Smart Pick of the Week/Forever:

Mad Men

Thank you, Matthew Weiner.


Elisabeth Moss Finds Her 10

Even the briefest skim of my Mad Men coverage on this blog will reveal my undying love for all things Peggy Olson. You can imagine my delight at being able to sit with the actress who plays her and chat about The Heidi Chronicles, a thoughtful Broadway revival of a thought-provoking feminist play. Assuage your grief over the imminent end of Mad Men by checking out my Backstage cover story featuring Elisabeth Moss! She’s just the best.

Elisabeth Moss

Photo Source: Chad Griffith

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Oscars 2015 Recap: The Broadcast’s Most Emotional Moment

First of all, let’s get best dressed out of the way:

Emma Stone

Emma Stone blew everybody out of the water (and got covered in seaweed?) with this chartreuse Elie Saab number

My initial reaction: “What is that, seaweed?? WTF she looks like an alien!” Second reaction: “Ohmygosh it’s like. Seaweed. Like sexy glamorous seaweed. She’s a sexy glamorous bug-eyed alien.” By the end of the night: “Wait, everybody at this year’s Oscars is dressed so conservatively and here’s Emma Stone, national treasure, resident alien supermodel, dressed in a wildly unusual and eye-catching color. Not only does nobody else on this carpet stand out like she does, nobody in all of awards season dared to wear something as bizarre and striking as this! And look at that face!! She freaking KNOWS. All hail, bitches!!!”

Anyway. Patricia Arquette’s speech was great, and Meryl and JLo’s joint reaction was even better. I’m happy for Julianne, I don’t really have words for what happened with Menzel and Travolta, and seeing Julie Andrews did my heart good. The ceremony was full of some unexpectedly cathartic moments; in defiance of #OscarsSoWhite we were treated to a rousing performance of Selma‘s “Glory” followed by an unabashedly political speech from John Legend and Common. Here’s hoping the Academy can pull their head out of their asses a bit more and open their minds to films that aren’t only biopics centering on brilliant misunderstood white dudes.

But for me, I must admit, the most emotional part of the broadcast – tears spring to my eyes just thinking about it – came somewhere in the middle….


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Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E6, “The Strategy”

SPOILER ALERT: “You can’t tell people what they want. It has to be what you want.”

Mad Men

The closing scene from this week’s episode of Not The Sopranos

If you’re someone who has never seen an episode of Mad Men (ya poor soul) and wanted to watch just one to see what it’s all about, “The Strategy” might be it. In many ways it seemed to revisit well-trodden ground – Women struggling for respect in the workplace! The dissolution of the American family! – but the penultimate installment in this penultimate set of episodes offers some of the most wonderfully layered writing in the show’s history, as well as the slightest suggestion of evolution. That is, if the central question of Mad Men is “Can people change?”, it’s now maybe potentially conceivably sort of perchance kinda possible that the answer could be… yes.

Because although Peggy being coerced into not delivering her own Burger Chef pitch is another exhausting example of the glass ceiling, this time Don decidedly isn’t standing in her way. Continue reading

Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E5, “The Runaways”

SPOILER ALERT: A teeny bit of blood goes a long way on Mad Men.

AMC's Mad Men

“A belated Valentine’s Day present! xoxo” – Ginsberg

Everything you need to know about this episode of Mad Men can be summed up by the look on Don Draper’s face as his wife leans in to kiss another woman. Or maybe it’s the look on Jim Cutler’s face when Don marches into a meeting with Commander Cigarettes he wasn’t supposed to know about. Or poor Peggy, reacting with horror and revulsion to what is surely this show’s most disturbing twist. It’s the same face I wore for the majority of “The Runaways,” a face perhaps best described as:

The fuck??

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E3, “Field Trip” & S7E4, “The Monolith”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s getting real on Mad Men. And like Don getting his shit together, recaps are better late than never.

Mad Men

“OMG Don you look so great, how was your vacay??” said no one at this meeting

“I wish it was yesterday.” Tell me about it, Bobby Draper. Welcome to the real world.

So much happened in the third episode of Mad Men’s final season, turns out I needed a whole week to process it. (For this week’s episode, click on!) Between the almost certain demise of Don’s marriage to his reentry into the agency – to say nothing of Betty drinking fresh milk from a pail! – this installment could have easily passed as a season finale knockout. With only four episodes to go in the (half-)season, it’s hard not to wonder if each will include quite as much defecation hitting the fan.

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S3E2, “A Day’s Work”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s Valentine’s Day on Mad Men.

Mad Men

Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) discover their french fries are cold. So are their feelings.

“Just tell the truth,” Sally tells Don. And then, miraculously, he does.

A lot can happen in a day’s work, and a lot does in “A Day’s Work,” the second installment of the penultimate season of Mad Men. (I’m calling bullshit on AMC’s seven-episodes-this-year, seven-episodes-next-year crap. It’s seasons 7 and 8, smartass.) The show’s writing is in top form, and seems poised to show off each cast member’s unique talents. This week we were served high-stakes office politics, petty office politics, and a whole lot of kickass character development in one of Mad Men’s most fascinating and crucial relationships.

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