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Trudy: The most interesting character to me

2018.09.30 00:45 GeetarEnthusiast85 Trudy: The most interesting character to me

Before I joined Reddit, the Mad Men community has always been one of my favorites to lurk. So many amazing conversations and insights. During my perusing, I've noticed that Trudy gets brought up a lot. I have to admit, I'm intrigued by her too. Despite being a secondary character, she's well written enough and Alison Brie's portrayal adds nuance that another actress may not. She's seemingly one of the few "good" characters who dotes on her husband, desires the suburban life, and wants the best for her family. However, I think she's only perceived as one of the truly "decent" ones because we only see two sides of the character - Trudy the "great" wife and Trudy, the intelligent and confident woman who takes no crap. From anyone. Well, that and because she's played by Alison Brie and really, who doesn't like her?
A big part of what makes Trudy engrossing is her mannerisms. I don't know if it's because she grew up at upper-class charm/private schools and country clubs but I often feel like everything we see from her is an act. She's always so...perfect. Always polite, well spoken and perfectly mannered. She knows what to say, how to say it and what to do in any situation. Don transmits a persona of the confident ad man whose always in control and people admire him for it. However, we know this is simply a mask he uses to conceal a broken fraud. People seem to admire Trudy as well for the persona she puts forth. However, we never spend enough time with Trudy to see what's fully beyond her facade (or is it?). It makes me wonder what truths she's hiding about herself.
Remember, one of the main themes of Mad Men is that everyone wears a mask or several; trying to sell an idea that doesn't really exist. We get to see past the masks of the main characters and witness their aspirations, disappointments and flaws along with their positive traits. Except Trudy. Though, we do catch glimpses of what's going on behind the curtain and we know she's not someone to trifle with. This causes me to ponder about her more than any other character. What's really behind the idea Trudy is trying to sell? It's been noted that Trudy was intended to become a full-time character. I wonder what they had planned for her?
What's her reason for marrying Pete and leading the life she's chosen? We see her so infrequently and save for a few moments when she's pushed to her limit always plays the faithful, submissive wife. You'd think she'd be depth-less. Yet we know this isn't who Trudy is thanks to the instances where she asserts herself ("You don't speak to me that way!", "You are forbidden to give anything more to that company!"). We've observed her acumen on several occasions. Every woman on Mad Men sacrifices aspects of herself to placate the men in their lives. We see how this affects Betty, Joan and Peggy but never Trudy. I'm curious to know what she's sacrificed (if anything at all). While she obviously wants to be a homemaker, did she have other aspirations besides being a wife and mother? If she did, what were they and why did she give them up?
One of my favorite books that deals with the superficial nature of appearances, the lies we tell each other and the false images woman project to please men is Gone Girl. The book's female protagonist Amy delivers this monologue:
Nick loved a girl I was pretending to be. "Cool girl". Men always use that, don't they? As their defining compliment: "She's a cool girl". Cool girl is hot. Cool girl is game. Cool girl is fun. Cool girl never gets angry at her man. She only smiles in a chagrined, loving manner. And then presents her mouth for fucking. She likes what he likes, so evidently he's a vinyl hipster who loves fetish Manga. If he likes girls gone wild, she's a mall babe who talks for football and endures buffalo wings at Hooters. When I met Nick Dunne I knew he wanted "Cool girl". And for him, I'll admit: I was willing to try. I wax-stripped my pussy raw. I drank canned beer watching Adam Sandler movies. I ate cold pizza and remained a size two. I blew him, semi-regularly. I lived in the moment. I was fucking game.
Despite all of the women (save for Helen Bishop and Faye Miller) conforming to the ideals of men, so much of this statement reminds me of Trudy. In "The Suitcase" she brags she's "been watching boxing since she was a little girl." "I want a rare steak and to see those men pound each other," she boasts to Pete's colleagues. Does Trudy really like combat sports and being one of the guys or is she being "cool girl"? Every time she's on screen with other characters besides Pete, Trudy's agreeable and subordinate; the perfect hostess and wife. Everyone is taken with her. Even Don. In "Signal 30" he reminds Pete to appreciate what's at home instead of seeking greener pastures. I have no doubts that's part of who she is. She thrives in her existence as a homemaker. But how much of that comprises the real Trudy?
She's not one of the main characters so should it matter? Maybe not but as I wrote, Brie provides details with her performance that otherwise might not be there. That makes Trudy fascinating. She's around the same age as Peggy, yet she begins the series already knowing who she is and what she wants; confident in her place. Whereas Peggy is initially awkward and out of her element; very normal for a 20-something.
Trudy is shown to not only be settling down already but she knows without a shadow of a doubt it's what she wants. Or does she? Perhaps it's just the assumed role she's playing. What if, like everyone else Trudy second-guesses her decisions and wonders what else there is? I'd love to see a fully realized Trudy to know what the other facets of this character are. I'd love to know what she's forsaken during her quest to be the perfect wife. Every other character has made decisions that didn't pan out or led to disastrous results. What are Trudy's?
