Roberta and I both have a strong guess, and this is a guess mind you, we’re not inside on anything with this, that Season 5 is going to start very soon after the end of Season 4.

Tom: I suspect so as well, because Matthew Weiner clearly loves Kiernan Shipka, and I think that’s the biggest reason why the show hasn’t taken bigger leaps in time because he would have to recast the role of Sally and she is golden, as he obviously discovered. She’s one of the best little actresses on the show. And if they do want to jump ahead, they’re going to have to recast that role, and that would be tragic.

Deborah: Right. I agree that he loves Kiernan. We all love Kiernan. She’s lovely in person, oh, my God.

Tom: I can imagine.

Deborah: She’s just this sweet, young little adult.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: Really smart adult. But the other thing is I think that he doesn’t want to rush through the early 60s. He’s already right at the edge of his favorite period. He’s already leaving his favorite period of history. I don’t think he wants to get up to ’68. I don’t think he’s in a hurry. I don’t think he likes it as much.

Lorenzo: No, I don’t think so either. And I think this season demonstrated something that some of the viewers were not prepared for, which is as the 60s go on, these people are going to be less and less easy to root for. Don being the prime example, and Roger too, being prime examples of this where they are just becoming outdated and narrow-minded, in Roger’s case in particular. So, I mean, if he really wants to take this all the way to the end of the 60s, then we’re looking at characters who are in decline, especially people like Roger, possibly Joan, possibly Don and Betty. These are people that are not going to have as much fun in the late 60s as they had in the late 50s or early 60s.

Deborah: It’s a good point.

Lorenzo: Yeah. Thank you.

Deborah: Oh, you’ve depressed me.

Tom: Again, don’t you think this season was kind of depressing? It was watching Don not getting over his demons —

Deborah: It was depressing. It’s interesting, you know, one of our writers, B. Cooper, pointed out that The Suitcase served as a season finale, and then The Summer Man was like a new season. And I felt that way pretty strongly, that there was a half of a season that was about the decline and fall of Don Draper, and it was devastatingly depressing. I think that the impulse to marry Megan was not a psychologically healthy choice.

Tom: Yes.

Deborah: And represents a step back. But I think that the forward movement that he’s made is real. I don’t think he dialed all of it back.

Tom: I agree. And I think that’s part of what makes the writing so fantastic about this show is that, you know, as Henry said to Betty, “There are no fresh starts,” or whatever the line was. That’s something you see in stories. But in real life, we all just keep plugging away, day after day, taking two steps forward and one step back. That is the way life works for 99% of us. We don’t suddenly turn around and conquer all our demons. What we do is we learn to live with our demons. So I think what Don did at the end of this season was very, very natural, made perfect sense for the character. We were not going to see Don at an AA meeting or–we weren’t even going to see Don with Dr. Faye. It was very clear. We said that right from the beginning, this girl’s got an expiration date on her. There’s no way Don is going to commit to a life with a woman who knows him that well. And sure enough, he ran straight into the arms of the girl who didn’t know anything about him. If this marriage goes through, I don’t necessarily think it will be a disaster because I don’t think Megan is Betty, but I don’t think it represents a huge forward movement on Don’s part. It’s basically more of the same. He might have learned a few things from the demise of his first marriage, and maybe he’ll take it into his second (which is technically his third), but, you know, there are no triumphant moments where we solve all of our problems. Nobody gets that.
Deborah: No, no. Henry I [think] did speak the theme of the season. Things got a little ugly on Basket of Kisses with Team Faye versus Team Megan.

Tom: Oh, really?

Deborah: Yes. Moderation had to be heavy and swift this year.

Tom: Well, if it was anything like Team Gretchen versus Team Mondo, then my sympathy.

Deborah: People got weird. You know, I don’t want to say anything against Team Megan. I actually like the character very much and I think ‘Oh, my God, she’s Eve Harrington’ is probably over the top.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: On the other hand, the fact that there is a sweetness to the romance doesn’t mean it’s psychologically healthy.

Tom: Well, of course not. Of course not. There can be a sweetness in some of the most dysfunctional relationships out there.

