Tag Archives: Roger Sterling

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: 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

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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: 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 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 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: 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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