1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Mad Men: 406, "Waldorf Stories" oad, Sun 29 Aug '10

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by compac, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Sep 1, 2010 #1 of 20
    compac

    compac Legend

    210
    0
    Oct 6, 2006
    From AMC, I thought this was one of the best episodes not only of this year but the season!

    About the Episode
    Peggy clashes with her new creative partner and Don pitches under unusual circumstances. Complete episode homepage » Trivia quiz » Photo gallery » Discuss this episode » Video » Next Episode A deadline disrupts Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Sneak peek video »

    Inside Mad Men: 406, "Waldorf Stories"

    Video:
    Creator Matt Weiner and Mad Men stars Jon Hamm & Elisabeth Moss talk about Don Draper's descent into alcoholism in Episode 406.​

    http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/?bcpid=101546270001&bclid=82069251001&bctid=589159471001

    Sneak peek video »;)
     
  2. Sep 1, 2010 #2 of 20
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,012
    307
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    It seems almost as if a certain synergy is involved when you know that the main story arc of this Sunday's episode of "Mad Men" is about Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce - well, really Don Draper - receiving a Clio award.

    For on Sunday night, the show won its third consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

    (One has to note that if you don't watch much cable - particularly "Mad Men" on AMC, "Breaking Bad" on AMC, along with the usual high quality mini-series and movie offerings on HBO - you can't really know what's going on at the Emmy's. Except for "Modern Family" on ABC.)

    This week, Don wins a Clio for the Glo-Coat ad, then loses the statue and the entire day of Saturday. Some bender! The drinking forces him to hire Roger's wife's cousin Danny Siegel, a guy that Roger doesn't even particularly like. Things don't seem to bode well for Don.

    But, hey, we learn that it was Roger's drinking that forced him to hire Don. We learn this in a series of flashbacks - flashbacks that had a peculiar style in that there was no fade or any break of any kind indicating we are going back in time. Don's confused about time. So was I for a moment or two.

    This episode focused heavily on the alcholic "foibles" of 1965 Don Draper/Dick Whitman. How did the Dick Whitman identity get in the picture again when there was nothing about the West Coast? Apparently he identified himself to Doris as Dick. Like we viewers, Don is puzzling over who is Doris?

    In fact, he begins drinking heavily on Friday before the award ceremony, makes some stupid mistakes, takes one woman home from the ceremony, wakes up Sunday to an angry phone call from his ex-wife and notices another woman in his bed - that's Doris - apparently he lost Saturday altogether.

    But did he earn the award? Peggy says that adding the kid in the ad was her idea, noting that Don added the western theme with a snide comment expressing a view that it wasn't so important an idea.

    In fact, we've seen the commercial and the Clint Eastwood -Spaghetti Western theme was the creative touch that made it different. I don't know that the theme will sell Glo-Coat, but it's an ad I'd probably watch once while I was skipping through commercials - if I could have skipped through commercials back then.

    Nonetheless the self-involved Don/Dick didn't acknowledge Peggy's contribution or Roger's role in his career. They were both miffed.

    The funniest line of the night: “I only changed one little thing.” It came from Peggy who is getting stronger as she battles her way through the sexist male legions that controlled the business community. Drunk Don orders her to work the weekend locked in a hotel room with Stan, a new art director. Stan is everything you could possibly roll up into a sexist character. And Peggy successfully challenges him where it hurts most - his one little thing. But it results in what likely will be a successful Vicks cough drop campaign and a happy client.

    At a personal level, Peggy also is starting to aggressively challenge Don's fumbling and stumbling that's risking the business. We had the pathetic scene of the Life cereal people not liking the catch phrase and "celebrating Don" throwing out phrases as Pete and Peggy try to caution him. But the Life folks love the phrase “The cure for the common ... cereal."