I'd love to know how she and Pete met or why they began dating. We know how Don and Betty met. We also know why Betty started dating and married Don (good looking, charming and was working at a big advertising firm). From what we know of Trudy and what we see of Pete at the beginning of the show, I can't fathom why a girl like her would go for him. He's a toad. An entitled, insecure toad with no redeeming qualities; save one. His family name and the supposed connections that holds.
Is Trudy honestly that shallow, only wanting to be seen as part of the upper crust and willing to do whatever it takes to obtain that (such as marrying someone like Pete)? Does she only care about how other people see her? Maybe she's afraid of growing into an "old maid" so she settles for the first "decent" choice that came along? A guy around her age that comes from a well-known lineage and has a promising career. After all, she refuses to be a "failure."
What if, like the other women Trudy bought into the hype of the "American Dream?" Only unlike Betty, Joan and Peggy she's too timid to leave the bubble and see what else is out there?
As a couple she and Pete are meant to parallel Don and Betty in a sense. Unlike the Drapers, Pete and Trudy are seemingly well-suited for each other and Trudy relishes her role as the housewife of a Madison Avenue professional. Unlike Betty who puts on the brave face of the content homemaker while actually being miserable in her role.
Given the era's expectations, was Trudy pressured into dating/marrying Pete? It's implied in "New Amsterdam" and "5G" the two did not know each other very well and may have rushed into marriage. What did she see in him? She acts so lovingly towards him only to have him not appreciate her or use her as an emotional punching bag. This makes me question why she's tender with him and if she really does love him. Maybe she doesn't see love as a feeling at all, just as a choice. We know her father is a serial philanderer himself. It wouldn't surprise me if Trudy, like the rest of the characters wasn't reared to know what a healthy, loving relationship actually is. Maybe she sees "love" as choosing to dedicate herself to her husband despite what she may really feel. As we know, the women were brought up to believe their station was wife/mothehomemaker. It was the dream to marry a man who'd be a good provider. And on paper, Pete fits the bill. Regardless of him being a shitty person (initially), Trudy (or her parents) thought he'd be a wise match. So, when he loses his temper (Hell's Bells, Trudy!), does something thoughtless (the rifle, cheap Valentine chocolates) or cheats on her (the au pair, prostitutes) she buckles down and performs her duty of "loving" him. How else could a wife soldier on if her husband suggested she sleep with an ex just so he can have his work published, then later reprimand her when she doesn't follow through?
We see a kindred dynamic play out with another couple - Joan and Greg. Joan doesn't really love Greg but she's desperate to find a husband who will provide the life she thinks she wants. So she plays the part even though Greg doesn't treat her well but he looks good on paper. Sound familiar? Even though we never see Pete assault Trudy in the manner Greg does to Joan, Pete does coerce a young neighbor into sex. Has he done the same to Trudy with her complying because it's part of the "job"?
When Pete does mistreat her she usually storms off, locking herself in another room. Pete's boorishness obviously hurts her. Yet, unlike Betty Trudy doesn't grow bitter and disillusioned. Or does she and just hides it well? Behind closed doors I imagine her breaking down questioning why Pete's not holding up his end of the agreement - "loving" her. I wonder if in those early days of their marriage she'd phone her mom or someone close (did she even have any real friends?) and they'd excuse it as "boys being boys" and advise her to strengthen her resolve. She's also emotionally mature, able to rationalize Pete's transgressions better than Betty can with Don's.
This is why she allows him to get an apartment in the city. When he came home in "The Phantom" with a battered face, I believe Trudy suspected he'd gotten caught by a lover's husband/boyfriend, etc. Does she grow angry? No, she carries on her wifely duties, choosing to follow the deception he feeds her. However, Brie plays that scene as Trudy saying yes while her vocal tone and body language suggests she knows better. Having Pete conduct his affairs in the city allows her to compartmentalize the different truths and lies she chooses to live with (kinda like Don, no?). She moves forward like it's not happening ("It will shock you how much it never happened").
That being said I wonder if she, like Betty went through Pete's belongings looking for signs of infidelity; an emotional wreck only to emerge the dutiful wife as Pete returned home. In "Souvenir" after Pete tearfully confesses his misdeed, Trudy leaves the room perturbed. We next see her when Pete returns home from work and she's prepared dinner, still shaken by the disclosure though determined to carry on as though nothing happened. We know she later agrees to him get an apartment in the city so he can be discreet. Despite tolerating it, I wonder how it really made her feel. A big aspect of Betty's story her wondering why she wasn't good enough to keep Don from straying. Did Trudy feel similar with Pete?
