So much to talk about after the girl power festival that was Sunday night TV. Let’s jump right in.
MAD MEN SEASON PREMIERE: The supersize season opener was titled “A Little Kiss” – a reference to Megan’s performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou”?? We’re in the mid-1960s – 1965 or 1966 and the civil rights movement is a major happening. Showrunner Matthew Weiner says one of the themes this season is “Every man for himself.”
–Don and Megan were one of the focal points of the episode and we saw that they have a gorgeous new apartment in Manhattan. Like most viewers, I had apartment envy as I watched the opening scene and then the party scene. We also saw that their new-ish marriage has affected SCDP too as Megan is now a copywriter working with Peggy’s team.
–Megan’s performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou” at Don’s surprise party; the French pop song has been recorded in the past (click over to Vulture.com to read about the song’s history) but you can purchase this version on iTunes if you liked it. The entire party scene was a study in misjudgment. When Don and Megan arrived home to find Roger & Jane waiting at their door, giving away the surprise party, the dismay on Don’s face was apparent. His frozen smile once they entered the apartment was him just trying to get through the night. I love that Don didn’t utter a word when Peggy and her boyfriend walked over to talk to them. Megan’s performance confirmed her again as a trophy wife, Don’s arm candy, and I think Roger Sterling’s toast to Don summed it up well when he said, “The only thing worse than not getting what you want…is someone else getting it.” You had to love Roger when he asked his young wife Jane, “Why don’t you sing to me like that?” and she replied, “Why don’t you look like that?”
–Even though Megan is working with Peggy as a copywriter at SCDP, it’s clear the crew isn’t taking her seriously, as evidenced by Harry Crane’s crude remarks about her in the company kitchen, which Megan happened to overhear.
–Don says he doesn’t care about work, he only cares about Megan, which is surprising, given what we know about Don. In the past, he’s shown that he likes the infatuation stage with women but after sex, he loses some enthusiasm. Look at that scene after the party when Don told her not to waste money on parties for him and then that he doesn’t need to be the center of attention and Megan replied that she thought he loved the party. She may be married to him but she doesn’t know him nearly as well as she thinks she does.
–The scene in which Megan leaves work early after getting upset at the SCDP crowd for their sarcastic attitudes, which then makes Don leave work early to check up on her. Megan starts to clean up, clad only in her black lacy underwear. Riddle me this: how long can Megan’s sexual power over Don last? How long until he gets bored? I know she’s young, hot and French, but is this marriage made to last? Of course not.
–Peggy: She’s still one of the smartest people at SCDP and she’s learning to be more political but she still misjudges when to pipe up and when to keep quiet, as evidenced by her remark about working on the weekend at Don’s party. Though she blamed it on alcohol, I think Peggy still hasn’t completely absorbed Don’s lesson of “that’s what the money is for.” I loved watching Peggy pitch the Heinz execs the bean ballet idea and the ensuing disappointment when the pitch didn’t go over well. Elisabeth Moss gives a beautifully tempered performance as Peggy’s maturity deepens over the seasons; Peggy saved her commentary for after the clients departed, when she could find out why Don didn’t support the idea.
–Joan Harris – The most powerful woman at SCDP is now the mother of a bouncing baby boy named Kevin. He’s the result of her tryst with Roger Sterling (after the mugging last season) but mum’s the word about that, as Joan’s hubby Greg is off doctoring in Vietnam. I doubt we’ll see much of Greg. As usual, Christina Hendricks as Joan commanded attention as she returned to SCDP, baby in tow, in a hot pink dress no less, and found that the company still needs her, much to her relief. There was a delicate dance going on as some of the secretaries and Megan cooed over the baby, but Peggy begged off holding the baby saying “My hands are dirty.” Roger held the baby for just a moment without getting sappy. Pete did what he could to avoid the kid and it made me wonder if he holds his own child.
–Lane Pryce – Jared Harris is so wonderful in this role and he got to shine in the telephone flirting scene with the mysterious Dolores and then the very sweet scene with a teary Joan who thinks she’s going to be displaced at SCDP and is relieved to find out Lane has no intention of doing such a thing. How could you not smile when the girl on the phone said to him, “Where are you from? You sound just like Cary Grant.” And Lane replied, “Midtown.”