    The only problem is that phrase “The cure for the common (fill in here)" came from Roger's cousin-in-law Danny Siegel who neither Don or Peggy wanted to hire and who they dismissed with a "you'll hear from us" interview ending. When confronted by Peggy, Don doesn't even remember saying it, but complies with her demand to fix things with Danny. Danny is played by Danny Strong ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"and "Gilmore Girls") who Don towers over. But the Danny-of-questionable-creative-talent knows when he has Don by the "short hairs." Danny gets hired.

    So here we are at SCDP-creative this season. The mentor genius Don/Dick is losing it. Peggy is stepping up to keep things in order. These are two people who know each other - not yet equals, but almost family in the sense that you know which uncles have a drinking problem.

    Pete was also asserting himself this week as it appears that Ken Cosgrove may be coming back to the series and into SCDP. Pete isn't going to let Ken come into the new firm until Pete's primacy as a partner is acknowledged.

    As usual there is far more than one can cover, as in all episodes. But about that missing Clio. It turns out Roger picked it up for Don. And after Don apologized for not acknowledging Roger's role in his success, Roger gave it to him. I guess Roger regain a little position this week.

    As I noted two episodes ago, the show could end with Don dying of lung cancer from smoking. But right now Don's career success is in jeopardy because of drinking.

    It was sad when he ruminated “You finish something and you find out everyone loves it, right around the time you feel someone else did it.” On the one hand, that reinforced the idea that Don isn't acknowledging the contributions of others. But it also let's us know that Don is beginning to understand the adage: "Be careful of what you wish for."

    Who is this guy? He wins the only award given in his field in the year of the startup of the firm he created. The fledgling company is surviving financially. He has everything he told Roger he wanted. Except of course, a real identity. He is the guy who needs to learn that other adage, that no one on their deathbed laments "if only I had spent more time working." Don has lost his family. Dick is losing Anna. And Don/Dick is, or should it be "are," now losing days.

    Matthew Weiner's award winning creation is a traditional Greek tragedy as this all-too-American human suffering gives us entertainment. Is it "Death of a Salesman" repackaged as a TV series and updated to "the death of an ad man?"
     
  3. Sep 1, 2010 #3 of 20
    Gloria_Chavez

    Gloria_Chavez Godfather

    520
    20
    Aug 11, 2008
    Everyone says Don is losing it, yet, (i) Don, although inebriated, manages to sell the clients on the catch phrase, and (ii) Don, again inebriated, forces Peggy and her co-worker to share a room over the weekend, where they sort things out. Say what you will about Don, but even impaired, he's the agency's most valuable asset.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2010 #4 of 20
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,012
    307
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    No quarrel here. But I'd reiterate no one on their deathbed laments "if only I had spent more time working." As a whole person he's "losing it" this season. Or maybe it is more accurate to say he never was a whole person, but he's become less so.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2010 #5 of 20
    Gloria_Chavez

    Gloria_Chavez Godfather

    520
    20
    Aug 11, 2008
    He's not a whole person insofar as someone like Sumner Redstone, working well into his late 80s and estranged from his family, isn't.
     
  6. Sep 2, 2010 #6 of 20
    Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    A weak episode, and another sub-par effort with Weiner again the co-writer. Last week's brilliant show was a solo job without Weiner credited.

    Ok, we get that Don's a drunk. Enough already. And that endless phony scene with Peggy and the a-hole "nudist" Stan in the hotel room? Just pretentious nonsense from the writing team. Tedious, went nowhere, and rang contrived and fake. We get that Peggy's chronically assertive and all men melt and are instantly humiliated by her boldness. Enough.

    And Danny Siegel. Another completely contrived, almost freakishly fake character. Snore.

    We're going in circles now, let's get back to a solo writer without Weiner's self-referential navel-gazing. We need to MOVE FORWARD out of these scripting horse latitudes.
     
  7. Sep 2, 2010 #7 of 20
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,012
    307
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    Funny. I agree with Weiner's approach on how to present the times. The difference of opinion is a matter of perspective.

    My wife and I watch the show having lived the time working with people like Stan and Pete and Don and Roger and Joan and Peggy and Allison and Faye, etc.

