Mad Men Episode 5: MLK

MM_605_MY_1217_0318aThe newest instalment of Mad Men, titled “The Flood” takes place the day of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death. Matthew Weiner has always done an excellent job at shining an unexpected light on historical events of the past. He goes beyond textbook, and shows you how people were actually effected by these occurrences. This episode mirrors season 3’s “The Grown Ups” where we got a first hand look at how Americans coped with the loss of JFK. The subject matter is similar, yet everything surrounding it is much different. Different not only for our characters, but for the entire country. Seasons 1 through 3 of Mad Men were shiny, glossy and gave us a bird’s eye view into the homes of people desperate to keep up plastic appearances. Perfection was an obsession, and fitting in was mandatory. It’s as if the entire country was stuck in the brain of a 14-year-old girl. Times have changed  drastically since then. Women are no longer last on the totem pole, blacks are being integrated into the workplace and people are purposely going against the grain. Everyone is fighting for their own particular cause, and the country is moving at a much faster pace than in can keep up with.

Don seems to be having the hardest time dealing with the news of MLK’s death. His viewMM_605_MY_1219_1202 on life is that everything is already horrible, so when bad things happen you hang your head, get drunk and bottle it up. Don’s emotions are of sort of like a junk drawer. Filled to the brim with crap that he’d rather not deal with. When the time comes that he must place something else in the drawer, he is forced to face the mess. In this case the mess would be his absence in his children’s lives. It’s very rare that you’ll ever hear Don Draper initiate any sort of conversation revolving around his children. You can be sure that his wallet does not contain any photos of Sally in her season 1 ballerina costume. He’s always viewed his children as more of a burden than a blessing. Don comes to the realization that Henry is replacing him as the father figure in his children’s lives. His children have lost their father in the same way the country has lost a great leader.

In an attempt to bond with his son for the first time, Don takes Bobby to see Planet of the MM_605_MY_1217_0734aApes. Don is truly only just started to get to know Bobby, and his interactions with him seem forced and awkward. Don realizes in the movie theater that he does, in fact, regret not having a relationship with his son. He watches Bobby innocently try to cheer up a black theater worker about the events of the day, and it changes his entire perspective on fatherhood.

Megan walks in on Don drunk and sitting in the complete dark, which at this point should not seem like anything out of the ordinary. It appears to Megan that on a day that seems to have bonded the entire country, her family has done nothing but grown even farther apart. Don explains to her the experience he had with Bobby in the movie theater, and expresses to her that it was almost as if he was seeing his child for the first time. He confides in her that he faked the feelings of compassion that most people feel for their children when they are born. And that he finally knows what it feels like to no longer have to fake it. This is a profound moment for all characters in this family. All Megan has ever wanted was for Don to be open and communicate with her, and not only is he communicating, he’s crying. Even going on to say things about his childhood being rough. She sits back and lets him talk, almost afraid to breath. Knowing that the slightest thing could snap him out of the vulnerable state he’s in.

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In the final scene of the episode Don crawls into bed with Bobby, in hopes to continue the father son bonding they’ve experienced. Bobby admits to Don that he is afraid, and not for any reason Don would assume. He’s afraid that something bad will happen to Henry. Don realizes that it will take a lot more than a day at the movies to make up for all the lost time between he and his children. His response is that Henry is “not important enough” for anyone to hurt him. The amount of sarcasm in that sentence could fill a room. Don then reaches over and places his arm across Bobby’s chest until he falls asleep.

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Joy Behar Replacements on The View

We all know by now that Joy Behar will soon be replaced on ABC’s morning show, The View come August. Joy has been a staple voice of the round table over the past 16 years, and serves as the outspoken democrat who gives us comedic relief when the debates get too heated. The internet is abuzz as to who will replace Joy once she gives her last, “So what, who cares??”  shirt tug.

My favorites in the running so far:

ImageAli Wentworth–  Ali Wentworth is a comedian/actress, famous for her roles in Jerry Maguire and Office Space. She is also known for being married to George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America, and being a friend and frequent guest of Oprah’s. Being a comedian gives her an edge, and a feeling of familiarity. also, being married to a hard-hitting news anchor on the same network surly doesn’t hurt her chances.

