Mad Men – Ep. 3 – Marriage of Figaro

Round 3. Let me start off by saying the authenticity of the 60’s is remarkable. The episode begins with Don on a train looking through ads on a magazine. That’s a really cool scene. Ad men looking at other ads. Anyway, he bumps into an  old “friend” that calls him Dick Whitman. You can tell this is every awkward for Don and he carries on the conversation till the man leaves. He has a sigh of relief once he is left alone.

Pete returns to work from his honeymoon and his friends want to know scandalous details from his trip. He gets a warm welcome from all the employees and walks into his office and there is an Asian man in his office working with chickens. I thought that was a funny joke on his first day back.

Peggy and Pete have a run in at the office and it is a little awkward. They speak briefly about the night of his bachelor party and they agree that it never happened. She looks a little disappointed. This is definitely not the end of their “relationship.”

Pete goes to Don’s office and he does not get such a warm welcome from him. Pete looks up to Don, so I can see he is hurt when Don doesn’t act so nice to him. They have a meeting with Rachel, the jewish department store owner. While one of the men explains some ideas, Don and Rachel lock eyes. I have a feeling this is going somewhere. He walks her down and says he will meet her tonight. Don is sucking up to her so he can get business done with her, and he is pretty good at it.

Rachel brings Don to the rooftop of her store and says that this was her home and explains that her mother died giving birth to her. Don goes in for a kiss. Knew it…Woah. He just told her he is married. Did not expect that. She is upset and says the account with Sterling Cooper stay, but she wants Don off of it.

The next day is Don’s daughter’s birthday party. Betty invited all her friends, including the new neighbor Helen and her son Glenn. Helen is single and while at the party the women are talking about their honeymoons. If I were Helen I would be very uncomfortable. Helen is then talking to Carlton who is Francine’s husband. Francine is best friends with Betty. Carlton is offering his paternal skills to her. She started getting the wrong impression, so he shot it down as to just helping out.

Don went to pick up his daughter’s birthday cake and he doesn’t show up until hours later. Betty begins to worry. The scene shows Don in his car by the railroad tracks resting in his own thoughts. He finally comes home with a golden retriever for his daughter as her birthday gift. Betty is almost speechless as Don falls asleep. This episode was very different. It showed Don as a family man while he was building a playhouse for his daughter and video the party. It was nice to see him out of the office and out of his suit for once and living like a normal person. I am going to give this episode a 4 out of 5. I was very happy with the character development in this episode and it was more unpredictable than the other episodes. I happen to be very engaged with this show and I am still hungry for more episodes! Now I know why this show is so popular.

Mad Men – Ep. 2 – Ladies Room

I am pumped for episode 2 and digging the theme music to this show. Don, Roger and their wives are out to dinner and yes, they are smoking. They are talking about their childhood and Don get’s shy and does not want to speak of it. Betty, Don’s wife goes to the ladies room with Roger’s wife Mona and has trouble putting on her lipstick. Her hands go numb and Mona assists her with it. At home, in bed Betti brings up childhood again and Don brings up a great point, “It’s like politics, religion, or sex, why talk about it?” Something is clearly part of his past that he does not like to talk about and I am very interested to find out.

Don is approached by his Roger and a partner about running Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Roger originally asked him about this in the first episode and Don shot it down quickly. Finally, Don commits after a little convincing.

Back at the office, Paul, an ad man who works for Don, tries to sweet talk Peggy and she cleverly rejects him. Joan, the head secretary invites Peggy to lunch when they run into some ad men at the agency. One of them made a joke about Pete that he is on his honeymoon and did not leave the room. Peggy looked interested and uncomfortable at the same time. Something is fishy with those two. The men at lunch are hitting on Peggy as well and it seems like everyone is viewing her as the new house on the market.

