Basket of News, Apr. 14-20, 2012

 Posted by on April 20, 2012 at 9:00 am  Media-Web-News
Apr 202012

André & Maria Jacquemetton participated in Slate’s discussion of “Signal 30,” discussing the process in the writers’ room, but particularly as it relates to Both “Signal 30” and “Mystery Date.”

“Signal 30” put a lot of media focus on Pete Campbell and Vincent Kartheiser.  Vincent spoke to Slate specifically about the episode, and more broadly to AMC (including the characters he wishes he could play) and IGN.  VK also talks to Digital Spy about Pete’s relationship with Peggy.  Ken Honeywell essays the quiet desperation of Pete Campbell.

Speaking of Slate, they’ve also found startling evidence that indicates exactly how much of Don’s encounter with Andrea in Mystery Date was a dream.

Ken Cosgrove inspires writers: Damon Lindelof (Lost) wanted to read Ben Hargrove’s “The Punishment of X-4” so much he started writing it.  EW’s Jeff Jenson composed a fictional letter from publisher Ferrar, Straus.

MTV more broadly surveyed geek references in “Signal 30.”

Tata Motors claims it was surprised at Jaguar’s appearance in “Signal 30.”  Jaguar USA’s real-life ad agency sent Don Draper a consolation letter about missing the account. (In contrast, Beam, Inc. loves to send Don his Canadian Club.)

The original “Signal 30” is online, in all of its graphic glory.

John Slattery talks to The Atlantic about directing, his early expectations of acting, Roger Sterling and more.  He also dished about Jon Hamm on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.  Also, Esquire sums up Roger’s advice to Lane about business meals.

Jon Hamm drops a teaser at TotalFilm.

Jared Harris has signed up to star in The Quiet Ones, a horror/thriller from Hammer Films.  He talks to the Radio Times about Mad Men‘s subtext.

In Emmy news, January Jones has submitted herself as a contender this year for supporting actress in a drama.  JJ also joins Ed Harris in the Western drama Sweetwater.

Rich Sommer talks to Ology about Harry Crane, eating sliders, his indie features Fairhaven and The Giant Mechanical Man, his future in Broadway, his teaching experience and his love of board games.

Alison Brie talks to Metro about MM, Community, and playing British in The Five-Year Engagement.  She talks to THR about her Elmo impression.  And her Los Angeles magazine photoshoot is popping up online, though the profile ran last month..

Teyonah Parris talks to the L.A. Times about joining the show, her relationship with Peggy and just how stingy Matt Weiner can be with details about the show.

Janie Bryant talks to MyDaily about fashion, meeting Matt Weiner, Kiernan Shipka’s style, and the dress Matt hasn’t written for… yet.

Zap2It notes the Mad Men turns of Larisa Oleynik, Parker Young and Amanda Bauer.

At The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik suggests a 40-year rule of nostalgia.  NPR’s Linda Holmes comments on the essay, arguing that “Mad Men as conceived of by Matthew Weiner is not a particularly good example of nostalgia as Gopnik understands it to begin with.”

Salon’s Willa Paskin wonders if Mad Men has become more deliberately stagey.

Vulture surveys the best and worst closing songs on Mad Men.

The fat-suit version of Betty Francis inspires a Ram Jam/Leadbelly parody.

Don Draper turns up in an essay about “Why We Love Sociopaths” (on television).

Judy Blume is a Mad Men fan.

Business Insider compiles famous ads created by women in the Mad Men era.

Reports that Mad Men‘s ratings are sagging in the UK appear to be misreports.  Meanwhile, The Motley Fool credits Netflix with boosting Mad Men‘s ratings in the US.

At ThinkProgress, Alyssa Rosenberg surveys a list of the pilots AMC is apparently considering.

ABC News covers ad agencies that (still) let employees drink on the job.

Is Maggie Smith leaving Downton Abbey? Maybe not.

Basket of News is compiled by Deborah and Karl — and Basketcases contributing in the sidebar.


  7 Responses to “Basket of News, Apr. 14-20, 2012”

  1. Since this thread covers many, many topics I am going to take this opportunity to offer up 10 random thoughts on various aspects of Mad Men:

    1) The medium of television by its very nature restricts the amount of time that can be devoted to each character on screen in a given week or over the entire series, the topics that one can discuss at any one time that relate to the character, and the number of (main) characters that can occupy one’s TV screen in any one week or over the course of the series. As in every other TV series that preceded MM or will follow it, a lot is left up to the imagination of the viewer to fill in the blanks himself or herself based on the evidence provided on screen by the characters themselves.

    I find it interesting that MM is so proactive in allowing its actors and actresses in real life to participate in interviews in which they promote or flesh out their characters outside the normal constraints allowed for by the medium of an hour series TV format (actually 45 minutes).

    2) There is a term that is used in sports to describe the predisposition of the cast, writers, Janie Bryant, Matthew Weiner etc to discuss the various aspects of MM after the episode is aired, which is inside baseball. Honestly, there are some people who would rather not know what goes on behind the scenes of any activity so that the final result remains a bit of a mystery to them but then there are the curious and analytical types of personalities or voyeurs who want to know everything pertaining to plot development and how the distress, misery and pain attributed to the characters was originally conceived or created.

    I fall somewhere in the middle. I would compare it to not wanting to know how a magician pulls a rabbit out of the hat but wanting to better understand the proficiency necessary to become a top-notch magician.

    And thus for MM I am very interested in the process the writers go through in developing a storyline or a plot for each season but I would rather not know about how they came about making their specific decision to advance a character in a certain direction or determining what the specific motivations of an individual character are.