–Pete and Roger – Roger had so many funny moments in this episode but watching him irritate Pete Campbell was a highlight. First at the client lunch when Roger asked the clients to arrive early without telling Pete and then Pete screwing with Roger by putting a fake 6am appointment with Coca-Cola in his calendar to screw with Roger. The office issue also resulted in great humor as Roger told Harry to switch offices with Pete, gave him some cash to get him to agree, and then Harry tried to maintain leverage over Roger. A truly funny scene. Watching Pete maneuver to get a better office – Roger’s office ideally – it made me wonder if we’ll ever see any flashbacks to Don Draper as a young account executive. In past seasons, we saw how he met Roger and got him to give him a job, but we never saw Don in his early days at Sterling Cooper. Pete is feeling his oats and I’m watching and waiting for push to come to shove as he butts heads with Roger.
–In case you were wondering, there is a new actor playing Bobby. Matthew Weiner says it’s because the kids keep growing too fast so they have to recast. Thankfully, Kiernan Shipka remains in the role of Sally Draper, Daddy’s little girl.
–The song that closed the episode: Dusty Springfield’s dramatic ballad “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” – I’m still mulling over what this song means for Don and Megan.
THE GOOD WIFE: “Blue Ribbon Panel” – Matthew Perry started his arc as attorney Mike Kresteva, heading up the blue ribbon panel and immediately discovering that Alicia Florrick will not go along to get along. I loved how Perry’s character started out friendly and affable and slowly but surely, a hard edge crept into his voice and demeanor. It was ever so subtle. It’s great to see Perry onscreen and though we came to love him as a comedic actor, he’s best served when he plays characters that have a real sharpness to them.
Alicia – What a moment when she stormed back into the IRS meeting room and told the webcam and whoever was behind it to call her office, not work through intermediaries. I’m still mystified by Alicia’s desire to buy her old house. I get the emotional connection of when her kids were young but that still seems like going in reverse. The second best Alicia moment: the final scene when she went to talk to Jackie Florrick at the beauty salon. It killed me when they cut to black at the end of the episode.
Kalinda – again using her sexual power to mess with FBI agent Lana Delaney (played by ROYAL PAINS’ Jill Flint) and showing Lana that two can play this game. I’m dying to see how this power struggle plays out.
SMASH: “The Coup” was an episode in which every bad element of the show was emphasized: Ellis, Karen trying to be sexy again, bowling. The scene that almost redeemed the hour: Derek and Tom having it out about their rocky past and we learned why they don’t get along.
HOUSE OF LIES: The unraveling continues as Marty Caan thought he had a pal in company partner Stern but then he got screwed. The finale is this Sunday and it’s a good thing because the show is starting to feel drawn out.
SHAMELESS: I still have mixed feelings about this show because there’s so little hope for personal redemption for the Gallaghers. Then again, I’m not sure they care about redemption or anything but day to day survival. I winced watching Chloe Webb as Monica Gallagher, the kids’ bi-polar mom who became suicidal; the moment when the kids discovered her hiding under the stairs was so sad, but not as awful as when she slit her wrists in the kitchen. Karen had her baby, which turned out not to be Lip’s kid, and then the baby wound up being snatched by Karen’s mom Sheila. Nice to see Steve/Jimmy and Fiona kiss and I hope they wind up together in this Sunday’s season finale because they’re one of the best elements in the show.
JIMMY KIMMEL TO HOST THE EMMYS: Love this choice. Hope he gets to do the show he wants to do, complete with sketches and videos. He may be the only one who can rival the job Jimmy Fallon did hosting the show.
EARLY ONLINE PREVIEWS: THE BIG C, NURSE JACKIE and THE BORGIAS season premieres are online now on Showtime’s YouTube page, and you can watch ABC’s new comedy DON’T TRUST THE B IN APT. 23 on Hulu.com
TODAY’S SURF WRITTEN WHILE LISTENING TO: Dusty Springfield, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBwSN0Yw5l0
DUSTY TWINSPIN!! Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp4339EbVn8
Tonight’s rundown: Tonight’s MUST: JUSTIFIED
ABC 8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars: The Story So Far 9:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (time period return) 10:00 p.m. Body of Proof
CBS 8:00 p.m. NCIS 9:00 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles 10:00 p.m. Unforgettable
NBC 8:00 p.m. The Biggest Loser (two hours) 10:00 p.m. Fashion Star
Fox 8:00 p.m. Raising Hope 8:30 p.m. Raising Hope (R) 9:00 p.m. New Girl 9:30 p.m. Breaking In
CW 8:00 p.m. 90210 9:00 p.m. Ringer
FX: 10pm: Justified
MTV: 10pm: 16 and Pregnant season premiere
That’s a wrap for now.