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Brooke Shields– Famous for her role as Susan on the iconic television program Suddenly Susan, and those infamous Jordache commercials as a teen, Brooke Shields is a household name. She has co-hosted on The View numerous times, and proven that she just may be the opinionated woman who Bill Getty and Barbara Walters are looking for.

ImageMario Cantone– Most of the world was shocked by the news of a man filling being tossed around as co-host of The View, seeing as how it’s a show that relates to women’s issues. Mario would be the first man to have his face painted on The View’s yearly coffee mug in it’s 16 year history. Mario has filled in on the show almost as much as the current co-hosts themselves, so the viewer knows what to expect. He’s also known for being loud (very loud), gay, and a main character on the show Sex and The City. His presence would draw in an entirely new crowd to the show.

ImageKathy Griffin– Kathy holds the title as my favorite in the running, and least likely to be chosen. Kathy Griffin is famous for co-starring with Brooke Shields on the show Suddenly Susan. Known as the Joan RIvers of her time, Kathy is among the list of most successful comedians of all time. She has won numerous Emmy’s for her stand up specials and long  running show “My Life On The D-List” on Bravo. She is also known for making fun of, and getting in public altercations with members of the panel. If Elisabeth Hasselback has anything to do with this, Kathy will not be stepping anywhere near that soundstage.

ImageKirstie Alley– Kirstie Alley joined the co-host chatter after talk show host Wendy Williams threw her in the mix. Kirstie would be absolutely perfect for the show for a number of different reasons. She’s extremely opinionated, and not afraid to speak her mind (check out her twitter). She’s extremely relatable to the demographic that watches the show, which is middle-aged women. She has publicly struggled with weight, and seems to finally have gotten on track. She’s also an iconic film and television star. Kirstie has hosted the view numerous times, and had a big presence on The Oprah Show as well.

 

also in the running: Gloria Estefan, Rachel Compos-Duffy, and Jenny McCarthy.

Mad Men Episode 4: Hunger Games

Episode 4 of Mad Men is heavily focused on the idea of cheating, lying, and how these characters work persona’s effect them in their personal lives.

ImageThis episode revolves around a private business meeting taking place between Don, Pete and one of the Ketchup executives in Pete’s now “bachelor pad” apartment. The men are in the middle of discussing the idea of working together. The project would have to stay between them, considering Don’s relationship to Raymond of Heinz Beans. It’s ironic that the men are sitting together in Pete’s single apartment discussing the idea of being unfaithful. They decide on the code name “Project X”, and allow only Stan in on the double dealing.

The men later meet with the executives to pitch their idea. Don’s campaign is simple and Imagefeatures pictures of food items that go hand in hand with ketchup. The viewer is meant to wonder “what’s missing” from the ad. Don seems extremely confident in the pitch, that is until he walks outside the door. While leaving they run into Peggy and her team from CGC. They have an intensely awkward stand off in the hallway, only feet away from each other. In one of the most profound scenes in the history of Mad Men, Don listens as Peggy outshines him on the other side of the door. This is a monumental moment in the series, in that it’s Don’s first time witnessing Peggy as the Don doppelganger he created. He gets a first hand look at her pitching an idea as him. he listens as she steals the account straight from under him, just as she’s watched him do to so many people at SCDP. Her campaign is very minimalist. You would think Don had slipped her a script from underneath the door as she states, “I always say If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation,”. She then flaunts the campaigns slogan: “Heinz. The Only Ketchup.”.

ImageIt’s made very clear that Harry, just like many of the others, is fighting for his throne at SCDP. He’s been sitting back and watching his peers inch past him in the race towards power, year after year. The idea of Joan being more authoritative than him is unacceptable. He sees her as a bogus partner, and feels that she dosen’t have to work very hard to get to where she’s going. He sees himself as an essential figure in the success of his colleagues, with little to no acknowledgement. He has his heart set on getting to the top of SCDP, and from the looks of it will tear down anyone who gets in his way.

ImageSpeaking of Joan, it’s refreshing to finally get a little more than a few seconds of her this season. Joan’s story line mirrors Harry’s in the sense that she’s fighting for more than just a title at work. You get the idea that Joan lacks any sort of real power in her life. Though she’s come a very long way, she’s still restrained by the way her colleagues perceive her. Her mother makes just about every decision regarding her baby for her, and is essentially running her household. And at work she’s still seen as the loyal secretary who sleeps around, only now she has a different title. Joan’s friend comes into town and reminds her of the power she has, and the power in her grasp. All she has to do is reach for it.

