Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indie Author's Review of Mad Men Final Season: Episode 3

Review of Mad Men Episode 3 
Do not read on if you haven't watched the most recent episode of Mad Men, because there's going to be some spoilers.

If you're wondering why I'm reviewing a TV show on my author blog it's because I love TV.  I love to read but I also love to see what writers can do especially when their vision is acted out and all comes to life in our living rooms rather than in our minds.  Now with that out of the way I'm going to dive right into Sunday's episode.

A lot of folks are wondering why Betty Francis is still on the show after she and Don divorced years ago, and while the past few seasons have sometimes struggled with what to do with her (her making goulash in a dilapidated apartment building) but sometimes had epic wins (her & Don having sex at summer camp) with her appearances I have to say last night's deal served as a a sort of meter stick for me.  While Peggy is acting unrecognizable in her melancholy induced madness and Meagan has become, in Don's words, "a lunatic" it was nice to see a familiar female character that was exactly who she's always been no matter how despicable, she was one hundred percent Betts.

Now Megan...her agent calls Don and asks him to sort her out since apparently she's stalking directors in attempts to get a job.  Don is shocked but I have to say that this made sense to me.  Here's Megan who has never failed.  As a secretary she was awesome I mean she got an invite to Disneyland and a marriage proposal in a matter of months.  As a copywriter she got a CLIO, in less than a year, and as an actress she was the lead on a hit soap.  So yes now that she's discovering that in CA she has to work for something she's spinning out, which was reaffiremd with that weird convo with Don that led to her kicking him out.  Do I think she overreacted to news of Don being on leave?  Yes and no.  I mean I can see why she's so angry, he was lying to her, not so much about being on leave but by not confessing that he has no intentions of moving to Hollywood.

This episode was more about Don and with his wife furious with him he finally got the kick in the pants he needed to go demand for his job back.  I loved he and Roger arguing, I had missed that, and after making Don wait all morning and part of the afternoon Roger called the meeting (where he fought for Don) that Don had been waiting for and with some embarrassing conditions outlined, Don accepts with a chipper, 'okay,' then Jimi Hendrix is playing.  By far one of my favorite endings to a MM episode because I just could not believe it.  While Joan was reading off the conditions; no drinking, no going off script, having to answer to Lou, I was yelling at my TV, "get up and walk out,  you don't need this."  But what would Don do?  He really didn't want to work anywhere else, afterall he founded this firm.  And we've seen Don merge a firm, we've seen him start his own firm and then merge again, but we've never seen him be a type of underling with rules to follow.  Let's see how this plays out.

Final thoughts:

*How awkward/sad was that interaction with Joan when Don returned?
*I felt the anxiety/nervousness that Don felt as he looked at his watch.
*The knock on the hotel room door, I totally thought it was going to be the women from the bar not Roger in his robe-you got me
*Peggy? Really?  You're still blaming Don for Ted leaving??? Get a clue.
*Poor Bobby-"I wish it were yesterday."  Betty is a horrible mother and I love to watch it if only to feel better about my own parenting skills, she doesn't set the bar too high lol

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Mad Woman's Review of Episode 2 of the Final Season of Mad Men

Don't read on if you haven't watched this week's episode of Mad Men

Last night was Valentines Day on Mad Men, and February 14th had plenty of love, just as long as you knew where to look, which unfortunately Peggy did not but more on that later.

The episode began with Don Draper in bed, his alarm clock goes off at 7:30 and he sleeps in until past noon.  The next scene is him tidying up his apartment, he's dressed and looks like he's ready to go out but after a knock at the door we learn that he was preparing for what we can assume is his regular meeting with Dawn, his SC&P secretary.  She gives him some facts about what's going on at the firm, and as a sweet gesture brought him Sweet'n Low and Coffee-mate.  Don tries to get her to stay multiple times before paying her, to which she, always the professional, tries to deny but Don insists.  It's a sad scene that gives us insight into just how lost Don Draper is.  The highlight of his entire day, the reason why he got out of bed, was to meet with his secretary who can provide breadcrumbs into the ad agency which once had his name on the door.  It's a pathetic attempt to be part of the world where he was seen as a hero but being on a forced leave with no given return date, what is he supposed to do?

