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Monday Notebook: "Mad Men," Olympics, Radio Delay

By admin Published: August 11, 2008

"Dinner at Lutece is pretty nice, but I could be home watching gymnastics."

This and that, after the jump. ...

Olympics sampled so far: Opening ceremonies (mentioned below), swimming, volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball, badminton, soccer, a smidge of handball, gymnastics, synchronized diving, lacrosse, promos for NBC fall shows and a bunch of political ads (I've seen more of McCain's than Obama's, although it looked as if McCain was getting some extra in by buying time WKYC instead of NBC), and other stuff I can't specifically remember. Considerable drama: the US getting tied in soccer when a win would have moved it to the next round, Katie Hoff getting a swimming silver when it appeared she had a gold sewn up -- but at least she overshadowed the tabloid drama involving France's Laure Manaudou and Italy's Federica Pellegrini, which NBC had used to set up the match.

(And speaking of that, if NBC is going to be so specific about the romantic lives of a couple of Europeans, why has it been so coy -- at least in the pieces I've seen -- about the love life of Dana Torres? I saw a couple of segments playing up her role as a mother, but no mention of the baby's father -- who is reportedly Torres's partner.)

Am watching more Olympics than I expected. Part of this is due to the bride, who is devoted to this fare. But I find myself getting caught up in it. The weekend also included plenty of other activities -- lawn, trimming bushes, running the edger, some job work -- but the breaks kept turning back to TV.

Well, except for "Mad Men," whose third second-season episode, "The Benefactor," I caught partly last night and the rest this morning. It was kind of odd to watch in part because I don't remember the last time I watched an episode with the commercials in it. Very jarring to the concentration. And I thought for a long stretch that it was a kind of blah episode, even if Melinda McGraw -- who played Bobbie -- is always good. But then, in the final minutes, and particularly when Don forced his will on Bobbie, it clicked. So far, a big theme for the year appears to be Don's emotional turmoil and professional despair; there had been hints before that moment, but when we saw how far Don would go to make his point (and what a contrast it was to the genteel attempt to get a client to sponsor "The Defenders'" abortion episode), it was clear how very close to breaking he is. Then you add Betty's crying on top of it -- and I don't buy her explanation of her tears -- and what she had gone through at horseback riding, and you have people whose carefully constructed facades are in deep danger. Can't wait to see where it goes next.

Am still pondering the deaths of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. And pondered Bernie Mac more than I expected this morning, when driving to work and listening to Dan Patrick on 1350-AM. There, in a break, was a public-service spot for libraries -- and Bernie Mac's prerecorded support. I know, it's an old spot, but didn't anyone stop to think that it was not a good time to repeat it?

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