Archive for April, 2011

The West Wing – Pilot

After a long test in Mass Media class, we are required to stay for a film. I never enjoy this stuff and today we watched the pilot episode of The West Wing. I always heard of this show but never seen it and I was a little interested to see what is was all about. I knew the show had to do with politics and the president so how bad can it be.

The series bean with the President of the US in a bike accident that everyone in the White House Staff is talking about. Just a little sidenote, I loved how they mentioned Muammar Gaddafi in the show, how ironic! We meet Sam Seaborn, Deputy Communications Director, who spends the previous night with a prostitute. Prior to this he had no idea and once he finds out it is pretty funny. A  group of people come to speak to the Chief of Staff and others and they seem to be disagreeing with something. This is where I started to get confused and I lost a lot of interest because it seems like there is too much going on to follow.

This debate gets heated until the President comes in (played by Martin Sheen) and explains to them how he got into the bike accident. When he walks in everyone’s face got lit up and he was just awesome. He told off the people debating with the Staff and banned them from the White House. He totally told them off and it left me smiling.

With all the talk happening with the President, the press was all over the Staff. They were saying that the White House was not focused and it is leaving everyone on edge. There also was an angle with one of the staff members that it was there last day at the White House. I didn’t understand why he was going to be terminated, but the president said he can stay.

I loved the authenticity of the show and how real they portrayed the White House and how it is run. I came to the conclusion that the show is going to be about the Staff of the White House. I think it is a really cool concept, but I’m not sure if it caters to my liking. I will definitely give the show another shot and see what else it brings.

Advertisements

Mad Men – Ep. 9 – Shoot

Betty is the center of this episode and there is tons of character development for her. Betty mentioned to Don she was a model more than a few times and when Don runs into Jim Hobart, an executive at another ad agency, he offers Betty a modeling job. She is ecstatic, however Don thinks otherwise. Gender roles comes into play here. He thinks it’s just to court him to work for them. Betty normally just a housewife would love to finally get out of her element because she is limited and trapped all day at house, while the men obviously work and go out more often. Betty is telling Dr. Wayne about it and said she feels old that she now married. I think Betty also liked the attention given to her by Hobart because she is almost unappreciated in the show. Don can’t say no to her now.

Don knows that the modeling will eventually lead to her failure and Betty is unaware of this. Don is looking out for her, but he won’t tell her he is getting gifts from Jim at the office. I liked how Don isn’t “ruining her moment” because she knows how he feels, but he also sees how happy she is. If Don rejects an offer from Hobart, they are definitely cutting ties with her as well.

Betty’s next day at shooting, the director speaks with her at the end telling her that they are “moving international.” This destroys Betty and you can see how much she cared about this. The line that the director said that really got to me was, “this has nothing to do with you.” That is true, it all has to do with Don. Don is not interested in the agency, the agency is not interested in Betty. It’s a shame because we really got to see Betty in a different light, a different type of happiness and that is all going away.

That night when Don gets home she lies to him that she is just not interested in modeling anymore. He senses something is wrong, but he is saying all of the rights things to her to make her happy. Don gets an A today for being a great husband. I don’t like seeing Don cheat on his wife and unfortunately it will eventually catch up to him, but it was nice to see him at home with her for a full episode.

What I loved about this episode was the final scenes. Don goes to work like he normally does and Betty is shown with the kids, doing laundry and other housewife chores. However, she seems happier than she was and it seems like she has come to terms with her life. Betty than goes to the yard and starts shooting at stray birds in front of her neighbor that yelled at her children. Really great scene, showing a different side of her, or even a women. She is taking control of her life and that is what the scene is portraying. I think Betty is really coming into her own and becoming a really enjoyable character. Who knows what she will do next?!

I am rating this episode a 5/5. I am in a good mood today because the weekend is upon us. I am watching this episode on my computer in the morning; a really relaxing day. I also loved the fight between Pete and Ken after Ken made a few remarks about Peggy. It was nice seeing Pete stand up for her, and Ken deserved that sucker punch.  The greatest part was Roger and Don, careless of what was going on, walking out of the office without flinching. Betty was shown in a few different ways. One as a housewife of course, then being active as a model and that last scene with the gun. It shows the lives of women in the 60’s but not only with Betty, but with Peggy and her struggles at work. I liked seeing Betty’s development and who knows what she will do next!

Mad Men – Ep. 8 – The Hobo Code

Woah. This episode kicks off different from most. Peggy’s ad for the lipstick company is successful. She and Pete both happen to be in the office early and unfortunately they have sex in the office. Pete obviously is having problems with his wife, so what’s wrong with turning to a co-worker to have sex? And there is certainly more room for affairs in this show. The irony of Peggy judging Don with his affairs with Midge, now she off to doing her own little things. I am honestly not into the whole Peggy and Pete thing. Not a fan at all, and did not enjoy that scene.

