Tag Archives: Peggy Olson

Mad Men Finale

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The impeccably shot, brilliantly acted, beautifully written Season Five finale of “Mad Men” gave me a sense of extreme melancholy, not only because there will now be a period of mourning and nail-biting until the penultimate season debuts… but this episode felt…well… kind of anti-climactic. The previous two episodes have exploded “Mad Men” fans from Tumblr to Twitter into a frenzy of emotions, commentary, and speculation. This episode did not give me this visceral jolt (no pun intended) of exclamation about the characters, their circumstances, and their trials. It was lovely to look at, interesting to behold, but after a season that has been a gold mine of luminous material and story lines, this finale seemed more like a filler episode than something to whet our appetite. Continue reading

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Mad Men: The Other Woman

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: When my mother read Gwenyth Swain’s “The Road to Seneca Falls” (a children’s chapter book about the women’s suffrage movement) to me as a little girl, the book began with with a detailed account of the unjust, yet normalized opinions of women and their roles in society. A visceral reaction came from my 7-year-old self in response to the tame description of the marginalization of women. I began to scream and cry, my mind whirled, and my mother put the book on the shelf never to be touched again. A similar reaction came over me when watching this episode of “Mad Men.” Though there was no temper tantrum, and I sat through the entire episode, by the end I was shaking. The structure, the men, the women, the pimps, the whores, the actors, the agencies, and The Other Woman all make up the best hour of television that I have ever seen. Continue reading

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Mad Men: At the Codfish Ball

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: “Someday she will spread her little legs and fly away.” Wow, “Mad Men.” As if the show couldn’t get more carnivalesque, the amount that we are allowed to see of male and female sexuality in this episode, in this time period, is brought to the forefront in kaleidoscopic chaos. The women are costumed as wives, mothers, whores, and go-go girls. The men put on their respective uniforms of social acceptability. Yet the tags are switched around, identities are put into question and concern. We can’t believe our ears. We can’t believe our eyes. We can’t believe that’s Peggy in an apron holding a ham. Or can we?

HOWARD MEGDAL: So much to love in this episode once again, as brilliant in emotional interplay and subtle moments as with the visual imagery Sonia broke down.
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Mad Men: Far Away Places

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: This Sunday’s episode of “Mad Men” lived up to its title and certainly took us to some far away places, like the deep subconscious of Roger Sterling, the most unstable anxieties of Don Draper, the biggest resentments held by Megan Draper, and the ever-changing thought processes of Peggy Olson. We tripped out and got cerebral, dropped some jaws, and actually started to like Megan a little bit more. We watched out heros feebly try to negotiate the territory between time, space, and good intentions. With another destructive relationship crossed out, “Mad Men” travels deeper into the knots and snarls that this season, and seasons past, have left to be slowly untangled.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Exactly! Roger and Joan getting out of their entanglements, back-to-back! Guessing it isn’t that simple, but that’s certainly what I thought of as well. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Tea Leaves


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: Season Finale in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: What is one supposed to do when Don Draper proposes to a brunette, his secretary, in bed, in a room that is not his one, on a coast that is not his own? Are we supposed to compare him to Roger Sterling proposing to his twenty year old secretary in Season 3, who was supposed to bring vibrancy at a time when the world around him seemed to embody an emotional wasteland? Are we supposed to feel joy and tear up at Megan’s sweet and genuine reaction? Did we see this coming? The Season 4 finale of “Mad Men” seemed overwhelming with conflicting emotions of disgust and relief, surprise and verification, distrust and acceptance.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I’ve heard plenty of discussion about what the choice of Megan over Faye represents, but not this: the choosing of Don Draper as the identity moving forward over Dick Whitman. And further, this doesn’t represent a backslide from the work Don has done on himself- it represents an embrace of it- a third way, really. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 11 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Don Draper, what did I tell you not to do? Life is complicated enough without you sleeping with your artsy secretary in your office, who assures you she won’t “run out crying the next morning.” Faye Miller gets Draper a meeting with Heinz and asks delicately if he would just sit down with her when Draper finally returns to his apartment, mirroring Jane Sterling’s warmth as Roger comes through the door after visiting Joan Harris. “It’s the end of the world” Stan declares after he kisses Peggy Olson in her office. Lucky Strike, after 25 years, after being the subject of the very first episode of the very first season of “Mad Men” is a lost account. Bedlam erupts in Season 4′s episode 11 from the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and bleeds through the ceilings into the other compartments of its workers’ lives.

HOWARD MEGDAL: All the energy of the episode is Lucky Strike getting away, yes, but the lessons of the episode provide a huge payoff at the funeral of a longtime ad man. 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 7 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: There is a slow, familiar build up as Peggy Olson approaches the mirror before which she bit her lip and held back tears at the dawning of the first season of “Mad Men.” This time, tears well in her eyes and she breaks down, the creases of her face deepening in ultimate frustration. Olson emerges as the caretaker in this episode for two very powerful men who should know better than to start a drunken brawl in a deserted office building. However, her selflessness is called out by Don Draper as opportunistic as apposed to self-sacrificing. Who is this enigmatic Peggy Olson? Where did this chemistry with Draper come from? One can’t help but watch Episode 7 of Season 4′s “Mad Men” and be stunned by its emotional rawness, specifically between the characters of Peggy Olson and Don Draper.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Well, it would appear we know what rock-bottom is in the world of Mad Men: getting beaten in a fight by Duck Phillips.

This was the most emotionally powerful of the Mad Men episodes this season, with further context that isn’t provided as exposition, but in subtle, effective moments between characters. And the singular theme that has threaded the season so far- that Don must adapt to a changing decade- is brought out, in this case, by the fight between Cassius Clay (in this rematch, Muhammad Ali) and Sonny Liston. Continue reading

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