The Flower Dabacal: Stan, Ginsburg and Peggy are seen in the elevator, where Peggy is being her bossy self, (was it me or did Peggy just get under your skin the entire episode starting with this scene??) is trying to get Stan to work all night.  Eventually it is revealed to Peggy that it's Valentine's Day and her face falls, but after walking into work Peggy finds a bouquet on Shirley's desk to which she believes are hers and takes to her office. When Shirley enters Peggy's office and sees her roses on her bosses desk, she tries in vain to set Peggy straight, but Peggy is so in her own head that she cuts Shirley off while convincing herself that the flowers are from Ted.  After calling his office and leaving a convoluted message with Ted's secretary which is supposed to read as "back off I don't want to be with you anymore" instead just has Ted worrying that they've lost a client.  Then after laying on her couch most of the day Peggy re-gifts the ornate bouquet to an elated Shirley, who had been advised by Dawn to let it go.  This seems like all is right with the world until Peggy then tries to throw the flowers away forcing Shirley to explain the true origin of the roses.  An embarrassed Peggy then screams at Shirley telling her that she had plenty of time to rectify Peggy's error and that it would have been a great gift for her to not say anything.  This is Peggy at her worst; wrong and loud about being wrong. And then just plain ugly to someone that moments before she was on her pulpit about how she should have bought Shirley flowers "out of respect." 

A Funeral: Yay, we got to see Sally Draper!  And she is gorgeous and actually kind.  Whilst the rest of her boarding school 'friends' are using the funeral of their suite mates mother to go shopping in the city, Sally seems to be truly upset about the loss and once in the city she decides to go see her Dad. (Was it me or was the whole lost purse scenario just a way for her to get away from her frenemies?) Only thing is, she shows up at the firm that her dad was ousted from.  After a brief interaction with Don's replacement, the ever more despicable Lou Avery, and a fruitless attempt to speak with Joan she heads to Don's penthouse where she waits for him to arrive.  After Don greets Sally there's a phone call from a worried Dawn who explains that Sally stopped by the office and spoke to Lou but she's not sure what Sally knows and that he should be on the lookout because Sally may be on her way over.  Don insists on driving Sally back to school where the best moment of the episode takes place.  After some heated and horrible comments flung at each other (Don even stoops as low as to compare Sally to Betty-their mutual enemy), Sally cuts through to her Dad by saying, "Do you know how hard it was for me to go to your apartment?"  Sally then explains how she's terrified of running into 'that woman' being trapped on the elevator with her.  Being forced to smell her hairspray and not throw up (great acting on Kiernan Shipka's part, I mean truly bravo!) this resonates with Don, who pulls into a diner and him and his daughter have a heart to heart where he confides in Sally the real reason he hasn't told anyone about his suspension; because he's ashamed.  Understanding that this a real moment with her father, Sally asks him if he stills loves Megan?  And he says "of course he does" to which Sally retorts, "Why don't you just tell her you don't want to move to California?"
Yes why indeed?  Once they arrive at Sally's school, Sally tells Don, "Happy Valentines Day, I love you."  Which totally discombobulates Don and you can see it on his face, as he watches his little girl walk through the door. 

Joan Has Finally Moved on Up: The two doors to her office are being constantly being utilized throughout this episode with whiny SC&P employees wanting their secretaries moved around.  (Yes you guessed it, Peggy wants Shirley moved because of her own error, Lou wants Dawn moved because Sally, or as he puts it something that is taking up too much of his time, came to the office. After Joan moved Dawn to reception, Bert Cooper "requests" that Joan rethink her rearrangement because people can see Dawn from the elevator (jeezzz).  So Joan is quite fed up by the time Cutler shows up to talk Avon and what has been obvious to us for at least one season is made apparent to him; Joan has two jobs.  He explains there's an office for an "account man" upstairs if she wants it.  So finally Joan is where she should be, but of course, the always selfish Roger tries to crap on her parade when he sees Joan moving her things.  Because it's always the Roger show and he's still bent out of shape about losing to Cutler earlier.

Things of Note:
-Hilarious when the CA and NY offices are having a conference call, "WE CAN HEAR YOU."  yells an angry Pete, while Ted holds up a note that says, "Stay out of it." That was classic.

-There he is, there's the Pete we're used to seeing, a whiny Pete Campbell.  I loved it when Roger hung up on him mid-rant and Pete's secretary was the one that pointed out that the call had been dropped.

-Ted saying that they still didn't mention which one of Peggy's clients they had lost.  

-Shirley and Dawn's inside joke about how everyone mixes them up

-Dawn trying to prepare her airhead replacement before just saying that she'll take all of Mr. Draper's calls at reception.

-DAWN BECOMING HEAD OF PERSONNEL!  Yay! 

-Don taking a lunch to, if nothing else, network and hear what's being said about him around town.  Smart but should he just lock in a new job?  Should he at least entertain the idea of moving to California with his wife? 

-How weird was that elevator scene with Sterling and Cutler, was that an open threat?  And do you think that Roger and Don will open up their own firm, again?  Roger is so obviously misses Don, we see it throughout this episode as he tries to joke with Lou, who isn't having it, down to the disagreement with Cutler during the conference call.  And it seems he may be the only one that does.  Cutler referred to Don as, "Don who?  You mean our collective ex-wife who still receives alimony?"  Ouch. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trust your instincts. And 9 Other Lessons That Will Help You Excel In Your 20's

Whenever someone asks me what advice I would give to new authors, it's always the same, be true to you.  And that is something that I encounter with so many people, they don't trust their instincts.  They have a life plan and if anything deviates from that, they panic, freak out and think that they have failed.
Life isn't really about anything else to me except trying new things, challenging myself and learning.  Aren't failures just a way of learning?  I've failed a lot in my life and it all taught me to be more open because if you make a mistake there is always another opportunity.  There is always time to figure things out.

