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Monsters’ Ball: The Week’s Best Comments

Guys! GUYS GUYS GUYS! You know what this weekend is, right? GAME OF THRONES WEEKEND NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S PRANK THOSE ARE THE WORST THIS IS FOR REAL! It’s crazy how last weekend was Mad Men weekend and this weekend is Game of Thrones weekend. I’m sure I used the word “crazy”correctly. But you have to admit, that’s two good weekends in a row, when usually you’re lucky to even get one good weekend ever. You have to admit that. You have to. Do it. Admit it. In any case, congratulations to all of us. A Lannister always watches Game of Thrones this weekend. Winter is coming to my house to watch Game of Thrones this weekend. Uhhh, what’s another one? “Hey is that a dragon on your shoulder? No! It’s Game of Thrones is on HBO this Sunday awesome can’t wait.” Perfect.

After the jump, the five Highest Rated comments, as voted on by you, the Lowest Rated comment, the winner of the Alicia Silverstone Feeding Her Child Mama Bird Style Caption Contest, and the Editor’s and Associate Editor’s Choice.

This Week’s Highest Rated Comments

#5 R2D2, Esq. | Mar 26th Score:65

Tiny, tiny, sidenote. Did anyone else notice that Roger no longer smokes Lucky Strikes? He was smoking Camels in this episode. It’s the most perfectly petty and miniscule act of revenge for him.

Posted in: Well, So, Let’s Talk About Mad Men
#4 king curtis | Mar 26th Score:70
Posted in: Well, So, Let’s Talk About Mad Men
#3 werttrew | Mar 26th Score:74

Some random thoughts:

*Oof. I disagree, Gabe. This episode was really good! Dare I say one of the best episodes of Mad Men ever? I am now looking forward to the rest of the season.

I don’t think I can make any serious claims against your objections, but I do think the good in the episode far outweighed the bad. What I liked is how so many characters had these small stories—with small reactions—that each said something profound about the characters. Take Joan’s cattiness to her mother and her desperate foray back into SCDP to rescue her job. The baby gets handed around like a hot potato, and with each person’s reaction (Roger, Peggy, Megan, Pete) we get a subtle reminder of their stories. And Joan’s return is so automatic and natural that it’s clear that a traditional stay-at-home mom career is not for her.

Or Lane’s adventures with the wallet—his desperation for affection and money are so clearly evident, but in the end, he doesn’t succumb. Is it out of nobility? Is he really a “gentleman”? Or is out of fear ? Is he happy that he’ll be at those offices “for the rest of his life,” or is he trapped? Great little vignette.

Granted, however, that the birthday party drama got stretched too far.

*Betty is apparently going to be missing from much of this season due to January Jones’ pregnancy and new baby. But because she’s the worst this can only make Mad Men better, right?

*Vulture posted the original French-language “Zou bisou bisou”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vFOzG3GYqo

*Race. Do you guys remember the very first episode of Mad Men? The very first episode of Mad Men—essentially the pilot—dealt with race in the ‘60s in an incredible way. There was this subtle emphasis on silent African-Americans. They were there in the elevators, they were there in the offices, they were there in the homes—but as silent, “faceless” workers. They literally had almost no say in the lives of the white Americans—omnipresent but ignored.

This was a theme that Mad Men abandoned, for better or worse. African-Americans were pretty much literally invisible after that, save for the occasional maid or Muhammad Ali reference. I am not going to quibble with the show too much on this point—it is portraying a very segregated society, so it isn’t off-bounds to show very few African-Americans in the Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce universe—but I also was disappointed that there wasn’t more done with race.

All that to say that the opening scene with the protestors and the final scene of the begrudged hiring of an African-American secretary due to a backfired prank has risen my hopes that the show will return to its promise of the first episode.

*What is the show about? It’s about re-creating, right? Recasting/reforming/denying the old past, making one’s own future? Dick Whitman becoming Don Draper; secretaries becoming trophy wives and/or advertising creative; “Peggy, listen to me, get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” Just like advertising is about shaping perceptions, so the characters are about re-creating themselves in a new world, albeit with varying degrees of trauma and failure.

So what has worried me about the last few seasons is that this thematic idea has kinda lost its momentum. The narrative drive is simply not there. It is funny how Don Draper seems increasingly unimportant and uninteresting in the drama that he’s the nominal lead in. The Dick Whitman story seems like a minor sideplot, Peggy’s transformation into a career woman seems all but assured. Where are the stakes?

Let me compare it to Breaking Bad, which just had its best season ever. BB has the gradual corruption of Walter White at its heart—the high school teacher family man slowly turning into a villain. This gives BB an incredible forward momentum—the entire series has a satisfying arc.

But what is the equivalent for Mad Men? What is Don Draper becoming? It is a little…opaque. Realistic, perhaps, but not entirely satisfying drama.

Posted in: Well, So, Let’s Talk About Mad Men
#2 Frank Lloyd Wrong | Mar 26th Score:78

Yes, this definitely was a slow-paced episode in comparison to the break-neck speed of seasons 1-4.

Posted in: Well, So, Let’s Talk About Mad Men
#1  

Ryan Alarie | Mar 23rd Score:89

Also white. He definitely should have chosen to be white if he was going to be walking around in public.

Posted in: That’s Your Boyfriend: Geraldo Rivera

[Ed. Note: I’m sorry, guys, but you’re just flat out wrong. The idea that I would somehow come at the first episode of the season of Mad Men and complain that it had a slow pace as if the show didn’t used to have a slow pace before is nonsense. I’m well aware of the show’s regular pacing thanks! And I happen to appreciate it very much. That’s what I meant in that whole opening paragraph of that post about how I’d seen people complain that nothing happened and I thought THEY were just complaining about Mad Men being Mad Men, but this was different. It’s one thing to pause and ruminate and have breathing room. It’s another for every single pairing of characters to have the exact same conversation about Don’s fucking party. It’s not that the show was slow and deliberative, it was almost moving BACKWARDS. On top of that, though, is just the straight up awkward editing and some of the ham-fisted “comedy” and it just wasn’t that good. I hope this week’s episode is great! But last week’s wasn’t! And it’s not enough to just point out things that would have been great about the episode if it had been good. You can do that with anything. Virtually everything that is bad had some version of itself that would be good if it was just totally different. Otherwise, great week everyone. You only BIFFED IT on one thread!]

This Week’s Lowest Rated Comment

redundant | Mar 23rd Score:-6
FIRST!
Posted in: This Week In Movie Trailers, You Guys

[Assoc. Ed. Note: WORST! Haha.]

This Week’s Caption Contest Winner

[Ed. Note: Congratulations, topknot! You earned it.]

This Week’s Associate Editor’s Choice

  Mans | Mar 29th Score:21

This is why I am happy that Youtube didn’t exist when I was this age. And why I am happy that my parents didn’t have a green screen in the living room. And why I am happy I didn’t have friends or any sort of peer group.

Posted in: The Official Song Of The Summer, 2012: The Stack Boys “Snapbacks”

[Assoc. Ed. Note: This is all very true, and it can’t be said enough. Also: You should probably listen to “Snapbacks” one more time before you enter your weekend.]

This Week’s Editor’s Choice

lawblog | Mar 29th Score:49

“With my luck, he’d probably retweet my address to a bunch of hairdressers on the way back from a flower convention.” —Darson Caley

Posted in: A Friendly Chat With Gabe And Kelly: Spike Lee Tweeted An Incorrect Address For George Zimmerman

[Ed. Note: This is good. It just really wraps up the whole week in a nice little bow. Thank you, lawblog.]