Basket of News, May 12-18, 2012

 Posted by on May 18, 2012 at 8:00 am  Media-Web-News
May 182012

Did you miss the Mad Men edition of Inside the Actor’s Studio?  You have no excuse now.

Per usual, Slate looks at “Dark Shadows” from a number of angles. [There’s even a Stan Rizzo post this week. -K]

Gothamist surveys the food references in “Dark Shadows” (and the toxic smog).

The Atlantic Wire points you to the NYT Magazine article that excluded SCDP.

Maria and André Jacquemetton talk to The Globe and Mail about writing MM, Canada, and why Megan does not have a French first name.

Jessica Paré is the cover girl for New York magazine’s annual Television Issue, dressed in full 1960s makeup and threads.  Inside the mag, she discusses being The Boss’s Wife.

John Slattery gets a meaty profile from Boston Common.

Elisabeth Moss does a video chat with GoldDerby about Peggy and her future.  She talks to about the headlines that come with celebrity.

Jared Harris talks to Metro (UK) about Mad Men, his most-recognized roles, karaoke and more, where he talks about The Box Tiger Music which is the site where he gets all his karaoke essentials.

Ben Feldman talks about the Michael Ginsberg-Don Draper relationship at Entertainment Weekly.

Alexis Bledel talks to AMC about her favorite MM character, Beth Dawes’s sex scene with Pete Campbell and what excited her about the role.

Kiernan Shipka, speaking at the Fashion and Beauty Blogger Conference in Santa Monica, not only discussed fashion, but also her indpendent study program.

You can listen to an interview with  MM composer David Carbonara at WTRI.

TIME’s James Poniewozik has sympathy for Betty Francis.

Grantland covers the alien invasion of Mad Men.

Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe have been confirmed as the stars of A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

Joel Murray does a wide-ranging, though not lengthy, interview with Shockya.

Pajiba acknowledges the nameless secretaries of Mad Men.

At Yi! News, Emily Viviana compares Season 5 so far to side one of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. [This would work a lot better if S5 was set in 1967, but it’s still fun. -K]

Jon Hamm (and John Slattery) are taking food out of the mouths of voice-over artists. Or something.

Business Insider notes The Pitch now has zero ratings.  Ouch.

Colm Meaney talks to Digital Spy about he success of Hell on Wheels in the US, his battle against the elements and what the future holds for the show.

AMC and PBS were the biggest movers on the 2012 TV Brand Survey released Monday by the Toronto-based Solutions Research Group.  AMC moved from 51st position to 30th place, based on the performance of The Walking Dead and Mad Men, while PBS went from 19th to 12th place due to the break-out popularity of Downton Abbey.

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


  13 Responses to “Basket of News, May 12-18, 2012”

  1. Loved the article about nameless secretaries. I always wonder about the background artists walking around behind the leading actors. Now let’s hear about those unnamed men we see. What are their jobs at SCDP?

  2. I didn’t catch the ITAS show when it aired, so I started watching the video you posted. The editing is absolutely unbearable — I really can’t watch the thing. The editing obviously constantly cut people off in mid-sentence or mid-thought. What a disservice to take 6 hours of conversation and edit it into 45 minutes of sound bites. Awful.

  3. why is it impossible to think that some french-canadians picked a name like megan? Maybe they read it somewhere and liked it. People don’t always name family members for some sort of ethno-aural consistency. (especially when they’ve had a few kids already)

    • It’s not impossible.

      Just because a name was not common in a certain ethnic group or during a certain time period, that does not mean that nobody got the name! Megan’s parents are arty intellectuals; maybe they read it in a book…..

  4. Christina Hendricks was on “Live! With Kelly” yesterday. I missed the actual show, and I can’t find a video of the interview anywhere. :/

  5. If Slattery doesn’t win the Emmy my head will explode. He is the best written, most fun character on TeeVee by miles and miles. Roger in S5 has been the equivalent of Babe Ruth in 1927 and Picasso during the blue period.

  6. Thanks for the Actors Studio link! Very fun! I wish they made it two hours though. The editing was very annoying.

  7. From the interview with Marie and Andre Jacquemetton, about Megan’s name:

    Q: Megan isn’t a French name though.

    MJ: We did not know [the character would be French]. We built the character after the role became more important. Season 4, Matt had this idea that he wanted Don Draper to get into a relationship with Dr. Faye Miller, who was going to be good for him emotionally. But at the last minute – when it became clear that being with her was going to be a lifetime of the work that he needed to do to heal himself – this beautiful young thing was going to catch his eye. We wrote to that. We cast Jessica and really her character did not come into form until the last episode of Season 4.

  8. I posted this earlier in the “Dark Shadows” thread. But since it deal with the NYT article (which was real according to “The Atlantic”!) I decided to repost here.