    My wife hates watching the show because of her experiences shared with these people. Stan and all the men in the show aren't caricatures. They were the guys I worked with. Well, not really. These characters are actually more socially developed.

    Any Peggy's in less developed work environments - which means almost anywhere else - were not dealing with just psychological challenges and risks. If I have any criticisms of the writing it is that there was an 80% chance that such a move like she pulled in this episode would have resulted in physical assault surrounded by a very firm societal statement "she deserved it."

    The tendency is to remember the '60's because of Vietnam - that was where the dramatic scenes took place. But the '60's should be remembered for the Second Wave of the Feminist Movement that I outlined in a post on an earlier episode.

    The '60's brought reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, voting rights, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. (Ironically, it did not bring to our civilian government any reforms on decisions on when and how to use the military.)

    Today women control 60% of the seats in university classes and over half the jobs, including significant numbers in executive positions below CEO. But the battle to get there was fought during the last half of the 20th Century. And it was a battle. We just don't remember seeing it.

    Sure, Weiner took dramatic license with the Peggy and Stan scene. But it is to pound in a point that is ironically not easily understood by over half the population - the real revolution of the '60's was in gender relations.

    Alcoholism is also something to understand from a historical perspective. In 1965 AA was only 30 years old. A 1960 study by E. Morton Jellinek is considered the foundation of the modern disease theory of alcoholism. What the show presents is the pernicious nature of "social drinking" associated with the workplace. Don's behavior and Roger's behavior are not inconsistent with the context. Roger somehow makes it work most of the time and has for years. Don's accelerating decline was a pattern frequently seen.

    You can't develop the characters without devoting some time developing the reality and the flaws. This is why I write about the show. It is also why I rarely write about any other TV shows.

    The problem is the world is still full of Danny Siegel's. But not the TV drama world.

    Most drama shows are "gritty" which is a euphemism for lack of original content. They're escapist and, yes, I need that.

    But the world around us is not filled with serial killers and crime isn't rampant in our streets. Cops are a very tiny percentage of our population as are doctors and spies. Even attorneys are still a small percentage of our population. In terms of scripted TV drama, if you pull out the cops, doctors, spies, and attorneys, you wouldn't have many minutes a week devoted to drama beyond fluffy soaps and dramedys.

    For reasons I don't understand, situation comedies contain characters from all walks of life doing mundane things. On the hit "2½ Men" excessive drinking is the subject of jokes. And the character of Charlie the middle aged playboy jingle writer is a less flawed version of the actor who plays him. Nobody ever calls the repeated portrayal of Charlie's alcoholism pretentious writing.

    So I give Weiner credit for showing the decline of an alcoholic over time. And I see the strength in hitting the viewer in the face with the reality of gender relations at the beginning of the revolution.

    That is, of course, from my perspective.
     
  8. Sep 2, 2010 #8 of 20
    Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    Having worked in NY around the same time as MM, I fell in love with the first 2 seasons and they nailed many of the characters and issues. Love the show in general.

    But bad writing is bad writing. Stan is just tedious and silly, a one-note non-credible caricature of someone who never was. Stan and the midget cousin are almost Fellini-esque freakish exaggerations which don't advance the plot or evoke any satisfying tell moments from the core characters. These two are post "jumped the shark" inventions.

    Next week, they truly need to get Don evolving as a character into some new development. He's plain and simple getting boring as a morality-play alcoholic. They're beating a dead horse, storytelling is like a shark, it has to keep moving forward or it dies.

    Peggy bitchy and assertive is fine. Just keep her interesting and not another tedious one-note morality/politically-correct preachy straw dog shrew for feminism.

    Don's daughter w/her partner-in-crime Glenn is a vastly more intriguing take on the coming subversive sex/drugs/R&R/feminist revolution of the 60's. More of them, please.