I truly agree with John Lennon when he said, 'Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.'  Life is a marathon not a sprint and it's meant to be enjoyed not feared or agonized over.  
I recently read an article by Mark Manson titled 10 Lessons That Will Help You Excel In Your 30s where he asked his readers age 37 and older what advice they would give their 30-year-old selves.  The article was great and it inspired me to write something similar -10 Lesson That Will Help You Excel In Your 20's basically what would I tell a nineteen year old me? #TBT

1.  Be prepared to let things go.  Chances are things aren't going to turn out the way you planned 90% of the time, unforeseen circumstances-good or bad are going to occur and you can't prepare for them you can only handle them with grace, and accept them as a part of life.  Things always get better.  Which leads me to number 2 on this list.

2.  Say yes.  When I was younger if things didn't fit into my idea of what my life should/would be, I wouldn't do it.  I would pass up opportunities that weren't going to look good on my resume.  Now I say yes to everything, and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn't meant to be but at least it wasn't because I turned it down.  You never know who you may meet or what you may stumble upon when you try something new and out of your comfort zone.

3. Be open.  This goes along with number 2.  Change is the one constant thing in life, so let go of the past, and quit trying to anticipate the future and just live in the present and be open to whatever may happen.

4.  Think about financial investments.  When you're young you are less likely to have huge financial obligations so start planning for the day when you will.  You probably will want to buy a car or house someday-so research now what you need to do to be able to do that.  I think buying a house when you’re young is smart because by the time your kids enter college and you're thinking of retiring, your house will be paid off.  As long as you can make a monthly payment and don't have any crazy credit issues why not take the plunge in your twenties instead of waiting until your late 30's?

5.  Embrace who you are.  A big theme of my first book, Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers is about discovering who you are and loving it.  You're now in your twenties, probably have some schooling under your belt, why are you still trying to 'fit in?' Be who you are, let your freak flag fly and don't apologize for it.  

6.  Trust your instincts.  You have intuition, or gut instincts and they are always right.  If something feels 
off or creepy then probably is.  Why not believe your body's physical reaction?  Who is more credible to tell you what is right for yourself, then you?

7.  Stop making excuses.  In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘If someone shows you who they are, believe them.’  If you're in a relationship, romantic or otherwise and someone is repeatedly horrible to you, trust that is how they will always be and this is toxic and you should break free, no more making excuses for their behavior.  I held onto too many unhealthy relationship for so many reasons, and I found myself making a lot of excuses for why people treated me poorly, well news flash to past me, they were just horrendous people. Period.  Now my life is filled with positive kind people and it makes my life 100% less stressful.

8. Take care of yourself.  Sure it's fun to party but basic things should be a priority like eating regularly and sleeping enough.  Believe me if you don't have these things mastered by the time you have kids you are in for a world of hurt.  Be sure to always take time for yourself because no one else is going to do it.

9.  Be a good friend.  Treat your friends like you wish your were treated.  Be supportive, listen, and make time for them.  Be sure that you aren't taking them for granted.  One day these friends will be more like your family so be nice to them.

10.  Grow up but remember to embrace your inner kid.  Grow up as in, this is no longer high school, don't gossip, don't tell people what another friend has confided in you, basically be trustworthy.  But most of all growing up doesn’t mean you become boring or what you think an 'adult' should be.  If you love to play video games play on, if you love to fly kites, fly on, if you love to watch Disney movies, watch on, because those things are how you relieve stress they aren't just childish games.  Plus if you ever have kids how fun will it be to share those activities with them?

Hope this wasn't pompous or arrogant, it's just what I wish I could have told myself in the past, could have saved quite a bit on therapy lol  Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Still Love Mad Men: Review of the First Episode of the Final Season


Mad Men Final Season Premiere

I'm a blogger that loves Mad Men and It's the Final freakin Season so yeah I'm gonna blog about every episode because I cannot help it.

The first scene of the final season wasn't Jon Hamm's Don Draper, we don't see him until later into the episode instead the premiere episode begins with Freddy delivering a very eloquent pitch, to Pegs, in her office.  So Yay!  Yay for Freddy and yay for Peggy who is just as surprised as we are about the great idea he just presented to her, but more on that later.  

