Monday, April 16, 2012

Mad Men 5.5: "Ben Hargrove"

Who is Ben Hargrove?  He's the nom de plume - fictitious name - which Ken Cosgrove uses when his science fiction and fantasy stories are published.  We learn this in Mad Men 5.5, one of the best episodes ever in this series.

Hargrove is probably most based on Alfred Bester - who did not write under a pseudonym but whose stories,  like Hargove's, were often about murderous androids or other murdering entities, and like Hargrove's, were interplanetary.   And Bester did work for Holiday Magazine - senior editor, non-science fiction - though, as far I as know, no one pressured Bester to give up his science fiction writing, as Roger (unsuccessfully) tries to do with Cosgrove/Hargrove.

Hargrove also bears some resemblance to Isaac Asimov, who occasionally did write under a pseudonym (Paul French),  and may or may not have been encouraged by colleagues at Boston University (where he was Associate Professor of Biochemistry) to write science not just science fiction.  Some of his science fiction did, however, deal with murderous robots and planets, and Asimov also looked a lot like Harry Crane in Crane's earlier years on Mad Men.   (I should mention that I also write about robots and planets, also am a professor - at Fordham - but would never write under a pseudonym.  I want everyone who knew me in third grade to recognize my name on Amazon.)

Back to Mad Men 5.5:  It had lots of other great scenes, including fisticuffs between Lane and Pete - Lane decks him - followed by Lane impulsively kissing Joan as she offers him ice for his hand.   Did she like it?   Well, she certainly didn't object, but opened the door to the office afterward, signaling that she didn't want anything more to happen.  But she did touch Lane's hair right before, and she did taunt him and us when Lane asks, after the kiss, if he did anything wrong, and Joan replies that he only did what everyone in the office wants to do ... punch out Pete (the men, at least, would much rather kiss Joan).

There was one anachronism amidst all of this great television.  The college co-ed that Pete covets in the driver ed class is upset about all the mass killings in the news (the nurses in Chicago, University of Texas at Austin) and says "things seem so random all of a sudden".  Right, except "random" wasn't used this way back in 1966 - to mean something bad - back then, random just meant random or arbitrary.

But a small quibble about a superb show, in what continues to shape up as the best season of Men Men so far.

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust

And from Season 4: 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 ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

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

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