Sometimes I think (and this may be a stretch) there's a darker truth beyond a woman simply living in accordance with the outlook of her society. The characteristic that makes me question this is Trudy's shrewdness. She knows how to facilitate the circumstances that will get her what she desires. Early in the series while apartment hunting Trudy goes behind Pete's back and gets the money for it from her parents. When they're introduced to their neighbor she gushes about Pete's family name as if that social qualifier is what's important to her. What's really important to Trudy? This goes back to my question. Does she really love Pete for the person he is or does she "love" him because of the social status his heritage brings? However, this may not be true. Pete is one of the primary characters (not Trudy) so we view the world through his lens. One of the motifs for Pete's story is dealing with feelings of inadequacy and having no control over his life. But what would it look like if we saw the world through Trudy's eyes? It could have been more along the lines of she's proud of her husband and just bragging? Could it be she sees traits we don't?
What also makes me reflect on the nature of Trudy's astuteness is some of the verbal phrases she employs. In "The Rejected" Pete is instructed by Roger and Lane to inform his father-in-law that SCDP is dropping his business. Trudy offers to deliver the news "Why don't you let my father hear this from me. He'll never feel the knife go in." What startles me about this line is how cold it is. Who speaks that way about their father? Perhaps I'm reading too much into the expression but it's almost dare I say sociopathic?
Let's also not for get about the time in "Signal 30" when she out-Drapered Don, giving him no room to wiggle out of her dinner party. She even adds an exclamation point to their discussion with a simple, yet effective "We both know he's doing fine" when Don slags Pete's ability to close with clients. She won't allow another person diminish what she's built.
What makes these instances peculiar to me is that Trudy communicates them with her normal gracious disposition. Yet, it's easy to read between the lines to see what's really being said and there's no missing it. Just as when Trudy shoots down the flirtations of her male neighbors at the beginning of "Collaborators." She's perfectly courteous in her delivery, not saying a word that could be construed as being offended by their dalliances while firmly stating "not going to happen, now drop it." The woman marvelously navigates any social situation with ease while pulling strings to achieve her desired outcome. She's almost conniving.
Her actions in these scenarios are so calculated it only furthers my curiosity about her. There are multiple gears turning in her brain, it's like she considers situations from every possible angle. What's really going on there?
And of course, there's the infamous moment in "Collaborators" when she finally has enough of Pete's unfaithfulness and delivers the much beloved "I will destroy you!" line. What's interesting about Trudy's declaration is that it wasn't brought on by the fact that her husband strayed, it's that he strayed too close to home. "Couldn't you at least pretend?" she asks him. To me it sounds like she's admitting her marriage was more show than substance. She's admitting her entire relationship is not two people loving each other but the requirement needed to occupy a certain role in society that had been laid out for her. Yet despite that front being exposed to the point where she can no longer deny it, Trudy rejects divorce. "I refuse to be a failure." She tells Pete. Why stay in a marriage that's obviously a sham if not to maintain the position it affords?
Trudy's outrage at Pete's carelessness recalls another passage from Gone Girl:
But I made him smarter. Sharper. I inspired him to rise to my level. I forged the man of my dreams. We were happy pretending to be other people. We were the happiest couple we knew. And what's the point of being together if you're not the happiest? But Nick got lazy. He became someone I did not agree to marry. He actually expected me to love him unconditionally. Then he dragged me, penniless, to the navel of this great country and found himself a newer, younger, bouncier cool girl. You think I'd let him destroy me and end up happier than ever? No fucking way. He doesn't get to win. My cute, charming, salt-of-the-earth Missouri guy. He needed to learn. Grown-ups work for things. Grown-ups pay. Grown-ups suffer consequences.
Is this not Pete and Trudy? She's the brains of their marriage that is able to reign in and channel his emotions in a positive direction. There's an opening montage in an early episode (couldn't find which one it is) showing Trudy assisting Pete in dressing for work, a morning ritual they evidently share. In "Shut The Door. Have a Seat" Don and Roger meet with Pete to discuss joining them in starting the new firm. Pete, already feeling underappreciated is letting his emotions get the better of him. Listening to the conversation from another room, Trudy reminds him to be pragmatic with one simple line "Peter, may I speak to you for a moment?" It wouldn't surprise me if it was Trudy's idea to rehearse the Charleston for Roger's party in "My Old Kentucky Home." Let's not forget she arranges for Don, the senior partner Pete most admires to come to dinner. Anything to make her husband shine and possibly lead to career advancement. Alison Brie has stated in interviews that Trudy wants to be the one steering the ship behind the scenes; the one in charge.
How does Pete repay her for her efforts? He cheats on her because he wants something else and just expected her to go along with it. And she did for the most part, holding up the pretense of being a happy couple. Until Pete got lazy, that is. Does Trudy let him get away with it? No, she teaches him grown-ups suffer consequences.
Posters here laud Trudy for standing up for herself but why is she choosing to stay married? Though it's obvious she has an inner strength a lot of her contemporaries don't, she might lack the fortitude to make it on her own. What if regardless of appearing strong enough to kick Pete out, Trudy's secretly frightened of having to go it completely alone?