The episode wastes no time in showing us life at SC&P and things seems pretty much back to business as usual except that EVERYTHING has changed.  Pete Campbell is in L.A. since after last season's Camero crash in the middle of the GM showroom, thanks to Bob Benson taking advantage of the fact that Pete can't drive stick conversely, Bob Benson is in Detroit, can't wait to see more of his sliminess in the upcoming weeks.

And Don's replacement, Lou Avery, seems to be loved by everyone, but Peggy, who is trying to impress her new boss and use that relationship to help curb the loneliness in her personal life.  It seemed to me that after being rejected by Ted, a boss she admired, and having things with Don ended awkwardly/badly after she resigned and then was forced to work with him again after the two firms merged, and now Don being ousted, she's lost.  Toss in the fact that she's now the slum lord of the apartment building her recently ex-boyfriend made her buy and Peggy is having a rough go of it.  She's in a life that gives her all the things she thought she wanted but a woman wasn't supposed to provide for herself, rather a man was supposed to do it and now she's done that but is still longing for a man whether it's to share her bed, marry her, motivate her, inspire her, or just approve of her.  And we see that with the failed interactions with Lou.  I've got news for you Peggy Lou is no Don and he is no Ted, he's just your boss.    

Oh and Ted everyone keeps commenting on how he should be tanned and it sounds like he's hating California, perhaps he misses Peggy or maybe he just feels like a giant jerkface for cheating on his wife because that icy encounter in the break room between him and his former flame did not seem like a man in love.  It was thousands of miles away from their sickeningly sweet relationship from last season.  While Peggy is obviously a lover scorned Ted is just trying to make toast.   

Joanie, Joanie Joanie...crashing dinners is definitely your thing. We saw it last season and it made a comeback Sunday night, and once again attending a dinner that was suppose be cancelled worked in her favor because she went to Saturday school and totally schooled, Wayne Barnes (played by Cougar Town's Dan Byrd) about why Butler Footwear would be insane to try and do all their advertising in-house.  Thus saving a client and reminding herself as well as us viewers that she is much more than a pretty face.  Sidenote: How great was it when she's talking to the professor and he suggests a trade for the information he's providing her and she says, "This is a business school. Doesn't money work here?"  But all the professor wanted was information for his research study?  So happy that Joan is no longer willing to use her body to get ahead at work, and that finally a man wasn't interested in it.  

Onto Pete Campbell. L.A. has him looking tan and wearing a lot of plaid and it seems that he has a new girlfriend/realtor.  I have to say it was a great look on Pete and he and Don's lunch together was rather nice, never thought I'd see those two so civil and dare I say friendly?

Roger Sterling is engaging in orgy's and drugs and it looks like his daughter is about to enter a cult.  That's really all there is to say about that.  They had a weird lunch at the Plaza Hotel Restaurant that involved Bloody Mary's and Roger's daughter Margaret proclaiming that she "simply forgive[s] him."

Now to Don & Megan.  So Don heads to L.A. to see his wife and he looks so out of touch with L.A.  Megan picks him up in a sexy sports car and she looks so California with her mini dress and convertible and Don looks like he always has, the same grey suit with the same hat and he looks out of place, especially next to Megan in her tiny tiny dress and sleek shades.  But then the two kiss and we're reminded what a handsome couple they are; if only looks were enough to make a successful marriage.  As soon as Megan gets out a hello she's apologizing for the fact that they have to have dinner with her agent before they can go home and be alone.  Don says nothing and they go to dinner where Megan's horrendous agent tells her about a big audition she just got.  Don insists they celebrate and then back at Megan's gorgeous apartment, which is basically a one bedroom version of their New York penthouse, (Don always getting her whatever she wants) an actually sober Don tucks in a drunk Megan.   Quick facts: Don's lying to Megan about being employed as he keeps saying he has to get back to work.  And was his sobriety an act for Megan, so she assumes he's not drinking as much???  
Summary of the Drapers: Megan is the same as usual, unapologetic about her acting career and trying to 'play poor' so she fits in with her fellow acting friends.  She even throws a fit when Don brings home a new TV for her as though the sports car and apartment aren't going to give it away.

Finally, the best moment of the episode, remember I talked about Freddy's beautiful pitch that stated the premiere? Well it turns out it was Don, he's pitching ideas via Freddy while he's receiving his severance pay from SC&P. 

The episode ends with a drunk Don, freezing, alone on his balcony...jeeezzzz

So what does all this mean?  How will it unfold?  Tune into AMC Sunday nights to watch Mad Men's final episodes.


Some Thoughts:  
·        Can't wait to see Betty and Sally next week and OMG Neve Campbell is hot and I was kinda disappointed when Don dissed her after their cuddle session on the flight back to NY.
·        Also was I the only one laughing hysterically when eye-patch wearing Ken tried to throw Joan her earring?
·        How much did you love Peggy's exchange with Julio?
·        Stan:  "none of this seems related to coffee"