Do you feel complimented by all the ersatz-”Mad Men” period-shows [like "Playboy Club" and "Pan Am"] that have popped up?
The compliment for me is that the companies that are making them all hated my script! They were so incredibly dismissive to me. Some of the people who were involved in one of these new shows literally rejected me four times. And to see them jumping on the bandwagon, and to see their perception of why the show succeeded, that it was somehow about haircuts and bra cups. On the other hand, part of me is like, I’m in TV, and there have been plenty of period TV shows.
When I grew up, the biggest TV shows were “Happy Days” and “MASH.” I don’t own this concept. And from a writer’s standpoint, any writer who goes through that entire process with a major network and ends up with the show on the air, all they have is my heartfelt congratulations. It is a hard road to hoe. And they don’t need me sitting out here wishing failure on them. I don’t.
But creatively, I’ve got to say, why don’t they take a risk doing something else? This was a huge risk for AMC. No one thought that anyone would give a crap about this show. It had no stars, and we were on a channel with no time slot. It had no audience and this is what happened. I bet most networks have a dozen scripts hanging out there that are bold and amazing and new and they never want to do that. They try to make people do stuff that is already out there.
This is the most interesting thing Eleanor Clift has ever written, imo. It's about her early days at Newsweek where she started out as a secretary Peggy Olson style. Also holy shit she married Montgomery Clift's brother!1
Now that I have finished my marathon of season four and watched the new episode, I can say that I disagree.
He married a genius! That apparent meltdown she had while "cleaning" was nothing short of brilliant. It was a full-on domination role play and intentionally so. She knows what only hookers have previously known about Don and she used it to regain the upper hand after he rejected her.
I was also shocked that he told her the truth about himself. When he gave her Anna's ring at the end of last season, I thought it was a total capitulation to the fantasy of Don Draper, that he was walking away from his attempts earlier in the season to integrate Dick and Don and be a whole human being. Clearly I was wrong, because Megan knows everything.
Other things I adored:
The party. The mixture of people -- from pot smoking beatniks to Don's accountant -- was hilarious. I would love to have been at that party, and not just for the Lola Falana sixtiesness of it.
the whole scene between Lane and Joan. He was so sweet to her and his Zou Bisou imitation was just the best.
Pete Campbell's new suburban home looking pretty much exactly like Don and Betty's old Ossining place.
I think Megan's scene with Peggy when she snapped at her about what she said at the party, when she was actually pissed about Don's reaction to the party, was very Betty-ish.
Don's marrying Megan rings false to me - I could see him eventually marrying Megan, but not this fast. And I don't think it's going to last. They really don't know each other at all (I thought you wanted the white carpet - no I thought you wanted it) and partly because I think Megan is super manipulative. I wonder what the comment that she's a good actress means.
I loved Lane and Joan's scene. I love Joan's glasses. The subplot with Lane and the wallet felt weird to me.
Sady Doyle is SO EXTREMELY HYPERBOLIC THAT SHE WILL LITERALLY BLOW YOUR FACE OFF, so you gots to read the STEALING ICE CREAM thing with that extreme grain of salt.
I have to say, I don't trust that my judgment is relevant because I never got all the hate for Betty Draper. She is a mean, miserable character, but I've always found her sympathetic, because she has plenty of good reasons for it. As such, I'm a little disheartened at the prospect of her undergoing some kind of transformation, which I am scared is what this is all leading to.
I don't know where it's all leading and I'm a terrible predictor of plots, but it seems unlikely to me that Weiner would give up on subtlety and blend the character into a contemptible puree, particularly since the whole storyline was a result of January Jones' unexpected pregnancy rather than a planned out narrative arc.
He's said before in interviews that he has an idea of where things are going, how the show will end. I don't really see him fuxoring that up just to make Betty a fat joke.
I don't get the whole article there, largely because I don't even know what that other show she's talking about is, and also because I don't trust my character and story-parsing because I regularly find the wrong characters sympathetic. In this case, I don't find Don Draper sympathetic at all. When your boyfriend was being all tormented on that show, Id' be like, "No, please, CRY MORE, YOU BIG STUPID BABY. HAHAHAHA." And I always found Betty way more sympathetic, and totally justified in being mean to everyone. So my concern is almost the opposite of hers--I'm worried they're ramping up to give her some Grinch treatment where her heart is going to grow three sizes.
Like I said, though, I do not trust my assessments to have any relevance in the outside world. I'm happy just knowing that I am secretly right.
Yeah, I have to say I have loved and sympathized with Betty since the beginning. My personal idea of hell is being a smart, talented woman whose opportunities are limited to keeping her house and raising her kids, especially when one doesn't necessarily even like raising kids. Remember how appalled we all were when her shrink started calling Don after their sessions? And then when the other doctor talked her out of getting an abortion, because nice married ladies don't do that, and a year later she was divorced? I think every crazy, bitchy thing she's ever done was a totally obvious cry for help or otherwise some kind of lashing out against this situation she is in because she's expected to be, not because she wanted to be.
Putting the fat suit on her only serves to make her even more sympathetic to me, if you can imagine that.
I second vremya's yay for Joan. I assumed that the rape would just be swept under the rug forever once she married the creep. It was great to see her lay him bare with such cold, concise, pinpoint accuracy. Enjoy your second tour, asshole.
I loved all of Sally's scenes. Her phone conversation with Don was funny and cute and so perfectly adolescent. She was awesome with that termagant of a step-grandmother, especially when she reacted to gramma's fucked up story about her abusive father by pointing out that it was fucked up. Also loved that final shot of her sleeping under the couch like the one nurse who survived Speck's murder spree.
Don's fever dream seemed dreamy to me from the beginning. How did she know where he lived if it was the first time she had ever been there? Even so, the strangling was intense.
Cut to the next episode and let's take a moment of silence in honor of Don's impromptu plumbing routine. God that man... Also, slow clap for him not cheating on Megan. to Pete's hooker for getting him in three. She knows her trade.
Speaking of Pete, I can't believe Lane beat him so soundly with that crazy turn-of-the-century boxer pose. I guess his psycho of a father taught him one useful thing.
I'm amazed at how quickly Pete is spiraling downwards. He's always looked very young to me, but when he was hitting on that high school girl, then cavorting with the pro, then getting whupped by Lane, I swear he aged 20 years in an episode. There has been some discussion in the press about whether the falling man in the credits is going to turn out to be Pete. It's looking more and more likely a scenario.
I really like Cosgrove this season. I like his smoking weed with the homos and artists on the balcony at Megan's party, his pact with Peggy, his relationship with his adorable wife, his refusal to dive into the wine-n-dine void like Pete has to such notably awful effect, and that story about Pete and his stereo he wrote at the end.