Deborah: And it also doesn’t mean they’re doomed. People get married for stupid reasons and then they find out whether or not they can make it work.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: Pete and Trudy made it work.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: I mean, people–I work in the software industry. I’m friendly with many Indians who are in arranged marriages, some of whom are very happily married. You know, just because you got married sight unseen doesn’t mean you won’t love each other.

Tom: Right. I mean, everybody has their own definition of what makes a desirable marriage.

Deborah: Right. And love is something that can grow and that people can choose.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: And, you know, they leapt in, they have a lot to learn. They could screw it up very badly or it could be wonderful.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: And she could keep him young.

Tom: I do think Megan, I mean, there’s a little bit there to indicate that Megan might be good for him, not the least of which is that she recognizes he drinks too much and is okay with telling him to stop. And I think we need to get on the Betty question in a second because I think she—Betty was turned into such a villain this season and it was the one thing I really didn’t agree with in the writing. But I don’t think Megan could turn into the Betty Francis that we see today, even if Don were to make all of the exact same mistakes. And maybe I’m being wishful here, but I honestly don’t think Megan would put up with Don sleeping around with other women. Like there would be a foot down on the floor very early on in the marriage, unlike Betty who suffered in silence for years and years and years.

Deborah: Yeah, I don’t think that it’s necessarily true that she wouldn’t put up with it and she’d put her foot down, but I think she wouldn’t lie to herself or to Don about what she saw.

Tom: Okay, that’s an excellent point. I agree with that.

Deborah: I think she would say, “You know, I saw something here that doesn’t sit right.” There’s an honesty to Megan that is directly parallel to the honesty in Henry.

Tom: That’s actually a very good point.

Deborah: I have them sometimes.(laughs)

Tom: I didn’t mean to sound surprised!

Deborah: No, I actually just thought of it a few minutes ago while we were talking that, you know, they are very parallel characters. They’re softeners.

Lorenzo: One thing that we can’t forget also is that she said to Don, “I know everything I need to know about you,” and that could be how she would approach her marriage with it. You know, that she’s fine where she is, she doesn’t need to know more, and then be a good wife in the sense that she should just be a wife, you know. Not curious or interested about what he does.

Tom: Well, she is interested in what he does. She wants to do what he does.

Lorenzo: I know, but, I mean, in terms of his life, I think, and I don’t know, I could be wrong, but maybe that’s why he was so interested in marrying her too, because she said that. He’s so secretive about his past and she would be a perfect wife in the sense that she’s not going to question who he is or who he was, like Dr. Faye did.

Tom: Yeah, I definitely think that was a selling point.

Lorenzo: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it, a selling point, was the fact that she said, “I know everything I need to know about you.”

Deborah: I think that was exactly it. I think that there was a direct parallel that I wrote about between Faye saying we can heal this together. Let’s look at it and heal it.

Tom: That’s the last thing he wants to do.

Deborah: Right. And Megan saying, “Well, don’t worry about it. I know you now.”

Tom: Right.

Deborah: And, you know, you’ve got a choice and there’s the work and there’s the easy [way] and [Don’s] going, ‘Oh, look, easy.’ I think it was a no-brainer for Don.

Tom: It’s true.

Deborah: But I also wonder if maybe she doesn’t represent something like youth culture because the 60s are coming into a ‘live in the now, reject the past’ moment.

Tom: I guess. I think that’s very true. I think that if Megan ever…found out about Dick Whitman, she would not have a reaction like Betty did, because she’d never admit it–and this was very subtle in the writing–but I do think that part of the reason Betty fell out of love with Don was to find out that he was poor. I mean, Betty is a class-ist. And the fact that he came from absolutely nothing was at least part of the turn off, whereas I don’ t think that information would phase Megan in the slightest. I don’t think she has the Old World class distinctions that someone like Betty has.

Deborah: Right. I think it was finding out he was the son of a prostitute was pretty rough.

Tom: Right. Yeah, and that was just a little bit more than Betty Hofstadt could handle.

Deborah: Right. And so…she’s the 50s wife. She is, ‘We are our past, we are our history. We are our backgrounds and our upbringings and we do things the right way.’ And Megan then becomes the 60s wife: ‘We live in the moment.’

Tom: Right. The past doesn’t matter.

