Sunday, March 25, 2012

The MAD MEN Awards

Joan, right before she delivers the Best Line
Mad Men Season 5 starts in six hours, but who's counting? Me, me, me. The social media outlets have been abuzz this week (the only people who weren't thinking about, writing about, or analyzing The Hunger Games were those thinking about, writing about, or analyzing Mad Men), catching people up, editing Don-Draper seduction tally videos, telling us how to drink like the fellows, and so on. I'm no less preoccupied.

In fact, although we watched every other season on DVD, this time (blame it on the hiatus) I shelled out a week early for cable, just so we could watch with the rest of America and not have to plug our ears or shield our eyes whenever a spoiler came up. Mad Men with commercial breaks! What a concept. And do advertisers feel pressure not to run their lamest commercials when Mad Men airs? Do they shelve the boring car ads or make the embarrassing ED spots more clever? (If you've never been subjected to an "erectile dysfunction" commercial, you must not be a Mariners fan. Judging by the ads, seemingly many M's fans suffer from ED, from which I think a winning baseball season might cure them just as effectively. But I digress.)

The point of this post, however, was my own Christina's Choice Awards. Feel free to weigh in or to disagree in the Comments!

******************WARNING! Spoilers galore!**********************

1. Best Episode. Had to be Peggy's birthday in Season 4. I love Peggy, for one thing. I love her relationship with Don, for another. They know each other's crap and they tell it to each other straight. Don has got to figure out that Peggy is the only woman who really, really knows him and doesn't just take whatever he dishes out without fighting back. 1st Runner-Up: Don and Betty in Rome. Loved that episode and was so sad they went back downhill upon returning.

2. Best Betty Moment. This is a tough one because Betty has so many awesome ones. But my fave has to be when she shot the neighbor's birds, cigarette dangling from her lip. Because sometimes being a housewife with young children just makes you want to kill something innocent.

3. Most Hated Ho-Bag. Don's had his share of them--women willing to do whatever, say whatever, put up with whatever, just to sleep with him. But there's no competition in my mind: I hated the schoolteacher. What kind of woman finds out her young student is struggling with her grandfather's death, and then goes on to sleep with that student's father??? As if Sally didn't have enough on her plate emotionally, without a broken home??? No one else even comes close.

4. Best Line. A tie! But they both occurred in the same episode, "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency" in Season 3. After the poor sap gets run over by the John Deere, Roger eyes the clean-up and comments, "It looks like Iwo Jima out there." Later on, when Joan and Don are at the hospital, Joan says, "One minute you're on top of the world, and the next, some secretary runs over you with a lawn mower." So true.

5. Character You Just Wish Would Go Away Permanently. Gotta be the creepy neighbor boy that Betty was so weird about. I know he's related to Matthew Weiner, so I don't think I'll get my wish...

6. Character You Wish Would Come Back. I'm hoping Betty relents toward Carla, so I'm not going to pick Carla. I am so very, very sorry they killed off Miss Blankenship. Who else could resist Don and greet him with such lines as, "Are you going to the toilet?"

7. Most Squirmy Moment. Lots and lots of them, and just about all of them involve Don. I so hated when he came on to his California wife's niece because that's how he handles every emotion. I hated every minute of his swimming and journaling. I hated how he treated Faye and how willing she was to compromise herself for him. I hated when Don was out in California and hanging with the bizarre druggy people with the swimming pool.

8. What I hope for Seasons 5 and 6. I really, really hope Season 6 is the end. Quit while you're ahead. Have a narrative arc. (One of the reasons I abandoned Downton Abbey after one season was that I thought it was a discrete story, not an ongoing period soap.) Give Peggy a partnership. Let Betty get better and be happy with Henry. Let Don fall for someone with backbone and principles. I, for one, hope that woman is Peggy. Let Joan's husband turn out to be decent at something. I guess I'm asking for an ending, and a happy one.

Meet you at the online water cooler after the show!


  1. As we began to watch the premiere after church tonight, I had the awful feeling that now Don is married to someone else...he'll want to have an affair with Betty. Squirmy moment, indeed.

  2. Whew! After that episode, looks like he's not thinking of Betty much..!

  3. Oh--and for those of you who couldn't get enough of the 2nd Mrs. Draper's "Zou Bisou" song, check out this spoof of the genre by Flight of the Conchords:

    Ou est la bibliotheque? Voila mon passe-port.

  4. All of your points were fine - except #6. I don't really care when Mad Men ends. I think it can stay good for awhile. So many changes are coming to America in the next few years - feminism, civil rights - and I'd love to see how the show handles them. Some may say "well, the civil rights movement started in the 1950s, why is Mad Men so late?" Simple: because they're up North. The North didn't have those glaring (and easy to fix) problems like the South - the subway was never segregated, for instance. Of course it had problems, but those were only really seen until after Southern problems were "dealt with". Riots in Northern cities - Newark, Detroit - in 1967 definitely helped.

    But the point that I really have trouble with is the suggestion that Don should end up with Peggy. The two of them should NEVER end up together. Peggy hit on Don in the first episode - because she thought that was what she was supposed to do - and after Don turned her down, their relationship began to develop into something a lot more interesting. Bringing them together romantically would do a disservice to both of their characters. It would be a huge step backwards for Peggy, and wouldn't really do much for Don. It's interesting to examine the relationships that Don has with the two major female characters at SCDP, Peggy and Joan. While it's unclear whether Joan and Don were ever involved, I'm inclined to say they weren't. I would love to see more interaction between the two of them.

    One more thing: Joan's husband can go to h**l. He can get killed in Vietnam with Sharon Ann Lane for all I care. He raped her. In her office. Mad Men is not General Hospital: women don't fall in love with their rapists (I'm looking at you, Laura)

    Karen from Brooklyn, NY

  5. Peggy "wouldn't really do much for Don"?! I think Peggy is the only woman whom Don sees as a PERSON, rather than a sexual object. He's always liked smart women, but the smart women seem to leak brains when they get involved with him. Maybe you're right--he wouldn't do anything for Peggy, and I'd hate to have her leak brains.
    Thanks for your comments! Can't wait to see what happens this season.