Betty is driving with the kids and suddenly, her hands get numb again and she crashes into someone’s lawn. I actually got worried during this scene. Don later urges Betty to see a doctor immediately. While this is going on Don is continuing his affair with the woman last episode. I came to the conclusion that this is the way men act back in the 60s. It is pretty sleazy but pretty awesome, too. It goes to show they really don’t care. They don’t care what women think, what their wives think, what a life.

Don brings home a watch for Betty after work. She starts to cry during dinner because of her “condition.” Don looks worried and I’m getting pretty nervous with this angle because she should see a doctor already so we know what is wrong with her! Don calls in sick the next day and finally brings her to the doctor. Then he goes to the woman he is having an affair with. He is so legendary.

At the office Peggy goes into Paul’s office to tell him she cannot go to lunch. He shuts the door and starts kissing her. It was too obvious that he was into her and this was bound to happen. She rejects him once again and say there is someone else. Peggy is officially bugging out after that run in with Paul and she feels like everyone is hitting on her. I understand where she is coming from. The men are looking at her like she is a piece of meat.

Betty is at a psychiatrist venting all her issues. Don is cheating again. All episode he keeps asking himself what do women want? That night, he takes his wife out for dinner. When they get home he calls the doctor to check up on the appointment his wife had that day. The episode ended with the doctor saying, “I had a really interesting hour with your wife today.” Another really good episode, I did not like it as much as the first but definitely keeping me going. A lot of filler stories going on right now.I do happen to like when Don is working hard and showing his true talent as an ad men. I am going to rate this episode a 4 out of 5 because I know how well this show can be and I am expecting even more next time around.

Mad Men – Ep. 1 – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Taking place in New York in the 1960s, Don Draper is sitting alone at a bar, smoking a cigarette. The waiter comes by and Don tries to convince him to change cigarettes he smokes to his personal favorite, Lucky Strikes. The waiter brings up a point that Reader’s Digest claims it will kill you. Don disregarded it and looked around a room of men with cigarettes in their hands and replied, “Yeah, I heard about that.” Right when I saw that, I decided this guy is awesome.

I am watching this show on my MacBook while writing notes as it goes. I chose this show because of the critical acclaim it has received. It has been nominated for an abundance of Emmy Awards and wins best drama almost every year. I am also a big fan of Jon Hamm who plays the protagonist Don Draper.

Later that night, Don goes to some woman’s apartment and tells her about some big meeting he has the next day. The meeting happens to be with Lucky Strikes, the tobacco company he tried to persuade the waiter to buy. He starts getting very intimate with her and stays in the apartment for the night. Don has to be a bachelor that gets around a lot. He is a good-looking, top ad men in New York, which girl wouldn’t want him.

Sterling Cooper, a huge ad agency in New York, employing some of the best ad men in the city, including soon-to-be Pete Campbell. He is on the phone with his fiance while his friends are planning his bachelor party that night. No way this guy is loyal to her and I’m not so surprised by this. Peggy, “The New Girl,” is Don’s new secretary is introduced to the company and gets settled. She seems a little different to me. She meets Pete while he is in Don’s office getting ready for a meeting and he makes some rude comments to her and I still stand alone with my thoughts on Pete.

The meeting is with a Jewish woman and Don is startled that he is sitting down with her, and not a man. Rachel,  owner of a department store wants to turn it in a high-end store like Chanel. Don is losing patience with her and say, “I am not going to let a woman talk to me like that – this meeting is over” and walks out. Amazing. Woman clearly do not have a lot of respect at  the time and Don proves that. The meeting with Lucky Strike is going on and Don and Pete are accompanied by their boss, Roger Sterling. He explains that they cannot advertise that cigarettes are safe anymore. Don is stunned by this and is at a loss of words. Pete speaks up and fails miserably and the Lucky Strike owners get up to leave. Don saves the meeting by selling them that advertisement is all about “happiness.”

I have noticed how popular cigarettes where in this time. In every scene, everyone is smoking. Now I know where the episode title “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” is from. After the meeting, Don looks like superman at the agency from the job he did. Peggy tries to hit on Don at the end of the day because I think she got the impression from the other employees that he likes to fool around with his secretaries. He turns her down and tells her how unprofessional that was.

