Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad Men 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback

In a sweet feat of timing, Mad Men won a much deserved Emmy for best dramatic series tonight - against great competition - as AMC aired episode 4.6, in which Don wins a Clio award for his Glo-Coat ad.   And that was almost the least of this superb episode, firing on all cylinders.

One thread centers around Roger's memories, in flashbacks, of how he first met and came to hire Don.   The two looked just right younger, along with Joan.   Don is clearly as ambitious as he is now, but, unsurprisingly less hard-bitten.

In the present, Roger has sent Jane's not very talented cousin to Don for a job.   Don practically laughs him out of the office, but not before the cousin unfurls his one advertising idea, "[whatever specific brand]  - the cure for the common [general product].   When Don comes back pretty drunk from the Clio's to meet with the Life Cereal client - after the blond psychologist rebuffs his advance - he rapid fires a whole bunch of slogans to Life, including, "Life - the cure for the common cereal."  The client loves it.

Peggy, who was at both the initial Jane's cousin meeting and the Life meeting, wants to tell Don that he got the slogan from the cousin, in case he was too drunk to realize it.  But the weekend is at hand, and it will take Don and Peggy on two wild paths.

Don, still drinking, brings back a brunette Clio-winner to his apartment.   He wakes up two mornings later, with a blond in bed with him.   She calls him Dick, which suggests that in his stone drunkenness, Don thought of himself as Dick Whitman, or reverted to his true, original identity.  Don's memory is gone, at least as far back as Friday afternoon and the sell to Life.

Peggy has adjourned to a hotel room with a nudist ad writer.  His biggest accomplishment is a KKK anti-Goldwater ad which Johnson didn't use (the guy is aptly jealous of Tony Schwartz's masterpiece daisy-atom-bomb ad, which was used by the Johnson campaign, just once, and was already on its way to becoming a classic).   The guy taunts Peggy for her prudishness, extolling nudity.  Peggy eventually steps up, takes off her clothes, dares the guy to do the same.  Which he does, but she has now clearly reversed the power relationship, and dominates the room.

Peggy eventually shows up at Don's apartment, and tells him about the Life ad, and who was its author.  Don finally hires the cousin - you can always count on him to do the right thing in business, even if it is under duress.

And the best line in this episode?   It's in none of the above scenes, and comes from Joan, who takes her leave of Roger at the bar after Don wins the Clio, and tells Roger he's "crossed the border from lubricated to morose".

Now that's what I call fine writing - Matthew Weiner also won a much-deserved Emmy for best writing tonight - and just one of the many reasons why Mad Men is such a compelling cure for common television.

5-min podcast review of Mad Men

See also Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ...

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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