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Mixed Notes -- April 30

By Rich Heldenfels Published: April 30, 2012

This was a cleanup weekend at the House of Heldenfels: routine housecleaning on Saturday and then the big job on Sunday: cleaning the garage. As in taking everything off every shelf, moving the shelves, sweeping, disposing of things and MUCH MUCH MORE. When we were done, the bookshelves looked neater, recycling had received bunches of cardboard, Goodwill had some new items and great honkin' piles of trash were set aside for (gradual) inclusion in the trash pickup.

And we watched some TV, whether it was catching up on stuff from the week ("Missing" and "Scandal," for instance, although I am wondering ever more why I am still watching) and a Sunday load of "The Amazing Race," "The Good Wife" and "Mad Men."

"Race" remains a bit dull this weekend, although I was for a time engaged by the possibility that Kentucky would make it through (and the hope that the Big Brother duo had made a fatal vanity-based error). Sadly, neither came to pass, and the show otherwise has just felt like a slow walk to the finish. ("Survivor" is similarly suffering from weeks of uninteresting interaction.)

"The Good Wife" was far more entertaining, and it was just delightful to watch Martha Plimpton and Michael J. Fox play together; even better is the way their characters manage to be awful whether being direct or devious. But I am concerned about the way the season ended, with the firm still in crisis and Kalinda in trouble; this has been a really gloomy season for the show, and the fog does not appear to have lifted as we head into the fall.

"Mad Men" looked for most of its episode -- at least until the last six minutes -- as if it was going shake the melancholy hanging over it. Megan had triumphed, Don was getting a reward, Sally was sitting with the grownups, Roger had had a post-LSD revival. Peggy was in a funk - no marriage proposal, mother disapproving, telling Megan that the small triumphs are as good as it gets for them -- but she is also the character moving most clearly into the '60s; she didn't back down on the shack-up, and Joan made the case for the traditional role not working.

Then the bad stuff happened. What Sally saw. What Don heard (from Akron's own Ray Wise). And no one was allowed a happy ending. Well, except Roger. But even he wasn't getting what he was really after: new business respect. Don killed Roger's chances as well as his own with the tobacco ad -- a move that seemed such a smart form of damage control in the moment but is now nothing but damage. And plaques.

So good.

 In case you missed it, I was wearing my movie-guy hat on Sunday, with various notes heading toward the premiere of "The Avengers" here and here and here.

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