This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

About that "Mad Men" premiere

Posted by: James Lileks under Praise, Technology Updated: April 8, 2013 - 12:12 PM

That was good.

What, more? Okay. I’m looking forward to another season of a TV show I like. There. That’s my recap. There’s no point in anyone other than Matt Zoller Seitz doing a recap, and I’ll provide a link in a second, because I’m not here to make people leave the Strib website as soon as possible, am I?

I wasn’t fond of the finale for last season, possibly because “You Only Live Twice” is a remarkable song, and they didn’t seem to earn it. Felt like a early “Lost” show-closing montage, where the music elevated the scenes above their actual content. They’re gathering wood! It’s so emotional. I remember thinking how we’ve come to expect so much from Season Finales - even though the twists and turns and character revelations are rarely anything more than the commonplace sorrows of normal life. This character cheats; this character is on the way up while the other is on the down; something unexpectedly pleasant happens to a character you don’t take seriously but wouldn’t mind liking more; someone dies. Whether or not you care depends on the setting as much as the storytelling and acting, I suspect. I am absolutely certain that “Downton Abbey” is fine television that deserves every accolade, but the setting has no interest for me, so when someone talks about X dying from the Scottish Palsy or Y having a baby or Z running away with a maid, I couldn’t care less. 

But since I love the period in which “Mad Men” is set - or used to be set; 1967 is when things start to get shaggy and ugly - then it’s must-see viewing. But it’s not just cosplay for Vintage enthusiasts. It is quite a remarkable show when it’s at its best, and Matt Zoller Seitz has been explaining its virtues better than anyone.

Some thoughts:

- That opening shot: the spider hanging over the body; you think: Don’s had a heart attack. The episode will end with this scene.

 

But no. Or will it? The opening lines tell us that we’re in Dante’s Inferno, but that doesn’t end with Dante having a heart attack; it ends with Dante and Virgil crawling out of Satan’s frozen hindquarters, if memory serves, so unless the show concludes in Alaska that’s probably not going to happen.

 - Megan’s observation about the soap-opera fan who recognizes in her Hawaii: That woman’s from Minnesota. I didn’t even know they had the show there.”

 - Roger’s two-glass vodka rub-hug, with “cheers” to Mom: the premiere needed lots of Roger, and did not stint. Here is the rub-hug in GIF form.

A show with Roger only would be a comedy. It would last one season. A drama with Roger is, well, “Mad Men” - a show that’s really a comedy half the time with a dark edge provided by the guy who’s also comic relief.

- Best pre-barf expression so far:

 

Don’s hawking up into the umbrella stand: the curse of the modern era is that you know it will be a GIF on Buzzfeed within minutes. In the next  scene, when he drunkenly interrogates the resuscitated doorman for proof of the afterlife: it’s as animated as Don has been in the entire episode, aside from telling his staff that LOVE probably doesn’t fit with a Dow Chemical oven cleaner. He’s been sleepwalking the entire episode, stunned, remote, a passive passenger in his own life.

Oh: the OPG, or Obligatoru Puking GIF, here.

- Megan says: “You’ll still love me if I’m a lying, cheating whore?” Reminds you how she remarked that having sex on weed was great. And she would know . . . how, exactly.

- Seitz’ piece uncovers the Tonight Show comic they were talking about: Milt Kamen.

 

 

- Finally, here’s a real KOSS ad from 1971, four years later.

 

 

Why do all the clients of the ad agency seem fundamentally incapable of grasping anything about ads? Even if they get it, it seems after they’re liking the ads for shallow reasons, unable to get what Peggy or Don has created.

Anyway: liked it. Glad it’s back.

 

US For some reason Buzzfeed has a list of 38 things Minnesotans are Too Nice to Brag About. In includes the “Praire Home Companion” and Prince but not Spam. Hmm.

 

MY NAME IS URL Here’s a real website devoted to fake websites from TV shows. You know, that strange alternate reality where people use Boogle or Ging to search for something, and the computer has a pear logo. A compilation:

 

It’s part of a larger subject: why do TV and movies get computers wrong? All the time? Whenever someone calls up a site on TV, it never looks right. Whenever someone “hacks” into the “mainframe” on a movie about devious tentacular conspiracies, the government-run computer interfaces look stylish and up-to-date, unlike the Windows 97 interfaces that probably runs on most of them. Which made me think about . . . Mozart’s Ghost.

In the 90s movie “The Net,” one of the early examples of movies where people “jacked in” to the “cyberworld” of the internet, Sandra Bullock got a CD-ROM promoting a band called “Mozart’s Ghost,” which was the gnarliest band on the internet or something. The interface had a hidden “Hyperlink” that would take you to a site where you could download the entire FBI database, or something like that. I’m sure a progress bar was included, to help you know how much of the database remained at your 56K speed.

  

 

ART Arrested for taking a picture of something and posting it on Instagram? Yes.

Montreal artist Jennifer Pawluck, 20, was arrested yesterday morning after posting a photo of a piece of anti-police street art on Instagram several days earlier. "I was walking around the neighborhood. My friend told me to look and I took a photo of it," Pawluck said. "I never made any threat or anything, so I don't really regret it. They're the ones who freaked out." But Montreal police doesn't take Instagram uploads lightly: "All I can say is that a person has been arrested for making threats on the internet," said police spokesperson Dany Richer.

There you have it: reproducing a public image is now a threat. I’d reproduce the image, but they might block the Strib site for incitement.

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