While Trudy has numerous great moments throughout the series, some of my favorites take place between "Time & Life" and "The Milk and Honey Route." They aren't as awesome as calling out Pete on his deceptions or cornering Don, but I like them because we finally see the character's vulnerability. In "Time & Life" she voices her struggle as a single mother and her fears of winding up alone because "no one will want her" as she ages. Her final interactions with Pete in "The Milk and Honey Route" reveal even more. At the beginning of the episode, Pete is dropping off Tammy just as Trudy and her friend, Sherri return home. Pete and Trudy have maintained an amicable relationship to which Sherri admires since she's not sure she could do the same with her ex-husband. Trudy reminds her that she and Pete stay civil for their daughter's benefit, it also helps to "forget things" (there's the theme of forgetting the past and moving forward, again).
I love the way Alison plays this scene during Trudy's conversation with Sherri. While maintaining her normal cheery demeanor, I detect touches of pain and sadness. Especially when she tells Sherri she didn't expect her "friends" to remind her of old wounds. Something to note is that Sherri is one of the female neighbors that was openly flirting with Pete in "Collaborators." When she enters the house with Trudy, there's an uncomfortable tension between her and Pete. Though she's not the one he had an affair with, I'm surprised Trudy would continue to be friends with her. Given what she said about her life in "Time & Life" I wonder if she's more like Betty than meets the eye. Even though she has acquaintances she sees regularly, Trudy's isolated with no real friends she's able to confide in. This could be part of why she accepts Pete's offer later in the episode.
Speaking of which, I find Trudy and Pete's late-night discussion to be interesting because Pete tells her he knows he could lose her love. Trudy responds by telling him he never lost it, she's just fearful of being hurt again. Up until this point, I was convinced Pete and Trudy were playing the part because it's what their society demanded of them. Maybe they are and this late-night reconciliation is them choosing to believe in the lie once more? Or does she really love him after all? Or is she sticking with the beaten path, because it's the only one she's ever known and fears alternatives? Hoping Pete will be a sure thing this time around? Reuniting with Pete will also help to give their daughter a more promising upbringing.
Perhaps another truth regarding Trudy is that while she has demonstrable strengths, she's actually not as tough as Joan or Peggy (or even Betty to a lesser extent). At the beginning of Mad Men, Joan who was raised to be admired, relies on her looks to get what she wants despite being competent at almost every thing she does while possessing a sharp wit. She buys into the idea that a well-to-do husband and family life in the country is the answer. She learns that's not true for her. She finds happiness as a mother but it's not until she branches out as a self-made business woman that she discovers fulfillment. As the series concludes, she's single because she refuses to compromise what she wants for her career or love life. As for Peggy, she was raised in a Catholic family that expected her to settle down and make babies. Instead, she goes against the societal norms of the day and helps to break the glass ceiling for women in the advertising world. Her story ends with her working at one of the biggest advertising firms, supported by a man who loves her (and vise versa). Heck, even Betty chose to pursue a new frontier while confronting her own demise.
Where is Trudy at the series' end? A single mother with no apparent job skills, leading an unhappy life in Cos Cobb with few options for advancement. In a supposedly reformed Pete shows up, declaring his love and promising a fresh start in Wichita. Even though she's taken aback and hesitant, she agrees. As I inquired above, does Trudy really love Pete in her own way, wanting to give him another chance or is she returning to the familiar out of fear and lack of options? It's been stated on this subreddit that Betty's death symbolizes the end of the 50s housewife as society changes. If that's true, maybe Trudy's decision to take Pete back symbolizes the 50s housewife following the same old script for fear of change.
In a 2015 interview, Matthew Weiner stated if he could pick one Mad Men character to follow up with decades later, it would be Trudy. He said he could see her being a "dynamite old lady" and would love to see what she does with the rest of her life. I agree. More than any other character I wonder how it goes for her once she boards that Learjet to Kansas. Though Pete swears it'll be different this time, Vincent Kartheiser has said he believes Pete'll screw it up again. I could see that happening but I can also see the two of them having a happy marriage. I can also see Trudy going back to school, taking up a cause or joining the workforce as Tammy grows older. If Pete does cheat again, would she continue to write it off so long as it's not right in front of her or tell him to get lost for good? Would she learn to be happy without a man and forge her own path? I suppose it's pointless to speculate as it's completely up to the imagination at this point.
Either way, Trudy's the character I think about the most.
