Tag Archives: Betty Draper

Mad Men: Commissions and Fees

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: It seems futile, to me, to attempt to eulogize Lane Pryce. For a man so utterly complex and so consistently facing feelings of inadequacy, lack of fulfillment, and conflicting performances of identity, it would not be far fetched to wonder whether he would take his own life. This episode, it can be argued, was incredibly predictable. But that is not a detriment to the episode as a whole, for the acting on the part of Jared Harris, in particular, but also of Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, and Christina Hendricks stuns the audience into yet another Mad Men-induced trance. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Dark Shadows

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: I have come to terms with the fact that I might be the only person in the world who has any sympathy for Betty Hoeffstadt Draper Francis. However, this episode really made an attempt (a successful one, at that) to show the insecurities of a woman “who has everything [she] wants.” Her pettiness from seasons past perpetuates and progresses into this episode driven by her her reluctance to accept things that are out of her control. Yet seeing Betty know which cards to play against the new Drapers, and how Don and Megan react to Betty’s strategy, is very interesting to watch. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Lady Lazarus

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: A tense and turbulent episode of “Mad Men” this week where we get insights into the ambitions of women in marriage, and the positions of the husbands who must accept and love them. Megan’s ambitions take her out of the halls of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce into capris and acting classes so that she can pursue her dream while Don accepts it and lets her fly away as he breezes in from work. Beth Dawes (played surprisingly well by Alexis Bledel) is leading a similar life to her husband, Howard, in her ambitions to have “side dishes,” or really more like side amuse bouches since they seem to come and go pretty quickly. And then Pete, with the absent but still very present Trudy, wants someone to make him feel complex and validated and not that he is doing everything that he should, which seems to be Trudy’s strategy. I do wish we could see more of Trudy and Pete’s home life like we have in previous seasons, because right now I wonder if we are supposed to assume that her life is taken up by the baby and hence nothing really changes for her, or maybe Matthew Weiner is waiting for a big reveal later in the season.

HOWARD MEGDAL: You should be thinking of Trudy? What about Pete? Hell, Trudy would take up most of my thoughts, if I didn’t have a wife who tops even the fabulous Alison Brie! Continue reading

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Mad Men: Tea Leaves

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SONIA BRAND-FISHER: For the first time in the entire series of “Mad Men,” I feel unrestrained and sincere sympathy for Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis. All of our jaws dropped when the svelte Grace Kelly look-a-like we…

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Mad Men: A Little Kiss

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The “Mad Men” that entered our homes on Sunday night was not the “Mad Men” that we have grown accustomed to for the past four seasons. The moods and energies of the worlds between and beyond the glass doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce have shifted in a way that history has told us was inevitable.

HOWARD MEGDAL: How wonderful to spend two hours luxuriating in Mad Men world once again-though the commercial breaks every ten minutes felt excessive (Ironic complaint given the show’s subject, I suppose). That alone was enough for me, but a number of plot points were set into motion, with new conflicts and consequences stemming from established characters promising a tremendous fifth season. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 12 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Watching John Slattery’s brilliant direction of Episode 12 of “Mad Men”‘s Season 4 left me in a strange state of shock in preparation for next week’s finale. With each little detail of this season popcorning itself briefly into our consciousness before receding back into the mayhem, we as the audience are reminded of all that happened in the past 12 episodes of “Mad Men.” Sally was seeing that child psychiatrist. Glen had made Sally that little lanyard that she kept under her pillow. Don Draper was keeping a journal. Midge existed once. The emotional overload of Betty’s bitchiness and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s desperation was enough to leave you numb from the punch, and almost begging for the next swing. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 10 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: I left this week’s episode of “Mad Men” feeling uneasy. The last shot of Don Draper’s secretary, Meagan, applying her lipstick as Draper watches with that infamous look made me cringe. A few shots before, I was reveling in the idea of Draper and Faye Miller being an item. She’s a head strong woman with the perfect garnishes of confidence, class, and care that Draper seems to need right now. They seem to have an adult chemistry to their discourse that contrasts beautifully with Draper’s previous marriage to Betty’s Coca-Cola grin. Episode 10 of Season 4′s “Mad Men” seemed to focus on the couples: Don and Faye, Joan and Roger, Lane and Toni, even Pete and Trudy who emerges so disgustingly in a maternity outfit that bares frightening resemblance to a pimple.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I want the same things for the characters in Mad Men that Sonia does, but I see their reactions quite differently.

Is Don ready to move on from Faye? Well, we have a ton of evidence suggesting that he is ready to let her in like no one before-with the identity information only a small part of that (witness the afternoon of the panic attack, for instance). And the evidence against is that he watched Meagan put on lipstick. Well, my goodness, who wouldn’t? The whole office has noticed her, but Don’s been too wrapped up in solving his own spiral to do so. I took that last moment as Don’s ability to notice beauty again, nothing more. Sonia and my wife both disagree. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 8 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The robust sensuality of Joan Harris stands beside the precisely whittled creation that is Peggy Olson in an elevator. Harris’s shoulders stand firm and broad and commanding as they have throughout “Mad Men”‘s reign, shading the words-on-the-tip-of-her-tongue eagerness of Olson. These women don’t fall into the woodwork of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, nor do they lack impact as they stare seductively from the cover of this week’s “Rolling Stone.” Yet what halted me mid-enjoyment of the Betty/Don drama and Draper’s sexy film noir monotone voiceovers was this cramped, complex scene in the elevator of Season 4′s episode 8, between two women in a cramped, complex society.

HOWARD MEGDAL: We see Don Draper ready to assert control over his own life- something missing from the season up to this point, but clearly an aspect of his personality we know is in the arsenal (see Draper life, from Korea until this season).

Naturally, his first attempt at swimming off the last few years leads to a coughing fit- his turnaround can’t happen simply because he decides to begin. But the swimming, the New York Athletic Club, the sunglasses and the Rolling Stones in the background- this is Draper grabbing onto 1965, rather than living in 1956 regardless of time moving forward. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 1 In Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The first image we see of Mad Men Season 4 Episode 1 is an unsettling close-up of the contorted, yet deliberately handsome face of Don Draper we know and love (or hate). I don’t know about you, but at the end of Season 3 I could not get the image of his now ex-wife, Betty, sitting confidently on a plane with her baby in her arms like a doe caught in the small overhead-lights on the airplane. I thought of her when Don’s prominent jawline popped onto my screen with the faceless voice of the ad agent asking “Who is Don Draper?” This question is clearly plaguing the mind of not only this walk-on agent, but also Draper himself, as Season 4 kicks off with some noticeable changes in the Draper’s fractured household and the infant corporation of Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I want to focus on a motif that appears to be new to the show in Season 4: Don Draper adapting. Continue reading

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Texting While Driving vs. Drinking While Driving

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: There are still some things you have to wait for, and texting, if you’re driving, is one of them. Just like you have to wait until you get out of the tub to use your hair dryer.

HOWARD MEGDAL: So the technology is here to combine a breathalyzer with a camera, creating a car that cannot be driven drunk. How is it possible that no one is pushing for this to be standard equipment on every car sold in the United States? Continue reading

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