    The show’s title “Dark Shadows” made me wonder if there would be any references to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

    Here’s a very piecemeal summary of PAC. Let’s say there are people who have spent their whole lives in a dim cave, forced to only see one wall. Their captors have lit a fire behind them which they use to make shadows on that wall. Since the captives have never seen anything else, they think the shadows are real. So they think the “shadow tree” is a real tree, and so on. And their captors are intentionally trying to “fake them out,” in other words the captors want the captives to believe the shadows are the real deal.
    One day one of the captives leaves the cave. At first his eyes cannot adjust to the sunlight. But slowly they do adjust and he begins to see things clearly. And he realizes that the tree he sees outside is a real tree and the one in the cave was fake, it was just a shadow. In PAC the Sun symbolizes reality and truth. There’s more but I’ll end here. For a summary

    Or for a very funny, very vulgar, but very clear version, here.

    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is referenced often in MM. In the scenes leading up to the Wheel pitch and the pitch itself, there are heavy references to Plato’s Cave. Harry walks out of his office with his trash can on fire. Then Harry talks about the caves at Lascaux and the paintings on the wall.

    The pitch itself is pure Cave. There is a fire (the lightbulb in the projector) and the shadows on the wall (the images of the slides). As Don speaks, he quotes a Greek man named Teddy. And then he bases the pitch on the fact that nostalgia is a Greek word and its meaning in Greek.

    In Babylon, Betty says, “Did you know Michelangelo was painting the Sistine ceiling when those people (Pygmies) were still living in caves discovering fire?” The “living in caves” and “discovering fire” part could be a symbolic reference to PAC. Also, Michelangelo’s paintings are in a way shadows on a dome.

    Also, Basketcase Anna B. wrote an amazing post on “723” and PAC.

    As I was watching Dark Shadows, I was looking for the usual “markers” of PAC, the cave, a fire, shadows. But as the episode went along I saw nothing. And then Don read the NYT article.

    Pete said that the article compared the profiled agencies to philosophers. And the first one listed was a “Platonist,” complete with a profile drawing of Plato. So basically a straight up reference to Plato.

    Also, there’s Don’s note to Megan where he says, “I went to buy a light bulb. When I get back I’ll see you better.” So there’s clearly the idea of needing light to see things clearly (perhaps Megan is faking Don out and he needs to see her more clearly?).

    And at the end of DS, the sun in obscured by the toxic smog, perhaps indicating that Don is in a type of cave and/or that the truth is being obscured.

    The idea of the truth being obscured and the notion of people trying to fake others out permeate the episode. DS begins w/Megan teaching Sally how to fake people out by crying on cue. Betty pretends that her dropping of Anna’s name was just a way to help Sally w/her homework. Roger fakes out the Manischewitz people that he’s still married to Jane. Don tries to fake out Ginsberg that he went with his own idea because it was better and going in w/two pitches looked weak, rather than the fact that Don was jealous of Ginsberg and wanted to sabotage him. The NYT writer fakes out Pete by pretending that he’ll write about SCDP.

    In the end, Sally realizes that Betty is faking her out through her talk w/Megan, overhearing Megan and Don’s argument about Betty, and finally Don telling her about Anna. Ginsberg isn’t faked out by Don for a moment, he calls him out as soon as he sees him. Pete realizes that he was faked out when he reads the NYT article. Only Roger gets away with it, at least so far.

    In addition, Sally’s family tree is a sort of fake/shadow tree, it’s not real. Don’s parents are listed as “Archibald Draper” and “Abigail Draper” (the latter being a multifaceted can of worms). There’s no Adam or Uncle Mack. And of course no Anna initially.

    What also struck me about DS is its links to previous episodes that used PAC. In “The Wheel” Don is at the top of his game. In DS, Don is at the bottom.

    Moreover, there are a plethora of references to “Babylon.” In “Babylon” Don has the Israeli tourism account and goes to Rachel Menken for information about being Jewish. In DS, Roger is trying to land an account with a Jewish wine company and uses his Jewish wife as an asset. In “Babylon” Sal jokes about “Ethel Rosenberg” pink lipstick and says something along the lines of “what you wear while going to the chair.” And during the brainstorming session Pete asks when they’re going to turn the electricity on in the chairs (a reference to the one way mirror also used in executions). In DS, the Manischewitz owners are the Rosenbergs and wife basically says it’s a good thing that all Rosenberg’s aren’t related, a reference to the executed Rosenbergs. In “Babylon” Peggy is discovered and Don actively mentors and champions her. In DS, Don fully sees Ginsberg’s talent while leafing through his folder and instead sabotages him.

    So if the sun/truth is obscured at the end of “Dark Shadows,” that could bode interesting things for the rest of the season.

    • A link to the NY Times article can be found in Cultural References.

      • Deborah,

        Thanks for the info. I actually tried that link from “The Atlantic” article and it required a subscription to NYT online. I recently had some CC fraud so I can’t give my CC#, not even to the Grey Lady herself.

        However, the original article from “The Atlantic” showed enough of the NYT article that I could make due. It’s amazing how much thought and detail MW has put into this show.