In an interesting turn of events, we get a little insight into the mind of Dawn, the AfricanImage American secretary at SCDP. She too is struggling to find her voice at work, and not for the same reasons as the others. She walks on eggshells, hoping to stay just below the radar and not rustle any feathers. It’s eye opening to see that she is fighting to reach the level of respected secretary that Joan is trying so hard to run away from. Being the only black girl at work in the early 60’s puts her about 100 steps behind everyone else in the fight towards equality. The one thing she does have in common with Joan is that she has a friend trying to show her the power she possesses, if only she would use it.

ImageMegan is fighting desperately to appear as the wife she thinks Don wants her to be. She’s been trying all season to communicate with him effectively, but it dosen’t seem to be working. She wants to be open with him, the only problem is that she’s dating the most closed off man to ever exist. Don has never been fully supportive of her acting career in the first place, so she finds it difficult to talk to him about it. He is completely comfortable in his role as hypocrite, and he always has been. He’s aloud to lie and cheat in real life, as long as it stays between he and the person involved. Megan on the other hand deserves punishment for acting in a fake kissing scene that lasts for less than 15 seconds. Don can sometimes be the kind of guy that will watch you sail up stream with no intention on extending a helping hand. He will, however, expect you to save him in return.

ImageJust minutes after Don leaves Megan in tears for screaming at her about the kissing scene, he’s knocking on Sylvia’s door. He kisses her on the bed, in a very similar way to the kissing scene between Megan and her costar. The only difference is that this is not acting, and he is emotionally engaged with this woman. He notices a silver cross around Sylvia’s neck, and asks her to remove it. Don’s conscience decides to show itself in the most interesting of times. Sylvia looks at Don in a way that you would look at someone you pity, and tells him that she prays for him to find peace every night. Not realizing that if Don were to actually find peace, he most likely wouldn’t be in her bed.

Photos courtesy AMC.com

Mad Men Episode 3: Rule Breaking

Episode 3 of Mad Men deals heavily with marriage, infidelity, and the consequence of broken agreements made between two people in a relationship. It’s interesting to see that even in the 60’s the idea of a “modern family” was always there, just not talked about or given a name.

ImageIt’s painfully obvious that Don and Sylvia’s relationship is heading towards disasterville, while going 90 miles an hour with burning tires and cut breaks. The original set of rules that were mapped out when they decided they were going to occasionally sleep together are constantly changing. The only thing they can agree on is that they will continue having sex as often as they can. Sylvia is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation they’ve gotten themselves in. She’s having a hard time sitting across from the spouses at dinner while they stare at them with egg dripping down their faces. Don is also slowly but surly realizing that these two women are becoming a little too close for his liking. They are definitely playing with fire. Megan confides in Sylvia that she’s recently had a miscarriage, and Sylvia’s immediate reaction is jealously. Her only concern is that Don is still sleeping with Megan, and that she’s starting to get emotionally attached.

ImageWe are also granted another piece to the puzzle that is Don Draper’s childhood. We’ve always known that Don was raised by a prostitute, but we’ve never been given the opportunity to connect it with how he treats the women in his current life. He was brought up believing that women were nothing more than sexual objects, and that being a man grants you the power to have them as you please. This speaks volumes for who Don is at his core. It’s unclear if we’ll ever truly know who Don Draper is at the root of all this, but it does give us a better idea.

ImagePete Campbell is going through a similar set of “rule breaking” issues with his wife, Trudy. Though the ball park is the same, you get the sense that his reasons for cheating are much different than Don’s. Pete comes off as a highly insecure guy, constantly looking to fill the voids in his life. He’s driven by his need to appear powerful, and he’s drawn to women that fawn over him. Pete is so visibly jealous of Don, if only he would realize that it’s just as much an act for Don as it is anyone else. Trudy eventually finds that Pete has been sleeping with Brenda, and she confronts him about his decision to break her well thought out plan. She fills him in on the fact that she’s always known of his infidelity. She allows him to rent the apartment in the city so that it can be kept away from her home. Now that Pete has broken their given rules, a new set must be created, and on Trudy’s terms. You get the idea that Trudy is fully aware of how insecure her husband is. She does what’s necessary in order to make him feel like a man. She also won’t hesitate to tug at his leash whens she sees him getting ready to lift his leg on the wall.