Let’s get to Sal first. He is very feminine and I have thought this since I was first introduced to the character. He always makes gay remarks, anybody could have caught this. He actually reminds me of a co-worker I have and it is shocking how similar they look. He goes out with one of the lipstick executives and seems quite nervous. He obviously is hiding his sexuality and is nervous to come out. I’m sure Dick, I mean Don feels the same way. Sal does whatever he can to keep his identity as a straight man like his “appearances.” He seems conflicted on how “out” he wants to be. There is a lot of deception in this show with all the affairs and the living in the shadow or with a different name. The 60’s were badass.

The flashbacks are back and who doesn’t love flashbacks? Especially with Don’s secretive past, this is really interesting. In this flashback of Don as a kid he is on his family’s farm when a homeless man asking little Don for some money and food. If that was me I would mortified. As a young kid I wouldn’t know what to say, and this is where we get the name of the episode, “The Hobo Code.” The homeless man takes out some chalk and draws out some codes and explains that this is how hobos communicate with one another. This is very creepy and unpredictable, it is like I’m watching another show. One of the symbols means “a dishonest man lives here.” When little Don gets home, he sees the exact same symbol on the fence in his house. Right now, I don’t know what to think of this, but Don is unhappy seeing the symbol by his home and does not want to be like his father who sent the hobo away.

Don didn’t have a good relationship with his parents and it is revealed that someone told Don to think of himself as a whore’s son. The hobo became friendly with Don and told him he can be anyone he wants to be and with that he probably came up with his fake life he is living now. Don goes to Midge and hangs with her friends there and smokes pot with them. This shows how he feels when he is around her. He would never do that with his friends or at work, but with Midge he is willing to do anything, he is free, just like what the hobo told him.

I am giving this episode a 5/5. Absolutely awesome. I loved the hobo flashbacks and the interactions and dialogue between him and Don. I cannot stop watching this show and I am really enjoying it. There’s a reason why Mad Men has won so many awards and the accuracy of the show needs to be one of the main reasons. I feel like I am living in the 60’s and I want to be there now! Back to reality. Till next time…

Mad Men – Ep. 7 – Red in the Face

I am watching this episode at midnight. I am sleepy, but glad I was able to finish this one off. It kicks off with Don on the phone with Betty’s psychologist Dr. Wayne. The Dr. is saying that Betty has a lot of childish emotions in her. I like how Don is monitoring this situation. He does care about his wife more than some would think. Betty, Don, Sterling, and Pete all deal with edgy situations in this episode.

One night Roger joins Betty and Don for dinner. Betty didn’t love the idea at first but agreed to it anyway. I felt bad for her once they were eating because she didn’t eat the meat. She only had enough food for Don and herself and now she had to eat salad. After dinner, Don was was getting some more alcohol when Roger started to hit on Betty. Not cool. I did not like when Roger did this regardless if he was drunk or not. This is another theme of how men think they are superior to women then. Roger thinks he can go up to any girl, even Don’s wife and get away with it. Don finds out and is irate. He lets Betty knows how he felt disrespected in his own home, but to Sterling he kept quiet. This causes some problems in Don’s relationship with Betty and it hurts me because they are a pretty cute couple when they are happy.

Pete got a wedding gift from his wife’s aunt. He brought it to return and exchanged it for a wooden rifle. His wife was extremely upset after finding out what he did. Honestly, it was an ugly chip-n-dip. He got heat at work when he brought it so buying the rifle gave him some more confidence while returning that day. I feel like Pete is never comfortable and it kind of irks me, but this episode he was pretty normal. He thought he was doing something good by returning and could not get a refund. They only accepted for an exchange. He lost a lot of that confidence when he tried to talk his way to getting the refund but the girl wasn’t buying that.

My favorite part of the episode is when Betty runs into Helen at the supermarket one day. This was really awkward. We haven’t seen Helen since the episode with her son Glen. Helen brought up what happened with him and Betty tried to deny it. Then Betty slapped Helen in the face. Awesome. I actually really like Betty. She finally showed some emotion. Usually she would be really easygoing, quiet and put together, but when she slapped Helen she got some more points with me.

At the end of the episode, Roger, Don, and Cooper have a meeting with the Nixon staff. Don plays a great move on Roger. I look at it like some type of payback. Don paid off the elevator attendant to place an “out-of-order” sign forcing them to walk up 23 flights of stairs after a heavy lunch including alcohol of course. Once they got upstairs Roger threw up in front of the Nixon staff. A truly embarrassing scene for Roger and Don laughing about it was awesome. It shows his sense of humor and it was so conniving.