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2017.01.23 04:37 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S2E05 - The New Girl

Episode Title: The New Girl (Season 2, Episode 5)
Written By: Robin Veith
Directed By: Jennifer Getzinger
Episode Date: May 16–18, 1962 (Basket of Kisses)
Episode Air Date: August 14th, 2008
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• The questions asked by the doctor are from an actual fertility pamphlet from 1960 – Matt Weiner knew the doctor who wrote the pamphlet
• It isn’t explicitly stated, but most of the commentators talk about having a tighter schedule than normal for this episode – it is likely they were behind in shooting at this point in the season
• This episode was viewed by 1.47 million people on its initial airing, an increase over the 1.07 million that watched “Three Sundays” the week before
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Jennifer Getzinger and Robin Veith (track 1), Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Melinda McGraw (Bobbie, track 2) JG = Jennifer Getzinger, RV = Robin Veith , JH = Jon Hamm, EM = Elisabeth Moss, MM = Melinda McGraw
From the beginning of the episode to the first break – aka Peggy driving Don and Bobbie (0:00 to ~16 minutes)
• RV: The title of the episode is special because it’s the first time Jennifer directed and the first time I wrote an episode solo
• MM: I made sure not to watch any of the show until I auditioned to make sure I wouldn’t get too much in my head – I knew it was the coolest thing ever but nothing else
• JG: The naked woman in the doctor’s office is from Matt Weiner’s personal collection
• JG: We shot all of Vincent Kartheiser’s scenes in one day
• RV: There was a 15-20-minute debate on how open the door to the lounge should be when Don and Freddie walk past. They (JG and RV) compromised
• RV: Pete turns the doctor’s questions into a type of therapy session
• JG: We needed to shoot the scene with Joan showing off her ring in one shot because we were so far behind
• JG: The bar Bobbie Barrett is in was shot in Musso and Frank’s in LA – several other scenes are shot there throughout the show
• MM: Jon was on location and read his lines off screen during the phone call scene
• MM: I was so shocked at how much people hated Bobbie Barrett – I was shocked mainly by the double standard even nowadays
• RV: Someone at AMC offered me $5 before the season if I could figure out a way to get Rachel Menkein into season 2 – she sent me a laminated 5-dollar bill later (note – they joke about bringing back Rachel as a ghost in season 3…)
• JH: Don still has very strong feelings for Rachel, and is reminded that Bobbie is not Rachel when they run into each other
• RV: Bobbie has been doing this for a long time, she knows how to handle awkward situations
• JG: It takes a few drinks for Don to fully get involved – he was reluctant when he first gets to the restaurant
• JH: Bobbie is very similar to Don – both reinvented themselves and both live by the motto “invent a job and become the person who does that job” (among other things)
• EM: This episode features advice from both Don and Bobbie to Peggy – some of the only advice she’s ever listened to • RV: I did a lot of reading on French feminism for Bobbie – you are just as smart and capable as men but you are smarter than them and should use your physical assets against them
• JG: There was a lot of debate about how much booze should be in the bottle while Don is driving – wanted to make sure you knew he was drinking but that he was still alive
• MM: Before the car scenes Matt told me that “life is deadening and there’s a longing that Bobbie is full of”, which helped me understand the character much better
• JG: The car in the car crashing scene almost hit one of the cameras
• JH: I was suspended from the roof of the car in the crashed scene
• RV: A lot of people started cracking up on set when the cop brought up the blood alcohol level (since it was so much higher back then)
• JH: This is one of the first times on the show you can see what this type of lifestyle can lead to
• RV: Who Don can call in this situation was key – can’t call Betty, Roger (since Cooper warned him not to mix business and pleasure anymore), he doesn’t have any friends, etc.
Starting with Peggy driving them home and ending with the doctor leaving Peggy’s room in the flashback (~16 to ~30 minutes)
• EM: Respect is probably the most important thing to Peggy in the office, so getting the call from Don is a big deal
• JG: We tried to connect Peggy and Don in this episode in several shots – including both of them looking alone at different times in the episode
• RV: Peggy was technically right in the best way to get back while driving
• RV: Peggy talks like a Mafia-style cleaner – “this can be fixed”
• JG: By the end of Don and Betty’s conversation in the bed room (after Don gets home), she’s gone from angry at him to genuinely worried about him
• RV: Fat farms back in 1960’s were actually called milk farms, but we didn’t think anyone would understand
• EM: We did all of the Peggy/Bobbie scenes in one day, in chronological order. It was almost like shooting a play
• JG: This episode was a great way to show how all of the women in the show are different
• JG: The introduction of Jane (and specifically with Joan walking her to Don’s desk) is supposed to remind you of the pilot and Peggy
• RV: “I feel like I’m walking in tall cotton” was a line my dad used to say to me – none of the cast/crew had any idea what I was talking about
• RV: Bobbie is genuinely curious/trying to help Peggy out with her advice
• EM: Peggy considers this part of her job
• JG: I was surprised Peggy had the first flashback in season 2
Starting with Pete searching for “reading” material through the rest of the episode (~30 minutes until the end)
• RV: The Pete-bathroom scene wasn’t in the script – they (RV and JG) decided to shoot it while shooting the episode
• RV: Matt was sold because he knew the next scene was going to be Roger with the paddle ball
• RV: John Slattery didn’t know how to use the paddle ball so he got one from props and learned how to do it – he requested a shorter string because he thought it would line up better with the prior Pete scene