Deborah: And if that’s the case, then yeah, I agree, she isn’t necessarily going to be devastated by the truth about Dick Whitman. And he might even tell her casually.

Tom: Right.

Deborah: He has the ability to say, ‘You know–‘ because he’s been experimenting all season with ways of telling people.

Tom: Right.

Lorenzo: When, in fact, his secret has gotten out more than once and he survived.

Deborah: Yeah. I mean, but even saying to Peggy, talking to Peggy about his Korean War service [in The Suitcase] and saying, “I was such a yokel.”

Tom: Right. That was a big step.

Deborah: It was huge. And so much happened that episode that that was almost overlooked. But it was a huge revelation, and it wasn’t with this big, ‘Oh, my God, I have to tell you something.’

Tom: Well, I think that episode was all about Peggy becoming the new Anna in his life, and he was subconsciously moving her into that place. And I think that tossing off that information about his past was a way of doing it. I think that whole episode was about Don subconsciously moving her into Anna’s slot in his life.

Deborah: That makes me want to run and pop that–oh, I don’t have a DVD–play it on the DVR.

Tom: I know!

Deborah: Oh, it makes me want to go watch it again. That end where he says, “She was the only person who really knew me,” and Peggy says, “That’s not true.”

Tom: And let me tell you, I don’t know what it is about Jon Hamm, I can sit through just about anything and watch people cry and I’m fine, but when Jon Hamm cries, I can’t not cry. The man is like an artist at crying on camera.

Deborah: If they don’t give him the Emmy for that!

Tom: That’s insane if they don’t give him the Emmy. I understand why the Breaking Bad guy won it, blah, blah, blah, but it’s insane if he doesn’t get the Emmy next year.

Deborah: It’s some of the best work I’ve ever seen anywhere.

Tom: Agreed.

Deborah: It was so raw. I mean, he sat there and he did that whole scene with puke on his shirt. You know, we did have our set visit, and we watched him do a scene, a short scene, over and over and over and over again, and nail it and nail it and nail it and nail it and nail it. And it was an energetic scene. It was right before they go to…the 40th anniversary dinner.

Tom: Yes. “Doesn’t Mommy look pretty?”

Deborah: Right. So he’s very excited…He’s thrilled. He has to step into that scene and do it at a high energy moment, and then do it again, and then do it again, and then do it again, and he just nailed it every time. There was no ‘We’re doing it again because we flubbed it.’ The director just wanted a lot of coverage. And I just could not believe the professionalism and the hitting the energy level every time. And that was for a light, little scene. When they do the heavy scenes, they close the set. They get everybody off the set and they do longer takes and it’s a different working experience for them. But the professionalism is stunning.

Tom: I can believe it.

Deborah: We were so glad that we got out there and we saw the Sterling Cooper set because that’s history.

Tom: I know. I would’ve loved to have seen that set.

Deborah: It was wonderful. It was a wonderful experience, it really was. And we met Jon and we met January and we met the kids.

Tom: Were they familiar with your blog?

Deborah: Yes. (Deborah tells a story about Jon Hamm referencing that morning’s blog post.) So I’m going to wrap up because we’ve been on for an hour and a half and you guys probably have a life.

Tom: Not much of a life, but we have a tiny, little life.

That’s part 2, and as I think you can tell, we had a great time. Watch for part 3 soon!


  13 Responses to “Tom and Lorenzo Part 2: You Have to Watch This!”

  1. This is great. Can’t wait for Part 3!

  2. Terrific interview. I kinda lurk around these parts, but just wanted to thank you guys for a great interview. It’s making me want to fire up the DVR.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom and Lorenzo and Mad Men Tweets, Cantara Christopher. Cantara Christopher said: [Mad Men] Tom and Lorenzo Part 2: You Have to Watch This!: Tom and Lorenzo are the eponymous bloggers at Tom and… […]

  4. As much as I would love to “fire up the DVR,” that experience has all but been extinguished for me. All 13 episodes lined up in perfect order to be salivated over, re-watched, regurgitated, etc. But due to a software glitch with Charter and a visit from the tech requiring him to reset the DVR, EVERYTHING recorded has been lost. I think there’s a message in there somewhere about patience, tolerance, loss, blah, blah, blah, but I’m not getting it yet. Big sigh. Definitely experiencing all the stages of grief.