Pete gets turned down by a girl at his bachelor party and shows up at Peggy’s apartment drunk and she leads him in. I think this will be a season long affair. Don gets home after a long day. He goes to his bedroom and wakes up a woman. He then goes and looks at two children sleeping. What!? He is married? Wow. I have to give this episode a 5 out of 5. The dialogue in the scenes were great and I loved how detailed the show is. What a way to end of a great first episode.

Woodward and Bernstein “Light a Fire” by Inspiring America

Richard Nixon’s tenure as the President of the United States was regarded as one of the most controversial terms this country has ever seen. Nixon was the only president to ever resign from his duties leading the country. The reason being that illegal actions under the Nixon administration went on under his knowledge. Five men broke into the Democratic party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel located in Washington, DC. This became known as “The Watergate Scandal.”

The story is so significant that since Watergate a lot of scandals have used a “-gate” attached to the end of it. I’ve noticed it mostly in sports for example “Spygate,” when the New England Patriots were filming their division rival New York Jets during practice. “Tripgate” is the most recent in December when then Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripped an opponent while running after a punt. This caused the Jets to suspend Alosi and led to his resignation.

In class we watched “Lighting the Fire” from the film “All the President’s Men,” that centers on two journalists that work for the Washington Post named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They released knowledge from an anonymous source on everything from the break-in to how the administration tried to cover it up.

Woodward and Bernstein changed American politics for good and inspired investigative journalists all over. It showed that a journalist can do so much like uncover a Presidential scandal. It is also said that if Watergate did not happen, then none of it would be exposed and this changed the relationship between politics and the press.

The film really showed American journalism at their best and to their highest potential. Schools were being crowded by people who wanted to do what Woodward and Bernstein did. They sparked America with great facts on a story that everyone was interested in and the media loved it.

I think the story is amazing and the film was exceptional. I thought the whole idea of the scandal was insane. To actually do what those men did and the fact that the president was covering it up is absurd and the fact that Woodward and Bernstein were uncovering it as rumors were going. They exposed lies and corruption and that not even the president can get away with it and be above the law. The legacy they left back was inspiring and it gave people hope.

The Tillman Story: The Army and Propaganda

Bill Maher had Richard Tillman, the brother of the late Pat Tillman on his show to talk about the death of his brother and the film “The Tillman Story.” My impression of Richard Tillman in this interview that he seems more angry than sad about his brother’s death. Someone can only wonder why these are his emotions after such a tragedy. This was an interesting and detailed interview and it opened my eyes up to a lot of things I did not realize when Tillman’s death was originally reported.

The story of Pat Tillman is very remarkable. Pat played in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2002, a few months after the September 11th attack, he decided to walk away from a very bright future in football and enlisted in the United States Army. Some people already viewed Pat as a hero just for that big transition.

In April of 2004, it was reported that Pat Tillman was killed when his unit was ambushed. However, this was investigated and the conclusion was that he was killed from a friendly fire. His uniform was burned, and his diary was nowhere to be found. The Tillman family thought this was a fishy situation. The army didn’t inform the family until weeks after the funeral about the truth of his death.

The family felt that the Army manipulated his death as propaganda to coverup their flaws. They believed that they should have been told the truth about it right away instead of being in the dark about it until over a month of speculation. This sounds very unusual for the Army to do, but Maher explains in the interview that 52% of deaths come from friendly fires now. This can be happening to anyone and it is not the right thing to do.

Tillman’s mother wrote a book and their was the release of the film that was explaining the truth of the evens and attacking the Army’s actions. I look at this as an act of propaganda on the Tillman family as well to get everyone against the Army and what is going on in the Middle East. I understand that they are mad at the government, the army, and the Bush Administration, but I don’t know if what they are doing is the right thing. They are promoting an anti-war agenda and the propaganda while mourning the death of their son.

 

 

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