Marion on May 10th, 2015

The biggest tease

Wanted to post this BEFORE the penultimate episode of Mad Men airs on Sunday, May 10th (which of course I’ll be recapping for HNTP).

The next creative director at McCann-Ericsson?

Mad Men is the biggest tease on television. It frustrates us by throwing out hints about where things are going, and then not going there. This constant business of creating expectation and then subverting it is at the same time awesome. It’s sweet and sour. It’s slap and tickle. It’s like the entire series is one long Pine Barrens episode. Hell, many of us are still waiting for the return of Salvatore Romano. There’s no question that the showrunner, Matt Wiener, is aware of the various theories and enjoys misdirecting us and/or acknowledging our speculations.

The Draper icon falling through the air in the opening credits has led to speculation that sooner or later someone – most likely Don though for a while it looked like it would be Pete – was going to go out a window or fall off a terrace. But now Don works in an office where the windows don’t open, and he’s sold the apartment with the terrace. It’s not going to happen. We can also pretty much rule out Megan’s either being Sharon Tate or being killed in a Sharon Tate like manor. It’s 1970 and the Manson family has been mentioned, so Megan’s Tate-identical tee-shirt, and comments about her isolated Valley home were all part of an elaborate con. We know that Don is not Read the rest of this entry »

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Marion on May 7th, 2015
The main problem with Blood Will Out is Walter Kirn, who comes off as a guy you really wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with. He’s never heard a name he didn’t want to drop. I couldn’t figure out by the end if he was actually a very canny writer, aware of his vanity, narcissism, and obliviousness and meant to portray himself as an unreliable narrator, or whether he really doesn’t get it and thinks his “friendship” with “Clark Rockefeller” and gullibility are great mysteries he hasn’t quite solved. The thing is at first “the relationship” angle is what drew me in. I was interested in the meet cute story of driving a disabled rescue dog across the country, partly as a favor, an partly to meet an eccentric scion of a wealthy well known family. In retrospect Kirn’s obliviousness to the animal’s suffering is an early clue to his own character — or lack thereof. By the time, I got to the part where “Clark” describes himself as resembling Niles from Fraser, and Kirn uses that to tell us more than we needed to know about his Read the rest of this entry »

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Marion on May 6th, 2015

As we near our end (Can you say antepenultimate?) episodes are becoming increasingly self-referencing and movie/style references are getting louder. My recap of this week’s episode is finally up at Happy Nice Time People. It was delayed due to travel and indirectly because apparently a lot of hotel cable packages don’t include AMC. Who knew?

Don is on the move west. Where will he stop? My money is on San Francisco. Why there as opposed to LA? Mostly because San Francisco, per Oscar Wilde, is where people who disappear are said to show up and that would be perfect for Don or Dick or Bill or whatever identity he takes next.  I’m hoping he falls out of no window, no terrace or bridge. For god’s sake, he’s an ad man, not a broken bad meth manufacturer or a mafia kingpin. But perhaps I’ll give you more ending speculation another time.

Meantime, catch my full recap when it’s up. Really, am I the ONLY recapper to notice the very specific North by Northwest references in the last episode? I’m talking about da plane da plane, and the cornfield he’s driving through at the end, and of course the fact that from Racine Wisconsin to St Paul, Minnesota the direction is uh north by northwest.


Marion on April 25th, 2015

We made it to the first performance this season of Verdi’s Un Ballo In Maschera. It will probably be the last opera we see live till the fall, and what a great way to end our Met year.

As those of you who have followed “idiots at the opera” know, the better-half and I are musical ignoramuses who came late to opera (but NEVER come late to the opera.) So don’t expect any fancy-dancy (or technically correct) descriptions of the music.

Dmitri & Piotr together at last!

First, we were unfamiliar with the opera – musically, the story, the history, etc. But we mostly love Italian opera and we love Verdi. The main reason why we actually got tickets in advance and shelled out for good seats was because of the singers. I went to hear Dmitri Hvorostvsky – my favorite baritone, and tenor Piotr Beczala, who is so good that even when the production is misconceived (Atomic Faust, Rat Pack Rigoletto) or just plain drab (Eugene Onegin, Iolanta) he makes it worth going. He also seems to get character nuances that other “singing actors” miss – body language, posture, gestures etc. He never seems stiff on stage, and manages to differentiate his characters. As for Sondra Radvanovsky, I am such an ignoramus I hadn’t heard her before and had barely heard of her. What a complete treat it was to be introduced to her in role she seemed born to sing.

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My much too detailed snarky recap of The Americans S3 – E13 is now live at HNTP. I know you’ve been waiting patiently for many hours to relive the moment and get my take, OR just to read it so you don’t have to watch yourself.

Spoiler alert: Were you shocked by Paige’s betrayal? Or did you see it coming? This pretty much makes the Russians 0 for 2 in their next generation program, but at least she hasn’t slaughtered her family — yet. No wonder they lost the Cold War. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if it turned out Pastor Tim was also KGB or maybe working for the Chinese? Next season just got a whole lot more interesting. Also, now that the mujahdin have been discredited thanks to some good work by Philip and Elizabeth, does this mean we can please drop the need to bug Kimmi’s house and thus drop the icky subplot — which the writers seemed to have dropped already.

Anyway, happy nice time people!