  5. you all are my favorite people anywhere, so intellegent and wise and perceptive and awake !

  6. Great interview with a lot of fascinating detail – I love TLo – and they led me to your site, which I also love. No one I know wants to talk about Mad Men anymore, so I get my fix here.

  7. I think when Betty found out the truth about Don’s past (including that his mom was a prostitute), it was really just one more thing that made her realize “why am I with this guy?”.

    Good husband? No – he cheated all the time.
    Good father? No – he left his child’s birthday party and never returned.
    Good family? No – his mom was a prostitute. Plus, he didn’t make an effort to become part of her family.
    Kind? No – he turned his own brother away.
    Good education? No – he didn’t even graduate from high school (Betty graduated from Bryn Mawr).
    Loving? He didn’t try to get Betty to stay by telling her how much he loved her – he told her to go to a doctor.
    Honest? No – obviously.

    She did have the sexual attraction to him (Matthew Weiner has referenced that in an interview), but I can see how that would quickly fade away when all of the things she’d been turning a blind eye to, all of the mysteries about Don that she’d overlooked – all came to light. I do agree she’s class-ist, but I don’t think her leaving him was just about that.

  8. TrulyTrudy, that has happened to me. I lost about 70 movies from TCM. Heartbreak.

  9. One of my first jobs (for Sassy magazine! Remember them?) was doing transcription of interview tapes. One page would take up to half an hour or so. I cannot fathom how long this must have taken to type up. I like this interview so much I want to eat it.

  10. Wow, what an interview. Thanks, Deb.

    Betty certainly has class snobbery, but a very, very weird form of it that’s couched in a lot of neurosis and guilt. If she’d just wanted some blueblood dude who was born with the silver spoon and had the pedigree and all that, that would have been easy. How many of those guys pursued her before she fell in love with Don, about whom she knew so little that 7 years into their marriage, she was still wondering, “Who’s in there?” Dozens, probably. They didn’t do it for her. Don did. There was a pretty big element of “Fuck you, Mom and Dad” in that choice.

    Similarly, the snotty remark to Henry about the “mansion and servants” he didn’t have, I doubt that was because Henry lied and said he had those things; it was because she wanted to believe that, that any man she’d be interested in would have that kind of money. But the point is, she didn’t check; she went with what her heart wanted, and hoped the rest of the picture would line up.

  11. Superb interview, really.

    It was interesting what you said about next season possibly starting very soon after Season 4, timeframe-wise. I recently posted about men’s fashion and what hairstyles the guys might have in 1967. I suppose in my mind, I am in some ways “ready” for 1967 because it seems such an exciting time and I want to see the changes in some of the characters. (As discussed, not all of them will have strong fashion changes, but I know a few will, and it will be interesting just to see the changes in the country and how it affects the NY advertising folks…)

    But as you say, maybe Matt Weiner will want to stay in the first part of the 60s for a little longer. And really when I think about it, what’s the rush? Especially if it could possibly mean more seasons of Mad Men to watch 😉

  12. TrulyTrudy, I had recorded the Season 4 episodes on my VCR (yeah, I still have one–well actually it’s a combination VCR/DVD player). They fit on two VHS tapes. However, I can’t seem to find the tape that had the first six episodes, only the tape that has 7 through 13.

    Good news is that the DVD will probably be coming out very soon–December, I’d imagine, based on previous years.

  13. “And I think this season demonstrated something that some of the viewers were not prepared for, which is as the 60s go on, these people are going to be less and less easy to root for. Don being the prime example, and Roger too, being prime examples of this where they are just becoming outdated and narrow-minded, in Roger’s case in particular. So, I mean, if he really wants to take this all the way to the end of the 60s, then we’re looking at characters who are in decline, especially people like Roger, possibly Joan, possibly Don and Betty. These are people that are not going to have as much fun in the late 60s as they had in the late 50s or early 60s.”

    well, that might be true, but that doesn’t mean the stories of these characters have to become boring. I don’t think the fact that time is marching on means that the show is “over” ~ or at least, I sure as hell hope not. Now I’m dreading the end of this series. It’s so awesome, I want it to go on and on~ the late 60’s were an interesting time as well!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.