ImagePeggy is still dressed head to toe in her disguise as her idol, Don Draper. Her employees live in constant fear of her, and will look for any excuse not to have to walk into her office. She’s cold, ball busting, and unapologetic when it comes to her work. Her creatives stand in front of her desk to pitch ideas in a police lineup formation. She tells them to sit down and stand up twice in the same sentence. And she constantly teases them with the idea of things like lunch, and fresh air. You can tell that it’s starting to have an effect on her. At her core, Peggy is a warm person with a big heart and it’s being clouded by her commitment to perfection in the workplace. Peggy’s only genuine relationship is with Stan. Stan is able to pull something out of Peggy that not even her boyfriend can. She lowers her walls when she speaks to him, and is able to have genuine conversation, not revolving around work. This could be because she and Stan were able to form a well rounded, fully functional friendship.

ImageEverything going on in this episode is centered around SCDP’s relationships with Jaguar. Herb stops by the office with the request that they spend more money on local advertising than national. During a meeting with the higher-ups Don purposely tanks, without filling Herb in on his plan. He then sits down with the executives of Heinz Ketchup in hopes to add them to the company client list. The meeting dosen’t go as planned, and this can officially be marked as the first time we see Don make such an obvious negotiation error at work.

In the last few minutes of the episode we get another flashback of Don watching sexual acts through the peepholes of the brothel he was raised in. Studying women as they negotiate what will happen with their bodies to sleazy men in suits. As Don goes to enter his apartment he stops, drops his head and slowly lowers to the floor.

ImageAs the episode ends, a song by Louis Prima plays called “Just A Gigolo“. The lyrics of the song really relate to what Don is going through. Especially in relation to his new found obsession with death, and the way he treats the women who love him.

Just a gigolo everywhere I go people know the part I’m playing. Paid for every dance selling each romance every night some heart betraying. There will come a day youth will pass away then what will they say about me. When the end comes I know they’ll say just a gigolo as life goes on without me

photos courtesy AMC.com

Mad Men Season 6 Premiere: Reflection

ImageThe season 6 premiere of AMC’s Mad Men was heavily focused on character perception. The way the world perceives the characters, and how if effects the way they see themselves. The episode starts off with a POV shot of a person getting resuscitated after what seems to be a heart attack, with megan screaming in the background. We are then transported into some sort of 60’s paradise, talk about sensory overload. Don and Megan are spread out on the beach, and Don is reading a passage from the novel “The Inferno” to himself. “Midway from my life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road. And woke to find myself alone in a dark wood”. This is the episode’s first stop on Don’s strange road to self discovery. The audience is left wondering if someone is having a before death daydream, or if this is all actually taking place. Megan is laid out on the beach like a 60’s Bond girl. The beach staff comes over to refresh her blue cocktail that she charges to their room. It was only minutes ago that we saw a person near death, so this all seems too good to be true. Later that night, they end up at a Hawaiian feast with the owner of the resort. It’s apparent that he is the reason Don and Megan are on this trip in the first place. During this scene, it is brought to our attention that Megan has become quite a successful actress. She gets recognized on the beach by a woman who watches the television show she’s on. Unbeknownst to Megan, Don hasn’t spoken a single word the entire day. He seems to be in a strange place mentally, just sort of taking everything in. Ten minutes into the episode Don finally mumbles his first sentence. A drunk vacationer at the hotel bar recognizes Don as an Army vet because of his lighter. He introduces himself as P.F.C. Dinkins. He fills Don in on the fact that he’s getting married the next day, and that he too serves. He asks Don to be a part of his wedding. Megan wakes to find Don giving away the bride on the beach, and takes a picture.

We are then given a bit of insight as to who the mystery man was having the heart attack in the beginning of the episode. In a flashback scene we learn that is was Don and Megan’s doorman, Jonesy. Without realizing it, this event sparked something in Don Draper that will show itself towards the end of the episode. Don and Megan are also introduced to a man living in their building named Dr. Rosen. Luckily, he was there to save the doorman’s life.