• RV: Roger is legitimately jealous of Joan’s engagement
• JG: Bobbie and Peggy are creating some weird kind of friendship
• MM: Bobbie probably doesn’t meet a lot of young women who are ambitious and are not just looking for a husband – that’s probably why she’s drawn to Peggy
• EM: I think Bobbie expects Peggy to break at some point and Peggy simply doesn’t give in to her
• JH: The idea of Joan telling someone she’s dressed too sexy is hilarious
• RV: Alan Alda taught me how to play musical zipper
• JG: We had to cut out part of the zipper scene – Joel Murray (Freddie) did it for a while. He even did it during the read-through
• MM: I think Bobbie wants to repay Peggy someone, so she gives her some advice
• RV: In this episode and in “A Night To Remember” (co-written with Matt) I have women in the same dress for several days
• EM: Bobbie’s advice to Peggy is what is really the changing point, both now and in the future
• JH: I think this episode (and season) is mainly about women finding their voice and power
• MM: Bobbie, in her own twisted way, is a feminist ahead of her time in a lot of ways
• RV: Pete doesn’t want to have a baby with Trudy because he wants to be young and do fun things with her
• JG: There wasn’t a dry eye on set during the flashback scenes
• EM: Jon made me cry the way he delivered his lines
• JG: We shot two takes of the last flashback scene but Jon nailed it on the first one
• RV: The alarms went off during set up for shooting of the last flashback scene because a light got too close to a sprinkler, setting them off. We had to clear the studio and it delayed shooting
• JG: We were secretly glad that happened because we got to have more time to shoot the scene
• RV: Everyone cheered at the read-through when Peggy calls Don by his first name
• RV: One of the crew people came up to me and pointed out that there’s more salt in the ketchup than what Don would put on the meatloaf; I responded that that was the joke
• RV: The kids scarfed down the meatloaf during shooting of the last scene
My thoughts:
Go figure I publicly said I would post it on one day and end up posting it like a week later! My apologies, I actually had this episode done before today, but decided to hold off on posting it so that I can (hopefully) start posting these on Sunday nights – aka when Mad Men aired.
Anyway, in regards to the episode itself - Robin Veith was vital to early season Mad Men – even in episodes she didn’t get credit for writing. The one’s she did (The Wheel, this episode, A Night To Remember, The Mountain King, and Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency) are all among the most interesting of the show. It’s a shame she departed the show after season 3.
The episode itself is largely known for the flashback scenes, which are among the best scenes on the entire show. The way Jon delivers the classic “move forward” line is still among his best work on the show. Also, this marks the beginning of cameos from old lovers.
Up Next: “Maidenform”
I’m just gonna come out and say it: Maidenform is one of the more underrated episodes of the entire show, including by me. Speaking of which, season 2 in general is incredibly underrated…including by me (until now). Looking forward to this episode, with commentary from Matt Weiner and Janie Bryant on track 1 and Phil Abraham and Mark Moses on track 2, aka we’ll finally get to hear from Duck on the Chauncey incident!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below with any questions/concerns/insults/etc!
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2016.12.15 23:11 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S2E02 - Flight 1

Episode Title: Flight 1 (Season 2, Episode 2)
Written By: Matthew Weiner
Directed By: Lisa Albert and Matthew Weiner
Episode Date: ~February 24th–March 4th, 1962 (Basket of Kisses)
Episode Air Date: August 3rd, 2008
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• The episode is dedicated to Christopher Allport, the actor who played Pete’s father – he passed away in an avalanche between seasons. Matt says he was inspired to write the episode after that
• John Glenn, who is referenced by Roger and Don in an early elevator scene, died last week at the age of 95. Roger makes a comment about how he’ll be on Earth the rest of his life – a nod to the fact that Mr. Glenn later became the oldest person in space (in 1998)
• The theme to this episode is “What do I do?” (Jon Hamm adds that it’s really the theme to the show in general)
• This episode was viewed by 1.33 million people on its initial airing – down from the 2.06 million who watched For Those Who Think Young
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Matt Weiner, Jon Hamm (track 1), Vincent Kartheiser, Lisa Albert (track 2)
MW = Matt Weiner, JH = Jon Hamm/VK = Vincent Kartheiser, LA = Lisa Albert
From the beginning of the episode to the start of Pete and Trudy visiting Pete’s family (0:00 to ~17 minutes)
• MW: The storyline was a coincidence – wanted them to have a small airline and talk about John Glenn (Flight 1 crashed the same day John Glenn’s parade happened)
• VK: The first scene of the episode took a long time to complete, finished at the very end of the day
• JH: The party scenes take place on a set, not on location
• VK: most of the actors were trying not to crack up when Kinsey first starts talking in the episode
• MW: Paul lives in Montclair, New Jersey and not Greenwich Village because of finances, not because of choice
• MW: This episode wanted to show that despite what’s happened, Peggy is still a young girl
• LA: Someone on the crew did the voice that tells Kinsey someone upstairs wants to talk to him
• MW: Joan’s comment to Kinsey’s girlfriend was the key to the party scenes – the subtle racism and her status as Paul’s old girlfriend. Christina Hendricks was dismayed that Joan was racist
• Both LA and MW: The shot of Peggy lying in bed after the party is their favorite shot of the season
• MW: Cooper is eating ketchup and cottage cheese
• LA: Robert Morse ate a ton of cottage cheese during the shooting of that scene
• MW: Is Don a flawed businessman because of his loyalty?