The drinking and smoking in this episode did its job. It paints a perfect picture of how society was like in the 60s and I wish it was that easy today to just have a glass of scotch in work. I liked how both Pete and his wife and Don and Betty were having relationships problems. I rate this episode a 4/5. It was a step up from the last episode and the acting and writing was terrific. The show does not need special effects or big production to be successful and that’s what I love about Mad Men.

Mad Men – Ep. 6 – Babylon

From the name of this episode I knew I would like it. It starts off with Don making breakfast for Betty on Mother’s Day and I’m loving how good he is being to her lately, but I don’t know how long that will last. As he is walking up the stairs he falls and hits the ground. When he falls there was a flashback from when he was a kid. This is something I didn’t really expect, but absolutely loved it. It immediately reminded me of “Lost” because that was a big part of their episodes. It portrays Don as a kid during the birth of his little brother Adam. I knew it wasn’t the last of him and it shows how much of it is still on his mind. That night, Don and Betty are very intimate in their bedroom and she tells him how she loves him very much and I can’t help but to just feel sorry for her because he is playing her out. Regardless of how awesome it is, you still feel bad.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Don and Roger have a meeting with Israelis to try to expand tourism. Don is handed the book titled Exodus and this is where we get our episode title. Babylon, modern-day Iraq is where the Jews were exiled after the destruction of the first temple and in the Old Testament, Exodus writes about the Jews leaving exile. You can tell Don is trying his best to help them, but also having a hard time figuring out how to fulfill their needs.

The shocker of the episode has to be Joan and Roger having an affair. Definitely a WTF moment for me, especially when we meet Roger’s wife and daughter this episode. Don is obviously the first person we think of when we see an affair on the show but it is different with Roger. He explains to Joan how he was thinking about getting a divorce. Don at least loves his wife and you see that. I had a feeling Joan was up to something with someone at Sterling Cooper because she seemed so calm when Peggy told her about Don.

My favorite scene is when all the ad men are in the room with the one way window. The women from the company are on the other side thinking its a mirror, but they can all see and its great. The men are just relaxing with some drinks watching the show. It is almost disrespectful to women, however they were not aware, and it was the 60’s. The women were brainstorming for a lipstick company and Peggy came up with an idea for it and it was nice to see her get involved a little more in the show. Joan definitely knew about the men looking at the mirror and by her body language and the way she looked into the mirror it was obvious. Then, she bent down to give the men some action. Roger seemed upset because he is very overprotective of her and I think she did it to make him jealous.

I thought it was a solid episode. Good, not great so I am giving this the rating of a 3.5/5. It is my lowest rating yet, but expecting a lot more to come.

 

Mad Men – Ep. 5 – 5G

I am watching this episode on my iPhone 4 right now. Netflix really needs to get on the Mad Men program. While my mind is wandering, in this episode Don receives an award. I must add how much I enjoy this character. He is so good at what he does and I’m not only talking about work. I liked seeing Don’s soft side with Betty. Even though he cheats on her and is deceiving, Don still loves her and its satisfying to know that.

A man shows up to Sterling Cooper the next day and it happens to be Don” brother Adam. This reminded me of the movie “There Will Be Blood” when Daniel Plainview’s brother just shows up one day. Back on the show, Adam is calling Don by the name of Dick. Don isn’t too pleased to see his brother and I feel terrible. Imagine not seeing your brother for years and then he shuts you down? We know that Don is quiet about his past but come on.

You can tell while watching this episode how much Don is affected by his brother. Don created this new life and was successful by himself and now whatever he was ashamed about or did not want to remember is coming back to haunt him. At the end Don goes to Adam’s apartment and gives him money, however tells him this is goodbye. When Don showed up to the apartment you can tell by Adam’s face how excited he was to see him. All in all it was nice what Don did and I respect his motives.

Back to Don and his deceptions, Peggy overhears him on the phone with his mistress Midge seemed pretty intense. One of his biggest secrets is now known by his secretary. Then, Peggy tells Joan who loves gossip what happened. Not a smart move by Peggy in my opinion. I would have kept that information to myself because Don will obviously find out sometime soon.

Back at the office, Ken is having his short story published in “The Atlantic,” a respected magazine that drives Pete to become jealous. Pete is that character I just don’t like and this is a reason why. Pete now urges his wife to help him publish a story of his own and it involves her meeting with her ex boyfriend. Pete knows she is uncomfortable with this and the fact that he doesn’t care shows how desperate he is. Bottom line, Pete is immature and an attention whore.

I am rating this episode a 4.5/5 because I thought there were many stories opened in this episode that will expand in the season like Don and his brother, Adam and especially Peggy finding out about Don’s affair. Things are about to get interesting…