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We find Betty, Sally, and the evil step-grandmother from the West, Pauline at the nutcracker. We are also introduced to Sally’s new friend, Sandy. They are shown passing a bag of candy to each other. Against her will, Betty passes it along without any indulgence. In many ways, Betty is much stronger now than she was last year. She has settled nicely into full blown adulthood , and her days of emotional whipped cream binges are long gone. After the show, we see Betty in the middle of getting a ticket from a police officer for “reckless driving”. In typical Pauline fashion, she rips the cop apart and then scolds him for doing his job. The funny thing about Pauline is that she knows how miserable she makes everyone around her, and she rolls in it like a pig in mud. She complains about the night being ruined and how there’s no way it could get any more dark than it already has. Sandy follows that statement by making a joke about her mother being dead. That can be noted as the first unintentionally inappropriate joke in the Francis household, with more to come.

They return home to Henry and the boys in the family room. Sally, eager to rat her mother out, tells Henry immediately about the ticket. I find Sally’s bratty teen phase to be fairly amusing. She too has grown a great deal. No longer is she the girl that runs to her pillow crying. She now slams the door in your face and gives you the “one second” finger while using the phone. We finally get a little more information about this Sandy character, who uses her mother’s death as a mood lightener. She is a 15 year old violinist who, according to Sally has been accepted to Juilliard for the Fall semester. Pauline coins her as a “prodigy”, and Betty begs her to stand up and play for the family. Betty tells her that it makes her “feel so much” when she plays. That statement ends up holding more power than Betty had intended. Much like the drunk man in the bar scene with Don, Sandy acts as a reflecting mechanism for Betty. She forces her to deal with some issues she represses, or maybe dosen’t even know she has. Somehow this girl turns Betty’s emotions from simmer to a full on roaring boil. There’s something to be said about the fact that Betty bonds on such an emotional level with Sally’s young friends.Image

Betty and Henry have a discussion in bed about Sandy’s performance earlier that night. Her infatuation with Sandy is beginning to show itself, this time in a negative way. She goes through a full spectrum of feelings when it comes to Sandy, the first being jealousy. She interrogates Henry about the look on his face while watching her play her violin, and how comparable is was to Bobby’s. In other words, she’s alleging that he wants to have sex with her. She scalds him, saying she’s only a year older than Sally. This statement is followed by her making a painfully awkward joke about him going in the next room and raping Sandy. Betty even describes in full detail how he could stick a rag in her mouth and nobody would know. She goes on to tell ask him if it would bother her if she watched. To say that she’s jealous of this girl would be the biggest understatement ever made. She goes downstairs and finds Sandy sitting in the kitchen, smoking a cigarette in the dark. She all of a sudden seems different than she did in the living room. It’s as if she feels so naturally comfortable around Betty that she feels she can drop the good girl act. She’s giving off the vibe of a girl you would find smoking in a high school bathroom. A little less Sandy, and a little more Rizzo. Betty feels comfortable enough with her to share that she lost her mother too, in a way that makes you think she’s been wanted to say it to her since they met. Sandy fill Betty in on what’s really going on behind the “child prodigy” exterior. She spills the beans on the fact that she didn’t actually get into Juilliard. In response, Betty let’s her know that it will be okay. And that many girls don’t get into the most well respected school in New York, but turn out to be just fine. Her response rattles Betty the way Don was rattled by the drunk man at the bar. She makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be the girl who goes to college, drops out and gets married twice. Or the girl who gives up on her dreams to be a wife and tie her husbands ties. Without knowing it, Sandy is telling Betty that she would rather die than have her life mimic the way Betty’s has turned out. She does, however mention that she is infatuated by Betty’s modeling career, and her life in the Village as a 20 something. Betty makes it clear that it was a different time then, and that the life of a model is nothing to work towards. Betty tries to convince her of how talented she is musically.

ImageWe are next introduced to the new and improved Peggy Olson of season 6. As always, her only focus is her work. She is trying her best at playing the roll of Don Draper in her daily life. She has literally become every part of Don that used to frustrate her. The new Peggy is the old Don that would force her to storm away from his office everyday, shaking her head.

