Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mad Men Episode #9 (Season 4): The Beautiful Girl

Why Man Men Episode #9 (Season 4) Worked:
  • Miss Blankenship dying at her desk. Nice unexpected touch of black humor.
  • The artfully directed scene shot from the glassed-in conference room where an important client meeting was taking place while in the background staffers frantically tried tossing a blanket over Miss Blankenship (still dead) and wheeling her in a chair to another room, just so the meeting wouldn't be disturbed. More black humor, expertly served.
  • Soundtrack of Petula Clark's "Downtown" during the bar scene. The use of music in "Mad Men" is never overdone, very subtle and always pitch-perfect.
  • The way the uncomfortable but necessary topic of social issues that defined the 60s keeps bubbling up in the script. It's not heavy-handed but it keeps reminding viewers of the change that was about to sweep over the country far from the boundaries of Madison Avenue.
  • Roger and Joan making love against a wall on a dark street after the holdup. An unexpected development (for me at least....I thought Joan would know better by now).
  • Kiernan Shipka's acting as the rapidly unraveling Sally. Well done. This girl will get work. (But let's hope she doesn't turn into the next Lindsay Lohan.)
  • The last shot of Peggy, Faye and Joan standing wordlessly in the office. Was a very simple scene but it had a lasting effect on me.
Why Mad Men Episode # 9 (Season 4) Didn't Work:
  • Scenes with Faye. I don't think Cara Buono (Faye) has the chops to carry the role. And I don't think the role is written well.
  • Peggy's friendship with her lesbian friend Joyce. Not sure where this is heading and at this point it feels like an unnecessary plot point.
Overall Grade for Mad Men Episode # 9 (Season 4):
  • B-. Solid but lacking some of the intensity of the office politics that propel this series to great heights.

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