    More Robert Morse. And stop the C-tease with the marketing shrink. This isn't middle school. Either let Don get it on with her or lose her. Past seasons always had Don in some extremely passionate and interesting trysts with cool babes, that was one of the major attractions of the show. The teacher, the LA baby sex teen. These were extended-week relationships that revealed character and were a ton of fun. Now it feels like Weiner is punishing Don week after week, falling over himself trying to make Don's sex life as unpleasant and bland and meaningless as possible. And it feels like it as a viewer, it's just plain b-o-r-i-n-g.

    They tease us with the solo Anna letter, then drop it. Sloppy writing.

    The characters have always been fresh, revelatory and believable. Now they're moving towards cliche and repetition. And new ones are right out of Twin Peaks. That's reaching, guys.

    BTW, I heard Sal is supposed to be returning. Make it so, one of the most successful characters in the show. Endlessly fascinating as the current art director is absurd, fake and stereotyped.

    I hope MM hasn't jumped the shark. We don't need Fellini-esque or Twin Peaks' freakazoid characters. We just need good writing.
     
  9. Sep 2, 2010 #9 of 20
    1980ws

    1980ws Legend

    237
    2
    Mar 18, 2008
    Longwood,...
    I haven't had a drink in years, yet woke up from this show with a hangover. The booze was a flowing and you could almost smell the cigarette smoke. Ugh.
     
  10. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    I don't fault Weiner for holding true to period on alcohol and smoking. He just has to do something more with it than Dysfunctional Drunk Don Does Debbie every week.

    Weiner has sailed the show dangerously close to the mawkish soap latitudes of heavy-handed morality and stereotypes. Let's see if he's a good enough captain to sail us out.
     
  11. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,012
    307
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    OK, I watched it over again without focusing on every detail. Listening to the dialog it wasn't bad writing. But thinking through the possibilities for the episode story arc, the character additions were weak. I knew idiots like the two introduced, but while the cousin was ok to make a point, Stan was thrown at us with no groundwork.

    I am assuming that Don will bottom out next week, if he hasn't already realized the problem.
     
  12. armophob

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    7,393
    65
    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    I predict a more uncomfortable decline due to several more bottoming out circumstances.
    This episode hit real close emotionally from my own life experiences. Given that, I expect more to come, like with my own.
     
  13. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    You're thinking a real Ray Milland-style Lost Weekend meltdown? Well, I guess we already had the literal lost weekend, but now the true descent into alkie hell: lost job, no money, no place to live. That is one true to life scenario, though semi-functional alcoholic describes most of the admen of the time.

    Hey, who was the drunk at the awards show that got dragged away? I didn't recognize him but he was supposed to be a guy we knew from previous eps? A former colleague of Don's?
     
  14. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,012
    307
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    I believe it was Herman "Duck" Phillips who we last saw in the November 1, 2009 episode "The Grown-Ups" which was episode around the weekend of the Kennedy assassination.
     
  15. armophob

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    7,393
    65
    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    Is that right? I will have to watch it again. I thought it was Freddy falling off the wagon.

    Damn SD AMC, can't even see faces:)
     
  16. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    Oh ya, Duck! Had forgotten about him, he almost pulled together the whole deal with the Brits! Until he got faced and blew it in front of the Limey Legion.
     
  17. Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

    3,134
    0
    Aug 15, 2002
    That was definitely Duck getting dragged out. Nice juxtaposition as Don is heading in that same direction if he does not get ahold of himself soon.
     
  18. Colorado Guy

    Colorado Guy AllStar

    51
    0
    Dec 28, 2008
    I won't watch this on TV until (If?) Direct Tv has AMCHD. I will watch last years program in Bluray from Net flix.
     
  19. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone DBSTalk Club

    12,564
    61
    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    Then really no point in opening this thread, eh Colorado Guy?
     
  20. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    1,951
    9
    Dec 4, 2007
    And let's not forget about Peggy's fling with Duck, which leads us into this week's analysis...(where IS this week's analysis?)
     

Share This Page