She gets a call from her co-creative, Burt Peterson in the middle of the night to discuss their ad for Koss Headphones. Apparently the advertisement is deemed unusable because of its relation to the war. A comedian on Johnny Carson made a joke about the soldiers in Vietnam cutting off the ears of the Japanese and wearing them as jewelry. With the slogan for Kross headphones being “lend me your ear”, Peggy is in deep trouble. She is told that she needs to meet with the executives and change it immediately before the next ad runs. Peggy has spent the last 5 years of her life reflecting, so this episode does not involve that for her as much as it does her counterparts. It’s more about growth for her, and settling in to her new roll as evil boss lady. Peggy has a meeting with a Kross executive, and she convinces him that she and her team will be able to pull something together to replace the ad. When he exits the room, she lets go a sigh of relief. It’s tough pretending to be an emotionless man all day long. Peggy’s employees don’t like her very much, and understandably so. They haven’t gotten to watch her grow like her former coworkers at SCDP. Never once have they seen her apply lipstick behind a double sided mirror.

The introduction of Roger Sterling is expected, yet feels completely strange at the same time. He’s laying in a psychiatrist’s chair, complaining about how blondes fade to brunettes. His doctor makes it a point to not laugh at any of his jokes. He recognizes that it’s his defense mechanism, and that in order to get to any real emotion from him he’ll have to Imagebreak him of it. Beneath all the sarcastic quips is a man looking for a reason to live besides women, work and vodka. While in his office, Roger receives news from his secretary that his mother has passed away. Like clockwork he makes a sarcastic remark, and then pours himself a drink. ironically, he’s the one calming her down. Telling her that it will all be okay, and that she was 91 years old. As if it makes it any easier to loose your mother by repeating her age. This is our first hint of reflection on Rogers part.

I’ve stated in the past that the most bonding experiences in Mad Men happen in the elevators, it must be the music. Don is slowly but surly becoming very close to the Doctor that saved the doorman’s life early in the episode. He invites the Doctor to come by his office later to give him a free camera from a company he does advertisements for.

Upon Don’s return to the office, we get re-introduced to the creatives of SCDP. They’ve thrown another woman into the mix, which seems intentional. As if recreating the male to female ratio will result in the same success they’ve seen in the past. Don walks in on the office’s Christmas photo shoot. He’s shocked to find the photographer has rearranged his office completely. Don steps into his office and stares out the window in a way that makes you feel that he isn’t all there. His body is back to work from vacation, his mind is somewhere entirely different.

The photographers make their way in Don’s office to take his Christmas photo. They tell him to “be natural” and “do what he would do”. He does just that by lighting a cigarette. He then realizes that he still has the lighter belonging to the man he met at the bar in Hawaii, P.F.C. Dinkins. The lighter reads “In life we often have to do things that just are not our bag”. Again, forces Don to reflect on his own life. Somehow a drunken stranger at a tiki bar in Hawaii is resonating with him in his office in New York City.Image

Don shows up to the Funeral for Roger’s mother drunk. He walks in on a conversation between the men of SCDP about whether or not their mothers are still living. These guys are like a group of social misfits. Not meant to be their true selves around anyone other than each other. Ken goes around the group, asking each one if their mothers are dead or alive. I couldn’t think of a better conversation at the funeral of a friends dead mother. When Don is asked the question of whether or not his mother is alive he slowly backs away and watches from afar. A friend of Rogers mother interrupts him and demands she read her speech first. Roger takes his displaced anger out on his ex-wife’s new husband. we can all see that it’s only a matter of time before he explodes.

The woman explains in her speech that she and her friends would beg his mother to not cling to him as much as she did. And that she did it because she loved him so much. All this talk of mothers and death ends up being a little too much for Don to bear. He pukes in a corner in front of the entire funeral. It appears to the crowd that he’s vomiting because of alcohol, which is not entirely the case. Pete and Ken carry him home, and when he arrives he is met by the doorman who sparked this path of self discovery. He drunkenly asks him what he saw when he died. The man makes it clear that he dosen’t want to talk about it, but Don continues.

