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Tag: Mad Men (1-10 of 261)

One set, two actors, all dialogue: TV's best 'bottle' episodes

Sunday night’s episode of Masters of Sex, titled “Fight,” was one of the series’ best. It stuck the show’s two main characters, Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant/lover Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), in a single hotel room and then let them batter out their anxieties and anger through flirtation, role play, and sex, all while an actual boxing match rages on TV.

In TV parlance, episodes like “Fight,” where characters are restricted to a few sets, are often called “bottle episodes”—they’re cheaper to make (you don’t have to build new sets or cast guest stars) but they succeed or fail depending on the quality of the writing and the actors’ performances. In other terms, “Fight” was also nearly a “two-hander,” a term borrowed from stage performance that refers to a play in which only two actors appear. READ FULL STORY

Video: Don Draper wants LeBron James to come back to Cleveland

MAD-MEN-LEBRON.jpg

At the end of this month, NBA star LeBron James may or may not leave the Miami Heat and enter free agency. According to outlets like CBS Sports, chances are the Heat’s small forward will stay where he is. But, despite an ugly breakup in 2010, there’s a small chance he could return to his home state and sign with his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James said this week that he hasn’t decided yet, but a new video created by the social media team at Bleacher Report slyly suggests one man who could successfully coax James back to Cleveland: Mad Men’s Don Draper, a man famous for doing lots of successful coaxing. READ FULL STORY

'Halt and Catch Fire': If Don Draper and Walter White met in 1983

Since rebranding itself as a prestige TV showcase with the launch of Mad Men in 2007, AMC has hosted its share of critical gems (Breaking Bad), popular hits (The Walking Dead), and forgettable duds (Low Winter Sun). But its most recent series — The Killing, Hell on Wheels, and Turn — have failed to break out — so there’s some additional pressure on Halt and Catch Fire, which premiered Sunday night.

Set in 1983, the show revolves around Lee Pace’s Joe MacMillan, a dynamic former IBM executive who wants to build a fledgling Dallas-based computer company into an outfit that can go toe to toe with Big Blue. One of the drones in the Dallas office is Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), a “misunderstood genius” whose brilliant vision has earned him nothing but a cubicle and a drinking problem. Together, with the help of Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), a pretty programming punk, they set out to reverse-engineer the IBM PC and mass-produce their own rival product.

The premiere had a lot of information to sift through, characters to establish, and techno-speak to spoon-feed, so it might take a few episodes to determine whether Halt is a keeper. But it’s clear that creators Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers have studied what works and what doesn’t, and at first glance, they’ve borrowed generously from proven winners. In fact, it didn’t take me long after seeing Joe and Gordon at work to think, “They’re Don Draper and Walter White, right?” READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men' at midseason: So much right stuff, yet feeling lost in space

“Waterloo” was one more episode of Mad Men this season that used iconic historical references to imbue the narrative with dread and toy with our pessimistic assumptions about Don Draper and friends (and frenemies). The title—a nod to Napoleon’s last, losing battle—got us worrying that personal agendas would cause Don to sabotage the Burger Chef pitch or Peggy to botch it, or that the forces opposing their self-realization (the Cutler/Lou conspiracy thwarting Don’s atonement; the chauvinist, unjust culture impeding Peggy’s advancement) would win the day.

Instead, with the livelihoods on the line and all eyes watching, Don and Peggy rose to the occasion—chastened Don stayed the course of humility; ascendant Peggy showed she had all the right stuff—much like the astronauts of Apollo 11, whose history-making moon landing on July 20, 1969, a global spectacle watched by 500 million people, provided the episode with its other frame of reference. The portrayal of the media event in “Waterloo” played like a requiem for broadcast TV monoculture. Peggy, in a bit of business genius that caused Don to beam with pride, exploited the moment (and pulled from her life as landlord/surrogate parent to poor, Newark-bound Julio) to add some extra idealistic/maudlin Family of Man flavor to her Burger Chef pitch. Fast food will save the world!

