Thoughts on Mad Men: Season 7, The Forecast (SPOILERS)

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by AMC

SPOILERS BELOW!

Finally, one I could really sink my teeth into. I have to start at the end with that look of panic on Don’s face when the realtor looks at him after she confirms that she’s sold his place and says something about finding him a new one. Sheer panic. At a new start. How many times have we seen Don jump at the chance at a new start? Usually it’s been with a woman, though there have been some business ones as well. They’ve all been met with enthusiasm. Eagerness. I can’t recall EVER seeing panic on Don’s face at the idea of starting over. Even during his Hershey pitch performance of self-destruction that he orchestrated. He knew what he was doing during that meeting, but you didn’t see any panic. You saw severe and soul-crushing depression later, yes. As he understood that he had well and truly lost everything and realized that he actually missed it after all. But, Don’s always run towards a clean slate. Probably because he’s always been running away from something else.

But not this time. And that’s why I have yet another confirmation that the boy (man) who’s been crying wolf for so many years has actually seen the wolf. Don really wants to make himself over completely. Sure, he’s not going to take any shit from the little brat that came to him for advice and then didn’t have the sense to suss out the message because the kid’s an idiot. But Don was perfectly willing to take Megan’s blows last week because they were warranted. But Mathis is a junior wannabe with energy and no real talent to boast about. And on top of that, he’s not even savvy enough to know how to fix his own mistakes. I mean think about it. Don’s almost roasted himself by talking about a gentle suicidal stroll into the Hawaiian surf (which was lovely image-wise and artistic as hell, although completely misguided for the client), and finally did the trick by talking to the Hershey folks who stared aghast as he regaled them with tales of growing up in a whorehouse and how that made him think of how much he loves Hershey’s. Hell, Rumsfeld had to finally piss himself to get the final boot and that was almost a noble exit. This kid can’t talk his way out of an f-bomb? Seriously? Yeah, kid, you don’t so much belong in the big leagues. So, no, Don’s not going to take shit from someone so ridiculous as that. But the words that kid uttered from someone Don respected? They would have packed quite a punch because Don’s trying, and I think he’s starting to recognize that nobody has his back. He’s a losing bet. His tenuous relationship with Sally is back on the rocks. He’d probably recognize that a good piece of that is the personal navigation a teen is trying to survive and take some of it with a grain of salt. Betty certainly understands that. Her interaction with Sally was surprisingly normal and, dare I say it, charming? Roger went to Ted before he went to “carousel Don” for the golden speech. Peggy sees right through Don’s agenda and cuts him down to size. She’s sick of being everyone’s pawn. The alliance they had forged is again on shaky ground. Everyone sees Don as a ticking time bomb. Don is just finally seeing that this is how he is viewed by even the “lowliest” members of the staff. It’s a wake-up call. It’s a bit hard to believe he’s missed how badly damaged and, in fact, possibly beyond repair his reputation has become while he’s been busy working on remaking himself.

I think that final shot of Don’s face is meant to show that he’s going to really do it this time. For himself and nobody else. Whether that means he’s going to get on that bus Sally mentioned and go far away from “Don and Betty” as Sally intends and try things Sally’s way with a brand new start free of any trace of the old remnants of before; or whether he’s going to start over by taking the speedy descent from his balcony before the new owners take possession in 30 days; or whether, best of all, he tries something a little less “burn the house down” and really does figure out how to start over, miraculously leaving all traces of destructive Don behind…..well your guess is as good as mine.