Betty returns from the grocery store to find her daughter eating alone in the kitchen. When Betty mentions Sandy, Sally informs her that she’s left early for Juilliard. This alarms Betty, giviin the fact that she’s the only one who knows her secret about not getting in. She feels it’s her responsibility to find her. She ends up at what looks like the set of the Thriller video. I was just waiting for Michael Jackson to put his arm around Betty and look tawards the camera with yellow eyes. She meets a group of homeless teenagers, and one of them informs her that Sandy ran off to California. Sandy sold him her violin to pay for her trip. ImageShe gets into a minor altercation with one of the boys, and he insults her on a very personal lever. Calling her a bottle blonde, and telling her that the only thing she cares about is money. This, again, forces Betty to reflect on herself. She feels even more unaware of who she is. The one thing Betty is sure of this season is that she’s comfortable telling a bratty kid that he’s rude and has bad manors, as she clinches her pocketbook and wishes for him to catch a disease. This kid obviously has no idea how good she can be with a shotgun.

Things finally come to a head for each characture towards the end of the episode. With all this reflecting going on, someone is bound to finally see something.

It’s time for Don to pitch his idea to the owners and executives of the Hawaiian resort. He seems very sure that they’ll love his idea.The entire episode is set up to lead us to this moment. Don’s illustration shows a man’s clothing laying on the beach, and his footprints walkng towards the ocean. Underneath it reads; “Hawaii. The jumping off point”. The executives take a look at the advertisement and immediately get the idea that the man in the ad has killed himself. Without knowing it Don has created a campaign revolving around a man in a suit committing suicide. He realizes that he’s been obsessing over death for the past few weeks because of what happened with his doorman, and Roger’s mother dying was his final straw.

Roger recieves a briefcase from his secratary when he arrives to work. She informs him that the boy he hired to shine his shoes has died as well. The family sent his brifcase to Roger because he was the only person to call and ask about him. Roger slowly walks into his office, shuts the door, sits down and cries. He is crying for the first time since his mothers death. This is what it took for Roger to finally break down.

Peggy finally comes up with a solution for the headphone debacle. After watching her boyfriend bob his head while trying them out, she remembers some B-roll of the original actor doing the same thing. She decides to ditch the music and just show the actor bobbing his head and singing silently. After the excitement of coming up with a final concept, she is reminded by a coworker that it’s New Years Eve. She has her employees working in the middle of the night on a holiday, and dosen’t even remember. This is Peggy’s first realization that she is becoming a female replica of Don Draper

ImageBetty shows up in her kitchen with a look more shocking than her fat suit last year. She’s died her hair completely jet black, and her family hates it. She’s clearly doing this to regain some sort of control over her image. The fact that the homeless stranger was able to read her on such a personal level without knowing anything about her had to scare her.

Don and Megan throw a New Years Eve fondu party with the neighbors, the doctor and his wife included. megan forces Don to bring out the slideshow of photos from Hawaii, and he looks at them as if he wasn’t there. The doctor gets a call that he must get to the hospital. and leave the party early. Just before he straps on his skis to glide down the empty street, he leaves Don by telling him “people will do anything to leave you with their anxiety”. This is followed by Don knocking on the doctors door and being led in by his wife. It’s made clear that they’ve been sleeping with eachother for quite some time now. When she asks him what his resolution will be for the year, he repsonds by telling her he wants to stop cheating on his wife.Image

Photos Courtesy of AMC.com

The Rachel Zoe Project: Episode 2

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Episode 2 begins with Rachel and Roger looking over the reviews for Rachel’s show during NY fashion week. The critics seemed to love her designs, and actually understood her inspiration. Life and Style called the line a “flawless combination of Birkin androgynous cool” which is exactly what she was going for. As always, Rodger’s brain leads him straight to the practicality of it all. His immediate response was how much they would make in sales. Roger and Rachel are such a right brain, left brain pairing that they come together in perfect harmony, especially when it comes to business.

After reading the reviews Rachel meets with a room full of buyers from Nordstrom to talk about options for their store. They responded positively as well, calling it “very Rachel”. She drops in on the meeting, gives her two cents and leaves early. Her fear being that her presence would sway the buyers in a direction different than if she weren’t there.