• LA: Pete’s phone conversation in which he finds out his father died was changed several times
• JH: Don and Pete are not friendly, but the reaction by Don is the crux of what Pete asks – “What do I do (in this situation)?”
• LA: this episode is about the word should: how you should behave, what you should do, etc.
• VK: Jon Hamm was a big help during the scene where Pete tells Don what happened
• VK: There were a lot of takes of the Don/Pete scene
• MW: There was a big debate over whether or not Don would reveal that Pete’s dad died to Duck in order to win his argument. Ultimately decided he wouldn’t
Starting with Pete and Trudy meeting Pete’s family and ending after Peggy goes to see her sister’s baby (~17 to ~28 minutes)
• MW: the elephant in the room belongs to Chris Brown, the art director
• LA: The elephant doesn’t really represent anything – there is no grand symbolism to it
• LA: The Campbell family storyline in this episode (regarding money) is personal – after LA’s mother passed away they found out she was in debt
• MW: it’s important to look at Don and Betty’s relationship this early in the season because we don’t know what happened between seasons. We know that Betty “on some level” knows that Don cheated on her and they had some kind of conversation
• MW: we went out of our way to make sure that Carlton gained a few pounds (aka he’s being faithful)
• MW: Thank God Jon knew how to play peaknuckle because no one else did
• LA: They were playing an actual game of it during the scene
• VK: They came to me to ask how to play peaknuckle – they were playing it wrong”
• JH: Betty being a good card player is an interesting statement about her
• MW: I believe Betty and Don would “clean these people’s clock” (i.e playing cards)
• MW: Don realizes that Betty is connecting Bobby lying to Don
• MW: the story of Bobby getting caught cheating was brought to Matt by Robin Veith, who did the same and got caught when she was a kid
• MW: outside of the reveal, the Peggy/her sister’s children scene is to show that Peggy doesn’t like being around children/her family
Starting with Don and Betty talking about Carlton through the rest of the episode (~28 minutes until the end)
• MW: Don and Betty’s conversation hits détente (regarding Carlton/Francine), but it reminds Betty of the conversation they likely had between seasons (hence why she goes to smoke a cigarette outside)
• MW: Bobby probably wasn’t lying when he said he was scared
• JH points out that Trudy tells Pete what he should be doing (going with the theme of the episode)
• JH: there’s truth in what both Paul and Joan are saying to each other
• VK: Joan is showing a bit of insecurity when she roasts Paul
• VK: (jokingly) I was trying to get a piece of tape off my desk when Duck enters the room
• MW: Pete and Duck’s conversation is “WASP anthropology”
• LA: Duck is basically asking Pete to sell his soul
• MW: Duck does have an ulterior motive, but is genuinely impressed with Pete
• VK: (again, jokingly) Pete has a Heisman trophy on his desk and that’s why Duck is coming to him
• MW: I trust the audience understands what happens in the shot where someone (Paul) takes a purse out of a locker (Joan’s)
• LA: Roger accuses Don of “girlishness” several times in this episode
• JH: (in regards to cutting Mohawk loose) It’s just a number on a ledger for Roger; for Don it’s a relationship
• VK: I think good morals lead to better business in real life (cites Richard Branson)
• MW: The last thing added to the script was Pete looking at Peggy – they truly know each other, but he knows he can’t approach her. Instead he goes to Don’s office at the worst possible time
• MW: The Xerox is already paying off – Peggy claims she didn’t see who used it with Joan’s license
• MW: Japanese restaurant is a set, not shot on location
• LK: We eat lunch where that Japanese set is located (it doesn’t look like that normally)
• MW: Hank from Mohawk is a good fatherly echo for Don
• MW: Don plays with his drink the same way that he does when Rachel gives him a hard time – it’s a tell
• VK: Someone kept making noise in the room during the American Airlines meeting shoot
• LA: That was the first scene shot for the episode
• MW: I got a lot of feedback from account people about the Pete scenario – unorthodox, but that’s the complexity of the job
• LA: Duck is wearing a British-styled suit because of his connection to American Airlines (while working abroad)
• MW: The episode was built around Don/Japanese (played by a Chinese actress) waitress scene – seeing a woman coming towards him and wondering if it’s reality or not. Betty, this woman, Joy, etc.
• MW: He turns down the waitress because he’s trying to be good – whether that means he made a promise to Betty explicitly or not
• JH: Peggy has not confessed which is why she is not taking communion
• VK: I only believe in religions I can’t understand a word of
• JH: It’s telling that Peggy is getting more comfortable at work and less comfortable in her own community
My thoughts:
My apologies on the delay, but doing the episodes this way makes it a bit more difficult than before. That being said, I feel like whoever is reading this can follow along more easily if they watch the show before/aftewhile reading these.
