Category: Review

Review: Mad Men – Ep. 302 – Love Among the Ruins

You’re not an artist, you solve problems.”

Don Draper is showing continued signs of his classic self-loathing and some new seeds of resentment regarding where his life seems to be heading with this week’s episode. His stinging statement putting Peggy in her place within the walls of Sterling Cooper says more about how he’s viewing his own role within the changing battleground of the now British-owned Madison Avenue office. The not-so-subtle dig also belies his notes of jealousy towards her rising place in the company, the ad business in general, and the free-wheeling possibilities of single life, even though Don would be the last to admit those types of feelings toward a woman and would certainly be hesitant to ever admit seeing himself in her.

Painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, inspired by Robert Browning's poem of the same name
Painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, inspired by Robert Browning's poem of the same name

Although it could be argued that Don is now actively turning more attention toward his family because he’s beginning to see the true importance it has in his life over his work. The title of this episode takes itself from a poem by Robert Browning where the author concludes that love, a true feeling and emotion, is endless and more prominent than any material object or sin – that present love is worth more than past glories.

Returning from his soul-searching trek (escape?) to California last year Don has a resolve to change his attitude and play a more active role in his family’s life, making concerted efforts to have a strong presence in his fatherly and husbandly duties including attending little Sally’s school field day and taking the reins in wife Betty’s dispute with her brother on the best care for their father.  However his steps toward future family harmony are still peppered with his urge/need to hold onto the past – he’s accepting the inevitability of change even though he’s not completely sure he’s happy about it.

And change was all over this episode. The changing atmosphere of the world with the burgeoning ideas of feminism in Peggy’s views on how products sold to women need ad campaigns with a female gaze in mind rather than a male and her own approach toward “dating.” The change in familial dynamics with Betty’s aging, senile father having to be treated like a child. The change in the landscape of New York City with the development of Madison Square Garden knocking down the historic architecture of Penn Station, and most noteworthy on the horizon one of the biggest changes to the entire world’s landscape — the day President Kennedy is assassinated, shown here as being one day before the scheduled wedding date for Roger Sterling’s daughter and will be, I suspect, the closing events of this season’s finale.

Review: Project Runway Season 6 Premiere Extravaganza

Project Runway - Every Thursday on Lifetime, 10/9c

Project Runway made a triumphant 3-hour (or 3.5 if you really want to give credit to PR‘s models) return this week, and beginning the night with two hours of all-stars was well-played. Within two seconds I felt the warm embrace of an old friend seeing the montage of NYC skyline shots, contestant bios/recaps and of course the reunion of contestants with mentor-extraordinaire Tim Gunn and at-least-she’s-not-as-horrible-as-other-reality-show-hosts-*cough*Samantha Harris*cough* Heidi Klum.

The all-star line-up consisted of all my personal faves and not one of them disappointed in bringing the “character” they were known for in addition to designing talent since all were near or in the finals, three being runners-up and one a winner, in their respective seasons. Giving them a week to put together three cohesive looks, and dropping a fourth challenge mid-way through, perfectly re-introduced PR to the world. Some noteworthy musings:

  • Who knew Santino had another level? He really turned up the all-star cocky on this one.
  • I suppose when one such as Jeffrey adds rockstar to his resume one must add a rocking Vilage People handlebar ‘stache as well.
  • Nicole Kidman and Tim Gunn are besties! Who else really wants to see that spin-off happen?
  • Not to be outdown in celeb BFFs, Chris indulged in some stellar name-dropping – “I took Beyonce’s body mold.” “Prince wore some of my sparkly pants.” “Nikki-K came by for a sleepover.”
  • On the topic of stellar Chris moves, that whole “narcolepsy” thing of his – big time strategy to throw off the competition, even though he’s totally unaware of what he’s doing.
  • Missed the workrooms at Parsons, and Timmy was totally not prepared for the new digs either, that 500 lb door nearly killed him! Someone in the production crew should be reminded that our dear design diva is delicate.

Lifetime sure did pull out all the stops with this re-introduction of PR, displaying huge levels of kiss-assery with “stars” of their original programming welcoming the new (and most popular) kid in town as well as pushing their target-demo appealing shows (okay, so it worked and I will succumb to checking out Drop Dead Diva – did someone know Margaret Cho was on this and forgot to inform me?).

The official season premiere was not without its own new, interesting characters including Ra’mon, a former neurosurgeon student who left his medical studies to pursue his life’s true passion of bringing beauty into the world. Not to cry foul on this backstory, and never denying that I discarded my own pre-med hopes the second year of undergrad, does someone really go so far as to reach the level of “neurosurgeon student” and then completely abandon all of that time/effort/money spent? Also, does that title even exist? Aren’t you a multi-discipline med student first and then become a neurosugeon resident/candidate? Perhaps its a debate of semantics, but I’m quite skeptical of this Ra’mon (if that’s even your real name) and wonder if his penchant for questionable embellishments will translate to his designs.

Also on-deck, but not past episode 1 (sorry, spoilers happen here), was Ari of the Mad Max Beyond Waterworld post-apocalyptic school of fashion. Her “hexagonal tessellation” Mylar mini-“dress” did not win any points with the panel of judges, not even guest judge Lindsay Lohan (when did she become a hyphenate: actress-singer?). And L-squared had very little to contribute in terms of any constructive/interesting commentary, maintaining what she must call a poker face but what I call a longing gaze that screamed, “who’s gonna help me get my next score!”

Overall there were the expected amount of tears, drama and it was all topped off with the best treat – an unfinished product walking the runway. So far no one stands out in such areas like “Most Likely to Waste Time by Complaining or Doubting Yourself Then Sending out a Practically Nude Model,” or “Worst Dressed” (could anyone top tanorexic Blaine’s odd collection) or “Most Likely to Cry at EVERYthing” (ay papi Ricky, nut up or shut up).

Regarding Models of the Runway, after 30 seconds I just couldn’t do it. The first gem of a soundbyte, “It was like something a spaceman from…space would wear.” Snark seems almost unfair.