Next we find that Rachel has decided to spread her wings even further than just the fashion industry. She and Roger are planning on opening a high end salon in LA called Dreamdry. At this point the salon is nothing more than a few white walls and a couple of tipped over paint cans. their business partner, Robin, is responsible for keeping an eye on the development of the structure. In typical Roger fashion, he nails her about the time and how much it’s costing them. Roger sort of serves as Rachel’s muscle. She brings him places and he swings his bat at anyone who would dare take advantage of her.

Rachel can officially be classified as a CEO at this point in her career. She now has 32 employees, a 15,000 square foot office space, 5 divisions and a partridge in a pear tree. She is taking on corporate America, one Chanel ankle boot step at a time. She gives a whole new meaning to the term “working woman”. Her office serves as a creative, yet stressful home away from home for her family. Skyler even calls her assistants his “aunties”. Rachel Zoe Inc. is to Skyler as grandma’s house is to most children. There are no rules, infinite hiding places and lots of women waiting their turn to pinch his cheeks. Talk about the good life. He even seems to have picked out a particular style of clothing rack to try and tip over.

Rachel learns later in the episode that her assistants are having a hard time convincing buyers to get on board with the maxi length dresses in her line. The boutiques loves them but the big corporate brands, not so much. They don’t see everyday women wearing them. Boutiques are typically able to be a little more risk taking and fashion forward. Where as a big corporation like Nordstrom would have to tighten the reigns a little more. The thing about Rachel Zoe is that in her mind the everyday woman wears a sequin, floor length gown to the grocery store. Her style walks a fine line of being really intimidating yet accessible all in the same loop. Which is why she has such a hard time deciding on whether or not she should listen to her gut, or take the advice of the all knowing buyers. She obviously knows fashion and she’s sure of her collection, but is the world ready for every piece right now? She says she should maybe wait a season or two to present the public with every piece. In other words, wait until these trends are available to everyone because she’s ahead of them.

On top of all this insanity, Rachel was also asked to style the band Karmin in
A music video for Coach brand. Watching her place fur hats on Amy and Nick reminded me of the good ol’ days. Back when she would style A-list celebrities in her tiny work space while Brad and Taylor chased each other around, fighting for her attention like bratty children. It’s funny how much can change in 4 short years. Rachel started her career as a music video stylist, so this is definitely not her first rodeo. The video turns out great, and Karmin get along with Rachel just fine. So much that they put on an impromptu performance for her. It’s not everyday you think you’ll hear Rachel Zoe’s name in a rap song, and I can’t say I mind it. It will be exciting to see how Rachel’s salon turns out. I’m also interested in seeing how Skyler manages in pulling down that clothing rack.

The Rachel Zoe Project airs Wednesdays at 9 on Bravo.

It’s A Brad Brad World: Episode 2

ImageRight off the bat, we learn that Brad’s world is becoming more and more packed with A-list responsibility. In addition to his handful of sought after clients, he’s added yet another beautiful woman to his contact list. 

Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova asked Brad for his styling expertise for a Diesel event she was being photographed at. Petra is basically every mans dream, gay and straight. She’s tall, blonde, beautiful, has amazing taste and a huge personality. As expected, she immediately hit it off with Brad. Within seconds he had already picked up on Petra’s style, which is what makes him a great stylist. After all, he did learn from the best. They settled on wax finished denim, a vintage tee and a Members Only style jacket. She went from a floor length, peach princess gown to a head to toe menswear look. That’s pretty much Petra in a nutshell.

Petra enjoyed Brad so much that she immediately asked him to style her again days later, this time for an Elton John charity event. He put her in a black, form fitting Alaia gown. Am I the only child of the 90’s who immediately thinks of Clueless when I hear this designers name? It’s safe to say that Petra wont be seeing any other stylists anytime soon. She even mentions wanting to bring hims around with her everyday. I could think of worst things to do.

In between having an awesome boyfriend and styling supermodels, things occasionally get serious in Brad’s life. He had to scold one of his employees for sleeping through his alarm and leaving a client waiting without any clothes. Talk about dropping the ball. This was all to reminiscent of his life in 2009, except he was typically the one in the hot seat.

I have a feeling Brad’s client list will continue to grow and grow as the season progresses.

It’s a Brad Brad World airs Wednesdays at 10 on Bravo.