    3) As I posted in a previous thread, one of the hardest things to do in television or really any medium as opposed to a novel is to show how a man or a woman realizes at a certain stage in his or her life that he or she needs to change his or her lifestyle, job, or marital situation. I believe one of the most overlooked facts (a fact as it pertains to a fictional character Don Draper) is his approaching 40 after his divorce from Betty. And I furthermore believe one of the most overlooked developments in the series took place in season four is where Don kept a daily journal and unbosomed his thoughts as he was writing them down. For those who think Don’s proposal to Megan was impulsive, I think you should go back and rewatch these episodes and review what Don was writing.

    Imho, because of his advancing age and his inability to recover physically and emotionally as he did when he was 25, Don Draper over time began to change his priorities or at least did an extensive self-evaluation over season four that allowed him to better understand where he was in life then. He was a mess and he knew it. The descent into the abyss could become permanent.

    I want to congratulate the writers of MM for allowing this process to play itself out over time and not like most TV shows short-change the viewers by implying “the come to Jesus moment” happened overnight. In real life, the conversion on the road to Damascus is the exception rather than the rule.

    And finally I am surprised based on Don’s keeping of the journal how many posters feel that Don’s proposal to Megan was impulsive or out of character.

    4) And that leads me to the actual marriage proposal from Don to Megan. Instead of viewing it as an impulsive act of a man acting irrationally or grasping at straws, I consider it a natural outgrowth of Don’s process of self-evaluation or re-evaluation that he was going through in season four.

    Did Don envision at the beginning of the process that his payoff would be a marriage to Megan? Absolutely not. He was not even interested in her then.

    But Don did imho begin to understand what was now important to him nearing 40 and that he needed to alter certain things in his life to keep from falling further into the abyss.

    And there were signs he was beginning to understand women better. Here is what Don wrote in his journal about Bethany van Nuys:

    “She is a sweet girl and she wants me to know her but I already do. People tell you who they are but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

    And imho it was on this basis he decided consciously or unconsciously that he had no desire to marry Faye Miller, and Don actually told Sally that when his daughter asked him if he would or not.

    As for Megan, based on Don’s thoughts on BVN, Don began to see Megan for who she is or was (in his mind’s eye) and in his proposal to Megan alluded to his belief that he may never have seen or come to understand what Megan brought to the table without their trip to CA with the children (Don treated his one night stand with Megan as any other prior to going to bed with Megan again in CA) and because of his process of self-discovery including his daily journal entries he began to realize Megan was what he was looking for to regain his business and moral compass. I will further contend that Don may have not had the good sense of asking Megan to marry him if he did not go through this process in determining what he really wanted in life at age 40.

    5) The word comeuppance best describes what happened to Pete Campbell in Signal 30. Go back and rewatch the very first episode of MM especially where he gratuitously makes fun of Peggy on her first day on the job as Don’s secretary and how Don rebukes Pete for such behavior and tells Pete if he continues down this road of going out of way to antagonize people ” no one will like you.”

    You reap what you sow.

    6) I think Ken Cosgrove will turn into a clone of John Cheever who focused his stories on suburban living and the impact living in the suburbs has on one personally. And because of the constraint in (1) Ken will I predict become the conscience of MM, from time to time through the writing of his stories to help to add nuance and texture to the storyline.

    7) The writers on MM claim that MM is not primarily a history lesson. I disagree. From their highbrow point of view, they may not consider it such, but there are many folks in the audience who have no clue what went on in the 1960’s and equate it with prehistoric times. If after MM completes its run, the only thing that is left with these folks is the history of the 1960’s or the lessons of the 1960’s, I would still consider MM a success on that level.

    8) Regarding the dream sequence in Mystery Date, beyond the understanding that it was actually a dream, there were two schools of thought after the viewing of the episode: First that Don really cannot stop himself from cheating on Megan–the old Don–or second that Don subconsciously really wants to remain faithful to Megan.

    I’m glad in Signal 30 that the writers clarified which direction Don was heading. But remember this journey for Don started in season four where he hit rock bottom.

    But could Don still fall off the wagon? Absolutely. Even the character Megan somewhere deep in her self-conscious believes that as well?

    9) There is an accepted premise in fiction as well as in real life that onlookers or one’s sphere of influence don’t particularly like it when someone “gets religion.”

    And at the end of Signal 30, we see this in evidence from Pete as Don tries to steer Pete from going off the cliff in his marriage to Trudy.

    Pete sees Don as a hypocrite but so do Roger and Peggy–Roger because Don slammed him for marrying a much younger woman and forsaking Mona–and Peggy for telling her in The Suitcase he had rules about dating employees at the firm. And could this perceived view of Don affect their business relationship with him over time? I think it already has.

    You really get the feeling that Don’s critics are just waiting him to fall from grace and return to “the old Don.” People who “get religion” are no fun.

    10) And finally if you aren’t aware of it, there is a program called This Week in Mad Men which airs a couple days after each episode on You Tube which breaks down the episode as a football commentator would break down the plays of a football game.

  2. Hello…I’m so glad I found your site and Mad Men discussion. It’s so comprehensive and I’ll definitely be checking back often. I also host a weekly Mad Men podcast with a fellow blogger friend of mine. Feel free to check it out when you get a chance.

  3. Wow, that bit about the reverse film footage is amazing.

    • Isn’t it? Holy wow.

    • In the S-3 episode The Fog, someone on the commentary track of the DVD mentioned that the scene in the Draper kitchen with Betty, Grandpa Gene, Betty’s mother and Medgar Evers, was reversed.

      I never noticed it at the time, but after hearing what was done, I can see why the technique heightened the sense of unreality in the scene.

    • Subtle but still unnerving. I like it.

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