Tag Archives: Pete Campbell

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: 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: 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: Signal 30

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: A meditation on marriage, fidelity, and personal loyalties, “Mad Men”’s episode 5 of season 5 stirred our minds with some disturbing dialogue, an office fist fight, and Don Draper in a plaid sport jacket (that he could not have looked more uncomfortable in if he had tried). This week’s episode was full of moments that felt tightened and tense, between the country dinner party with Trudy and Pete’s friction and Lane Pryce’s search for a solid identity being a British immigrant enthralled by Americanism to the degree that he is allowed.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I think this might have been the strongest episode of the season to date. No argument with anything Sonia said, but I’d like to highlight a few other points of note. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 9 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: In typical “The Trouble With Harry” fashion, Ms. Blankenship’s body is awkwardly muscled around, shifted, thrown, slammed and ultimately wheeled into the great beyond. When Don Draper mutters “poor thing” under his breath as he sees his deceased secretary face down on her desk, I misinterpreted one of the secretary’s weepings for giggles, as they happened to mirror mine. The dark humor of this event was highly welcome after the dark, deeply depressing thematic happenings of Season 4′s episodes of “Mad Men.” Episode 9, I feel, incorporated many different possible moods and tones into 47 minutes: shock, fear, excitement, glee, disturbance, and total catharsis as Joan Harris, in that infamous red dress, in a moment of passion, gives herself to Roger Sterling behind a city stoop. In one of my favorite episodes of this season thus far, my heart broke for almost everyone between the laughter and the tears.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I am in agreement with Sonia on the overall quality of (and notably, the range of emotional notes hit within) the episode, but wish to focus on a few other aspects of this week’s show. Namely: Peggy Olson’s political awakening. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 4 In Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: And we’re back to the brilliant chaos of Manhattan, with the business-as-usual bustle and telephones ringing off of their hooks around the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The familiar chimes of negotiations with Lucky Strike twinkle and settle within the razor-sharp banter between Don Draper and Roger Sterling. I personally don’t need a hot apple pie baking on the windowsill to feel home again; the first five minutes of Season 4′s Episode 4 of “Mad Men” were able to settle me back among the chatter of secretaries after last week’s West Coast drama. But look at all that has changed! Trudy is pregnant! Peggy is canoodling with lesbians and kissing bohemians in closets! Women are crying about their self-image in the office! Kenny’s getting married! There’s a new secretary! Oh, and Don Draper is still as miserable as ever.

HOWARD MEGDAL: What has to be considered the best episode of the season so far paced itself perfectly, even by Mad Men standards. One need only notice that the director was John Slattery to know the reason why. 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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