  9. To add on to my previous post, in the NYT article the last agency is referred to as “The Aburdists.” This could mean Sartre, Camus, Ionesco, and so on. But I’m going with Sartre as per Basketcase “WC’s” catch that Emile Calvet is made to look like Sartre.

    Also, one of the first things Emile says in “Codfish Ball” is “Absurd!” (referring to Don carrying the luggage). So the combination of Emile’s appearance and the “Absurd!” quote lead me to believe that “The Absurdists” refer to Sartre within the context of MM.

    This is what I wrote in response to “WC’s” post
    What really struck me w/Sartre and MM are the plays “No Exit” and “The Flies.” In “No Exit,” three people are trapped with one another in an afterlife from which there is no exit, not even death since they are already dead. “The Flies” is a reworking of “The Oresteia” based on the myth of Orestes and his sister Electra. The basic plot is that Orestes and Electra’s father has been killed by their mother Clytemnestra and their father’s brother Aegisthus, who has begun an affair with Clytemnestra. The siblings plan to murder their mother and uncle in revenge, which Orestes eventually does. In Sartre’s version, the focus is more on accepting the consequences of one’s actions without remorse. The flies represent the original crime of the father’s murder and they become the Furies after the murders of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

    As I was thinking about this, I remembered something. The fly trapped in the ceiling light during the series pilot. So, “The Flies” + “No Exit” = the fly trapped in the ceiling light. This theme is reiterated during “The Suitcase” when Don tries to catch a mouse (another type of vermin) and realizes “there’s another way out of here.”

    So what could be the possible meanings? For Don, the Orestes myth could relate to his father/Abigail/Uncle Mack. There’s been a lot of speculation that Abigail and Mack started their affair before Archie died and that Adam is Mack’s son passed off as Archie’s. A 10 year old Don would not have understood the birds and the bees. But a 17 year old Don might have noticed how Adam looked like Mack and then did the math. Since Don gave Peggy a box of his father’s favorite violet candies, Don may have had more fondness of his father than he has previously mentioned. Perhaps realizing that his father’s friend betrayed his father by sleeping with his stepmother could have started the end of Don’s relationship with his family.

    Another meaning could have to do w/Peggy since Don sees her face after his “post fly trapped in light” nap and Peggy is integral to “The Suitcase.” Perhaps they are each trapped in their own boxes from which they can find no exit. For Peggy it could go back to the psychological implications of the Electra myth. Peggy lost her father at 12 in a graphic way. She seems almost stunted at that age and is looking for a father figure. Don fills that role from S1 and especially after he finds her in the hospital. But it’s a rocky relationship until Don meets Peggy in her apartment in “Shut the Door.” I’ve found Don’s “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to hire you” as a way of cementing their adopted daughter/father relationship, that their relationship is permanent.

    Perhaps as a result, in S4 we see a Peggy who has finally grown up, she’s dressing like an adult and is full of confidence. In “The Suitcase” Peggy sees Don cry, something men of that era would only do in front of someone they considered like family. So Peggy might have finally found her exit out of her search for a father figure.

    For Don, the “No Exit” scenarios could be multiple. Perhaps he’s trapped in relationships with women that are sexually fulfilling but not emotionally so. And his strong non sexual relationship with Peggy gets him out of that box. Or there’s the original wound of being rejected by his adoptive mother. Perhaps by taking on Peggy as an adopted daughter of sorts Don is healing that wound and getting out of that box of pain. Whatever it may be, the fact that Don asks Peggy to leave the door open at the end of “The Suitcase,” thus giving himself an exit, could be of significance.
    So that’s it. I didn’t think much about Sartre until the final scene of “Dark Shadows” when Don wants to open the porch door while calling the apartment hotter than, well, the place where “No Exit” is situated. But Don cannot open the door, he’s stuck, there’s no exit. And that’s basically what the protagonist of “No Exit,” Garcin, tries to do, he opens a door but he cannot leave. In NE there are three people stuck in a room. In the apartment Don’s there, so is Megan, and Julia is about to arrive, which makes three. Which does not bode well for Don/Megan. Also, with the “Absurdist” agency, there are three people, just like in NE.

    The “No Exit” theme is repeated with the multiple elevator scenes. An elevator is basically a closed box w/no exit. The episode starts w/the elevator ride w/Cooper, Roger, Don, and Pete. Then there’s Peggy and Roger. And then Don and Ginsberg.

    As for “The Flies” aspect of “Dark Shadows,” “The Flies” is a family generational story which could relate to Sally’s family tree. Also, in “The Flies” the hero hates his mother. Which could go with both Don (regarding Abigail) and Sally (realizing that Betty is a manipulator and then turning on her).

    Sorry for the long posts and reposting. But I thought it might be good to focus on themes and the literary and philosophical depth of MM rather than individual characters for a bit.

  10. For Karl
    You may already know this but there is an interesting article in the Auto section of today’s NY Times. It gives a little insight on how Mad Men research their products that are on the show and a history of the advertising for Jaguar. In case you are interested in this for the next Basket of News, I am including a link.

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