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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 8, 2009 at 3:19 PM

“Mad Men” — better late than never

No Monday-morning blog post on “Mad Men,” because on Labor Day I was too busy not working. And no Tuesday-morning post because I was too busy working. But now, as I get ready to take myself offline for a day (see previous post), a few thoughts on Sunday night’s episode. Whether there will be a Monday-morning post next week depends entirely on whether my Toronto hotel room gets AMC.
— Betty’s parenting continues to leave me breathless — can’t she hear Sally crying for attention? obviously not; that “Go watch TV” was chilling — but we learned a little more context for it: Betty, Gene tells us, was an overweight kid, and her mother would force her to walk home from errands. In an episode almost entirely about parents and children, the Gene/Betty/Sally plotline was the most vivid. The one person paying attention to Sally is gone; the one person whose existence allowed Betty to pretend that she’s still a little girl is gone.
— Likewise, Peggy’s mother’s harsh reaction to her daughter moving to Manhattan seemed shocking, but in retrospect less so. This woman, who adorably calls her daughter “Peaches,” stood by Peggy during the pregnancy/birth plotline, and is terribly worried that her daughter will make a mistake again. It’s easy to forget that the baby ever happened — not a word about it has been said this season — but it’s the unspoken theme in every scene involving Peggy’s family.
— In the restaurant, when Don tried to convince Ho Ho not to throw away his family money on jai alai, were you wondering if Pete was going to throw a glass of water in his face? I was. Nobody does that cat-that-ate-the-canary expression like Vincent Kartheiser, and the idea that his prize catch might be taken away drained all the juice out of him — just for a second.
— Every week, some previously in-the-background player gets a scene in which to shine. Last week, it was the actress playing Harry’s wife Jennifer; this week, it was Sarah Drew as Sal’s wife Kitty, desperately trying to seduce her disinterested husband — and realizing, like a bolt from the blue, why she’s not succeeding. Will they ever be able to talk about it? Or, like seemingly every other couple on this show, will they just continue to not talk about the wall between them?
— Joan is the smartest person at Sterling Cooper. Hands down. Her ad copy for Peggy, tossed off in a few seconds, was genius. Who wants to see Joan lose the husband and start her own ad agency?
Talk among yourself, dear readers. I’ll be back online Thursday.

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