Tag Archives: Jon Hamm

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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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 5 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: And Larry David is New York bound! The rumors are true, Wikipedia didn’t lie (for once), and the cast of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is heading East for Season 8! I couldn’t be happier to see Larry with his notorious Pinkberry tagging along with Jeff and Susie as they put their daughter, Sammy, in a high school for the arts. The unbridled optimism of not only Jeff and Susie for Sammy’s theatrical career, but also of Larry riding shotgun to their trip looking for a change in scenery is a beautiful image of the blind leading the blind. Getting back to “Seinfeld” terrain might be good for Larry to get his bearings again after Cheryl. He certainly seems like he belongs in New York more than he ever did in LA. Will this feel natural? Will it be a huge mistake?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I, for one, welcome the merger of Mad Men and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I predict future episodes where Larry chides Bert Cooper for not wearing shoes, Betty Draper for driving on his lawn and Rachel Menken for charging too much at her department store. (Yes, I’ve been watching Season One again.) Continue reading

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SNL in Review: Jon Hamm/Rihanna

ZOË RICE: “Biden time” was pretty mediocre. I like Sudeikis’s impression, but I can’t say there was anything memorable about this episode’s opener.

Love the Biden impression. Better save it for when you have some material, SNL. Wouldn’t think you’d have to wait too long. 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: Episode 6 in Review

SONIA BRAND-F When a glistening Don Draper decided to follow Roger Sterling in taking a goofy victory lap around the conference table lined with Life clientele, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Is Draper’s maddeningly depressing lifestyle and outlook finally going to be flipped around by his newly won Cleo award? Well, no, not really, but it was nice seeing Draper smiling again for the first half of the episode. Episode 6 of “Mad Men”‘s Season 4 seemed to be, like Episode 2 in a way, dominated by smaller subplots that acted as vignettes to the ever-changing tone of the episode. Starting Draper high and dropping him low, only to be shot back up again in the elevator in his final flashback depicted the rise and fall of this highly complex character who finally emerged during this episode in a showcase of all sides of the Don Draper that we have come to know.

HOWARD MEGDAL: To me, the essence of this episode was gratitude. More specifically, how often it is misplaced, and in reality, success is a combination of fortuitous circumstances and one’s own cunning. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week Five in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Well, at least Betty’s back in all of her frustration tucked deep beneath the pins in her perfectly styled hair. Errant ringing telephones begin yet another episode of “Mad Men”‘s Season 4 and the chaos continues strolling expectantly through its fifth episode, spinning a cane and stopping every so often to light up a Lucky Strike. Episode 5 of this season did not leave me floored and emotionally linked with with the characters I care about so deeply. It was almost as if someone had taken the perfectly slick hair of the anonymous man in the opening titles and messed it up, stripped him naked, and shoved him back into his sofa with his cigarette. And the audience has the opportunity to be shocked, over and over again, slapped in the face by Betty Francis and furrowing one’s brow at an off-color insult, and we’re going to take that opportunity whether we like it or not.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Clearly, this episode declared that, whatever Don Draper’s faults and weaknesses are, 1965 was filled with people who had far more pronounced versions of all of them. Once again, Don has been set up as a relative hero. Like Sonia, I thought the seams were showing a bit in this episode- very unlike Mad Men generally. 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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SNL: Jon Hamm/Michael Bublé

ZOË RICE: I had been looking forward to what SNL would do with the State of the Union! Every time I see Biden and Pelosi behind the President, I immediately think of Sudeikis and Wiig, and here yet again they’re just funny there in the background, gesticulating. I thought it was a solid open, with good use of senator reaction shots to enhance the laughs. Of course the healthcare bit at the end was kind of depressing, but the Martha Coakley jokes and the gags about how the Bushes left the White House were chucklers.
STEVE MURPHY: I agree with Zoe, this was a “chuckler.” A couple little jokes, a couple funny reaction shots… but nothing got knocked out of the park in this sketch. I was ready for it to end long before it did.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Awfully scattershot. When Al Franken wrote SNL political sketches, they had clear targets and an underlying understanding of political realities. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to shake my fist at some children on my front lawn. Continue reading

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Sexual Harassment Training

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: For whatever reason, I’ve been made to endure a fair amount of sexual harassment in my lifetime. And I could’ve boo-hooed about it, or contacted human resources, or told my mom, or something. But I didn’t, because, if not for all of this sexual harassment, I wouldn’t have nearly as many funny stories to share. Besides, it’s probably my own fault anyway, because I kind of look like I’d put out (or so they tell me).

TED BERG: Look: Sexual harassment in the workplace is probably a pretty terrible thing, and it’s not something I’m aiming to excuse.

But sexual harassment training in the workplace is a hilarious and unintentionally awesome thing, not to mention a counterproductive one.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Nothing in any of my workplaces has ever made me feel as uncomfortable as sexual harassment training. I think I might sue it for damages. Continue reading

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