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Notebook: Emmys, "Mad Men"

By admin Published: September 20, 2009

In my previous post on what I'd have voted for in the Emmys, I listed 10 categories. My fave won in five (Chenoweth, Cryer, Emerson, Collette and "Mad Men" as drama) and I was OK with one other (Baldwin). I wasn't in the loop on four: drama supporting actress (Cherry Jones when I leaned toward Chandra Wilson/Sandra Oh), drama lead (I had Elisabeth Moss, but Glenn Close won) or lead actor (Jon Hamm was my guy, not Bryan Cranston) and best comedy (I like "30 Rock" and "HIMYM" but think "The Office" had a better year). Is 50-60 percent OK? Well, I was very happy for Chenoweth and Cryer especially, but I still can't be all that pleased overall. And will once again note that "The Shield" and "Friday Night Lights" were not even in contention tonight.

Besides, I also went to sports events this weekend, and the hoped-for result there was a better 67 percent -- two wins (both by the UA soccer team), one loss (UA football).

As for the show, I just checked in here and there. May have more to say later, after I look at the recording.

After the jump, tonight's "Mad Men"...

It may have been for the best that "Mad Men" was on the air during its Emmy win and that its drama acceptance speech ran into the beginning of the 11:02 replay. While some Emmy-curious viewers unacquainted with the show might have flipped over, with the possible exception of the John Deere accident this was an episode made for the people who have been loyal through three seasons.

I'll start at the end, with Don explaining to Sally that her brother Gene is a baby and no one knows yet who or what he will be. What a perfect speech to come from Don, the lord of reinvention, and especially so when we're seeing Don facing the possibility of yet another remake through his new alliance with Conrad Hilton. (And how smart are all those "Mad Men" viewers who rightly suspected that Connie at the wedding was indeed Hilton?) It's evident that Hilton sees major potential in Don (and what a great little aside that Don's name hadn't come up because no one had had a long conversation with him) that goes beyond being an ad man. At the same time, Don has a great chip to play with Sterling Cooper's overlords, especially now that the reorganization has gone awry; they will make changes, with or without the one-footed golden boy, and Don is someone they already had their eyes on.

But that's down the road and may not go the way it seems. After all, much of "Mad Men" tonight was about things not going the way you hoped: the anticipated promotions not materializing, Roger left off the chart, Joan now not only seeing her doctor dreams fade but having left Sterling Cooper, and too proud and conscious of appearances to beg for her job. She's a bit Isabel Archer, isn't she? Peggy's smugness at the party underscored the way Don has now felt what she feels -- about not getting what you want, and being overlooked when you believe you know better. Betty's disappointed, too, since new motherhood has not made everything better; Sally's a problem, and Don is getting home from work late again. But Betty's disenchantment isn't having its old result; Don, still trying to be the family man, is taking on maternal roles, as evident, again, in the scene at the end.

And, again, we are left with the image of old empires crumbling. It's not only the old order represented by the Brits, whose disastrous fall before American clumsiness had been preceded by the golden boy marching through the staff like an affable prince-heir looking for just the bon mot for each of his subjects passing in a receiving line. It's also that the old order is doomed at Sterling Cooper, and the question is now about how it will fall. Will new leaders rise within or will its colonies separate -- Peggy and/or Pete to join Duck? Maybe Joan ends up working for him? Don joining Hilton? So much to think about -- I haven't even gotten into the way light is used in different scenes -- and so much to relish.

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