Notes

  • Ted’s going to die. I’ve got nothing more to say about it except this. I’m very sad to see this character reduced to what we are seeing now. Particularly with that ridiculous lip-rider. As GOB would say, “Oh, come ON!” Listen, Ted’s better than this, and I’m not going to be happy if this is all we are given for his exit. Plus, I’m going to hate Don for dragging him into this deal and killing him slowly day by day. Ted was never meant to be Roger, and his morphing into Rog is incredibly depressing because we know Ted’s character. And this is why I circle back to my first statement. Ted can’t exist in this state. He’s going to die and it will be an incredibly emotional situation like Lane Pryce. You heard it here first. I hope I’m wrong.
  • The fact that Robert has that initial and very intense reaction to the fact that Joan has a very young son doesn’t bode well as far as I can see. I’d very much like to see things work out for Joan, but such an intense reaction is hard to overcome. I’d have a lot of trouble believing he’d soften and accept a young family after that.
  • I was charmed by Sally and Glenn’s relationship. I’d prefer not to delve into Glenn and Betty’s only because they have something that bonds them and I have yet to determine what that is. Maybe it’s as simple as parents that never really saw them for who they are? But it seems deeper than that. But Sally and Glenn clearly care about each other very much, and that response that Sally had to Glenn’s announcement was so genuine. I continue to think Sally may be one of the most mature characters on the show despite the ups and downs emotionally that she is experiencing in the teen years. She is clearly very perceptive and is able to read most people almost as well as she is able to read her parents. That is a lot of information for someone of her age to process. Thankfully, she is reasonably mature, so she handles herself pretty well in a world too adult for her to be navigating at her age.

I’m done for now, but I think I’ll have more to add to this later. This episode was my favorite so far. So much to chew on. So many avenues to explore. So many trails to potentially follow to the finale.

To Netflix or not to Netflix. That is the question.

I love Arrested Development, but I am not as devoted a fan as the numbers of them that binge-watched Sunday when the new season dropped on Netflix, and now I’m in a bit of a quandary. Because I’ve seen what they’ve been saying on Twitter and elsewhere. And it doesn’t look good folks. I want to know what happens with the Bluths, but right now I’m in happy land where the show was awesome right up to the end. I mean, sure, it may have gotten the teensiest bit jazzhandy at the end, but it’s Arrested Development. If any show can get away with a little scenery chewing, it’s this one. What if I join Netflix and watch the new season and I’m disappointed. And then it’s like at one of those less than stellar dinners when you look down and discover that you’ve totally jacked up your entree/side/side bite progression leaving you with a last bite of bland potato mash left on your plate. You can’t have the last bite of your dinner be bland potato mash.

So what should I do? Should I game Netflix for the freebie month (if they still have that deal) and binge-watch Arrested Development only to discover I’m horribly disappointed in the final season and suffer the extra indignity of being unable to cancel Netflix because I like Netflix. Then the joke is so totally on me that I can’t deal. Huh? Huh? Talk to me, wise people. What should I do? I don’t want to be left saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

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More gifs here: http://its-arrested-development.tumblr.com/post/48155328328

‘Arrested Development’ is coming soon!!!

In honor of the triumphant return of ‘Arrested Development’ later this month, I’m reminiscing about some of my favorite moments from previous seasons. In a show this consistently hilarious, it’s impossible to pick only a few favorites, so this is a fool’s exercise.

  • My favorite episode is ‘Pier Pressure‘ with its non-stop hilarity: J. Walter Weatherman, Hot Cops, Maeby being singed by her Gangy’s brittle wit, and that scene between G.O.B. and Michael when G.O.B. is partaking of the spoils but tries to hide it by claiming it’s cold outside. Sure it is, G.O.B. Sure it is.
  • Jason Bateman’s a terrific straight man. His reactions are always perfectly calibrated to maximize the humor in the scene. If, like in this one, he needs to be understated, he is. If, like in this one, he needs to give it a little something extra, he does. Watch out for that cornballer.
  • G.O.B. is my favorite with his unsuccessful magic tricks, his ridiculous chicken dance and his pet Segway. But especially his “COME ON!” bit.
  • Lucille makes every scene better. She can be hilariously raunchy in addition to condescending and haughty. It’s a great combination. Some of my favorite quotes:
    1. I would cry, but I can’t spare the moisture.
    2. I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.
    3. Not as much as you enjoyed yours [meal]. You want the belt to buckle, not your chair.
    4. They’re just heels, honey. They can only support so much weight.
    5. Oscar says that this walk, “Recharges his chi.” I call it, “An excuse for him to score more pot and wave his ass at the co-eds.”
  • For all of Lucille’s great lines, Tobias really scores the most with his signature awkward phrasing.
  • I love that they always did the “On the next… Arrested Development” bit at the end of the show where they would run fake promos.

Check out some of the best running jokes including the chicken dance mentioned above.