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…

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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…

 

Live – “Century”

When I heard that we have a blog to do on a song I was ecstatic. I love music and was interested to see what I would be writing about. When I found out a classmate is blogging about Arcade Fire it made me anxious because they are one of my favorite bands. I received the email from my TA and my song was Live’s Century. I am not a fan of Live, but I am open to all types of music and I am familiar with the band so I got right to listening. Live is an alternative rock/post-grunge band from Pennsylvania fronted by Ed Kowalczyk. They have been playing since 1988 and gained worldwide success in 1994 with their album Throwing Copper, which my father owns in my house. Following Copper, the band released Secret Samadhi in 1997. It was Live’s third album and debuted number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. The band broke-up in 2009 after lead guitarist Chad Taylor wrote on his blog that the original “two-year hiatus” was more likely a permanent break-up.

My first listen of the song I decided not to look at the lyrics. It reminded of bands like Bush, Creed and Third Eye Blind. I immediately noticed that their was no opening riff to the song, Kowalczyk gets right into the singing. The track is very catchy and I think his voice is powerful and brings a lot to the music. What I also noticed was the song is very repetitive and I was not quite sure what the meaning of the song was so I decided to give it another listen with the lyrics open…

“Everyboy’s here/Puke stinks like beer” are the first words of the song and my reaction is pretty surprised. I am wondering what type of setting Kowalczyk is singing about. “You stole my idea” is what is still in my head and probably the most repeated lyric in the song. He is singing with angst and power and it really gets to you. What I do love about the song is how it starts off slow and builds up and throughout the track stays strong. I am struggling to figure out what the song is about, but it has something to do with a crisis happening in a city and where justice is being collapsed. In the opening lyrics I think he is saying how he is with a group a people and that they are crowded together. He sings “Let’s lay waste to this century…return to nothing, and help me.” I think he is talking about decadence, a decline in the society and how they can do something about it, with love. Pretty strong lyrics to a song I did not expect to have that type of meaning.

The song really stood out for me and opening me up to another band I never had the time to listen to. I found in my house not only Throwing Copper, but Secret Samadhi as well. I spoke to my father about Live and he explained to me how awesome they were and showed me some really good songs. He told me how big they were in the 90s and he had so much nostalgia that he was listening to the mall night. Live definitely impacted the music genre then and still does with different people everyday and by influencing other bands that are still playing now. Century is a very potent song that I will continue to listen to and the build-up is as good as I have heard in any song and this song goes to show why they were so successful.

Pump Up the Volume!

After Wednesday’s test I was ready to go home. I admit I was not interested in watching a film. Professor Dunphy then said it was a film from 1990. Great. Sarcasm. I had no choice and gave it a shot. Pump Up the Volume starring Christian Slater was the film. I’ve always heard of him, but never actually saw a movie with him. Slater plays Mark, also known as Happy Harry Hard-on which is his radio name. Mark moved to Arizona with his parents and started a pirate radio station because he felt alone. He did not get along with his parents and did not ease well with the move west. With the radio station he lets out his angst and gives his listeners his own take on society. He is raunchy, funny and crazy. During school hours he wears his goofy glasses and does not speak to anyone. As days go by, his listeners grow as well. He speaks about the school, the teachers and the principal. Nora, a student at the school finds out Mark is Hard Harry. One of Harry’s listeners commits suicide after calling in to the radio station. In response to this Harry tells his listeners to do something about their problems and everyone riots. An example of this is when Paige, the smart and popular girl in school takes all of her jewelry and awards and blows it up in the microwave.  Mark’s Harry slogans are spray painted all around the school. The teachers and principals do not know what to do about the problem and the FCC starts to get involved. Mark is back and forth throughout the film on the decision if he should continue his show with all of the school turned upside down. Kids were getting expelled from school because their SAT scores were too low and the principal was taking them out one by one, including Nora. Mark decides to finish this drama off by taking his radio station on the run broadcasting from his mother’s Jeep and Nora driving. His machine that disguises his voice is broken and it is the first time he is broadcasting as himself. Finally, they get to the crowd of kids at school where they usually listen to his show and tells them to do what he did. Make your own radio station, decide your own future. He eventually gets arrested. The movie ends showing a student start their own radio station just like Mark. This movie was a perfect example of how media can effect and influence a group of people and it shows how the students follow it with pride. Whatever Mark said, the students would say. Hard Harry was a legend at their school. He was the voice to their problems. After the film I was happy I watched it and I really enjoyed it. I was a great example of what we were learning with class on how important the media is and how influential it can be. I guess I’ll trust the Professor’s movie choice next time.

Mad Men – Ep. 4 – New Amsterdam

I am really excited for this next episode just looking at the title. So far the show has my attention and cannot wait to see what it hits me with next. Pete’s wife, Trudy comes to the office and takes him out for a “surprise.”It happens to be she takes him to an apartment. It seems like she is pressuring him to get the place, but financially Pete is not ready to commit to something like that.

We then see Pete talking to his parents. Him and his father don’t look like they have such a great relationship. He disapproves of his job mostly. The reason for going to his parents was to ask them for money for the apartment. His father is not interested in helping him out. I feel bad for Pete. He is a sleaze, but he is trying to make his wife happy.

Don and Pete meet with a steel-maker named Walter and Don presents his ads. He does not like them and Pete gets the man to stay an extra day. Pete makes Don look bad in the meeting and he is mad at Pete. Just another part of their tension.

Betty is babysitting Helen’s kids and she is in the restroom while Glen, Helen’s oldest child walks in on Betty. She is furious. When she yells at him, Glen starts compliments her. This is so weird. She seems very uncomfortable but goes along with it. Disturbing.

That night, Pete and Trudy go out with Trudy’s parents and the apartment comes up. Pete is pessimistic about the whole thing, but his father in law insists he wants to help out with the money.

Behind Don’s back, Pete meets with Walter. He tries to pitch him his ideas when Walter tells him to enjoy the night and “get off the clock!” At the follow-up meeting the next day at Sterling Cooper, Don reveals his new ideas. Walter likes it and explained that Pete pitched him something similar the night before.

After the meeting, Don is irate and fires Pete. Roger and Don go to Cooper the other company owner and he explains that they can’t let Pete go because of his family name. They would lose a lot of accounts if he is fired. Don second guesses his importance and status at Sterling Cooper when he ears this. Roger reinstates Pete while telling him Don saved him job. He did this so he respects Don more and does not go behind his back again.

The episode ends with Pete and Trudy looking at the apartment again with the building owner and Trudy’s parents. Pete is tense and not into buying this apartment. It closes as he is starting at the New York City skyline, having a thought with himself.

I would rate this episode a 4 out of 5. I still have not seen anything as good as the first. There was a lot of weird moments for me in this one. The scene with Betty and Helen’s son Glen was very strange. I think Pete caught a break with the Walter meeting because he looked like he was having a crisis at one point. After four episodes, there is tons of mayhem including cheating, feminism, smoking, working, and American culture.