Mad Men’s dramatization of the Apollo 11 mission also reminded us—or if we weren’t alive to witness it, taught us—that Neil Armstrong and company’s trip to the moon was a nail-biting thriller that had the world fretting about whether it would all end in disaster. Watching the Mad Men gang watching television with moon-shot jitters = the Mad Men audience, watching the final season full of worry, or for some of you, certainty, about another Don Draper implosion. Again, I say, this season seems to be interested in tracing the origins of contemporary cultural cynicism, functioning as a Rorschach blot that reflects back to us the degree to which we’ve been infected by it, and, perhaps, challenging its hold. “Do you want your brothers to think like that?” Don asked Sally in response to her “cynical”—Don used the word—response to Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind, a pose she swiped from the cool older boy visiting her home. “No,” she replied, with a smile that suggested she appreciated being called out, especially from her fallen but improving father. She expects him to aspire to a better version of himself; maybe she should do the same. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: 'The Normal Heart' premiere, 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' in theaters, and more

If you aren’t traveling or lying on a beach somewhere for your Memorial Day weekend, you should know that your TV is calling your name, because HBO’s The Normal Heart is finally premiering, not to mention Mad Men’s half-season finale. And as for the rest of your week? Well, you’ve got new music, Angelina Jolie in theaters, the return of reality TV favorite So You Think You Can Dance, and more.

Enjoy your week: READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' hits theaters, 'Mad Men' sort-of finale, and more -- VIDEO

TV finales take over once again this week, with competition shows like The Amazing Race: All-Stars and The Voice saying goodbye to another season and drama Mad Men ending until the current season picks back up in 2015. If you’re tired of TV though, not to fear: X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out in theaters this week, and we’ve also got some recommendations for albums and books to digest when you have some downtime.

So without further ado, here are some suggestions for your pop culture schedule this week:

READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men': Can you accept an optimistic, redemptive end for Don Draper?

The Monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cryptic icons in all of pop culture. Back in the heat of the cultural conversation about the film, moviegoers wanting to crack the secrets of those sleek alien obelisks concerned themselves with many questions about their motive and influence. Do they mean to harm humanity or improve us? Do those who dare engage them flourish and prosper? Or do they digress and regress? To rephrase in the lexicon of Mad Men: Are these catalysts for evolutionary change subversive manipulators like Lou, advancing Peggy with responsibility and money just to trigger Don’s implosion, or are they benevolent fixers like Freddy, rescuing Don from self-destruction and nudging him forward with helpful life coaching? READ FULL STORY

Jon Hamm poses for a selfie with his wax figure doppelganger

Have you seen the new pictures of Jon Hamm staring at his nearly identical suited, silently brooding doppelganger?

What could be mistaken as stills from an upcoming episode of Mad Man — Don is having some existential crisis! — are actually pics from the unveiling of Hamm’s wax figure at New York’s Madame Tussauds on Friday.

The first thing the 43-year-old actor reportedly did when he saw the figure? Took a selfie, according to The Associated Press.

Both Hamms were dressed in sharply tailored grey suits. “This is happenstance, but it is kind of crazy how kind of identical we decided to dress. I’m referring to him as a human being as if he dressed himself,” the real Hamm said. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men': That cult compound looks familiar...

Everything old is new again!

In last night’s Mad Men, Roger and Mona drove upstate to attempt to talk some sense into their daughter, Margaret Martha Marcy May Marlene Marigold, who — surprise! — had joined a commune/cult of sorts. And just moments after the commune setting appeared, the Internet noted that the house looked mighty familiar: It appears to be the same set from the season 1 episode “The Hobo Code,” where viewers saw young Dick Whitman living on a Depression-era farm. Not quite as cool as Dick later moving to the house from the “Thriller” video — but a fun detail nonetheless. READ FULL STORY

Sunday TV showdown: What will you watch?

A Dramacalypse is upon us.

Mad Men. Game of Thrones. The Good WifeOnce Upon a TimeCalifornication, if you’re into that kind of thing. They’re all airing new episodes this Sunday — and so are comedies like Veep and Silicon Valley. And reality staples like The Amazing Race. And the MTV Movie Awards. All this, plus a new hour of NBC’s Believe — what’s a couch potato to do? READ FULL STORY

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