I’m not sure if this episode was going to be written before Christopher Allport passed away, but in the circumstance they were faced with it was a great way to send his character off while also developing a great storyline for Pete. The Don/Hank/Waitress scene is sometimes talked about in some great detail, but I believe the idea is pretty straight forward – the Hank part mirrors the fatheson relationships the show is known for (both to this point and with future episodes), while Don turning down the waitress plays into the theme that he’s being “good” so far this season.
Edit: I should add that I used the "chapters" on the blu-ray for breaks in the commentary. Let me know if I should continue this way. It makes it easier for me to do it this way for when I have to take a break in writing the stuff down.
Up Next: “The Benefactor”
Another great episode, though one that is highlighted by Mr. Harry Crane more than the Drapers and the Barrett’s. I haven’t seen this episode in a while, but if memory serves it’s almost exclusively about the couples mentioned above. I think Pete, Roger, and Peggy have like 3 scenes combined. Commentaries are provided by Matt on a track by himself (so expect a lot of info), and Rich Sommer, Lesli Linka Glatter (director of the episode), and Melissa McGraw (Bobbi Barrett) on another.
Also I haven’t been getting a ton of questions or feedback, which makes me think either I’m doing an amazing job or an awful job. Feel free to ask any questions you have about the episode itself or anything I’ve written, and also feel free to talk about the episode in general in the comments. It’s been more than a year, I believe, since we’ve had anyone go through the show episode-by-episode in any type of review – I think it would be great if we could start that up again! Thanks for following along!
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2016.12.09 01:21 smcadams Behind The Scenes: Season 1 Recap

Season 1 Recap
Season Timeline: March – November, 1960
Original Air Dates: July 19th – October 18th, 2007
Season 1 Individual Episode Write-Ups
S1E01 – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
S1E02 – Ladies Room
S1E03 – Marriage Of Figaro
S1E04 – New Amsterdam
S1E05 – 5G
S1E06 – Babylon
S1E07 – Red In The Face
S1E08 – The Hobo Code
S1E09 – Shoot
S1E10 – Long Weekend
S1E11 – Indian Summer
S1E12 – Nixon vs. Kennedy
S1E13 – The Wheel
Before Mad Men:
• The “spec” script for Mad Men, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, was written in 2000 while Matt Weiner was a writer on the show “Becker”
• Matt sent the script to David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos”, and landed a job as a writer during the last few seasons of that show.
• HBO, Showtime, and FX all passed on Mad Men; HBO said they would pick it up if David Chase would’ve been a writer or producer on the show, which he declined.
• Mad Men still almost ended up on HBO after Season 1; if AMC did not renew the show Matt was thinking about reproaching HBO to pick it up
• Mad Men was AMC’s first original drama; popular to contrary believe, it was not AMC’s first original program: Remember WENN (1996-98) holds that title
• Matt did not have a full story fleshed out for the show after accepting an offer from AMC; he had to write “Ladies Room” (S1E2) soon afterwards
Casting Mad Men:
• Jon Hamm was one of around 80 actors considered for the role of Don Draper. He had to audition 7 times to get the part, and executives at AMC had to be persuaded that he was “sexy” enough to play the part
• Thomas Jane was the original choice to play Don Draper by AMC executives; Matt Weiner wanted Peter Hermann or Jon Hamm to play the part
• Two scenes from the pilot were used to audition for Don Draper – talking down to Pete when Don and Pete are walking to the Menken’s meeting (all the actors did well), and the meeting with Lucky Strike: the “happiness” part of Don’s speech is what won Jon Hamm the role
• Several actors (not Ashton) from “That 70’s Show” auditioned for parts on the show – Matt said he was very impressed by Danny Masterson (Steven on That 70’s Show)
• John Slattery originally auditioned for Don Draper; during the shoot for Smoke Gets In Your Eyes he was unsure if he wanted to continue with the role
• January Jones originally auditioned for Peggy; Betty’s role was increased after the pilot because of her ability
• Elisabeth Moss was the first person to audition for Peggy
• Vincent Kartheiser only auditioned for Pete; Michael Gladis, Aaron Stanton, and Rich Sommer all auditioned for Pete
• Allison Brie was originally going to be a series regular but the show couldn’t afford her after Community took off
• Christina Hendricks originally auditioned for the role of Midge – Midge ended up being the last role to be cast for the pilot
• Joan was originally a small, funny role but was expanded after Christina Hendricks was cast
• Several famous British actors were turned away for roles because Matt felt like they should only be played by Americans
• Talia Balsam (Mona Sterling) is John Slattery’s wife in real life
The Pilot – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
• The pilot episode was shot in April, 2006, almost a full year before the second episode was shot – the pilot was shot between breaks of The Soprano’s last season
• The pilot episode is the only episode in the series to be shot in New York; the decision was made to move production to California after the show was picked up
• John Cullum (Lee Garner Sr.) was originally going to be a bigger part of the season, but decided to stay in New York after the show moved production
• The budget for the pilot was $3.3 million; subsequent episodes were budgeted around $2-$2.5 million
• The pilot took two weeks to shoot; most episodes take about a week
• 1.65 million people watched Smoke Gets In Your Eyes when it first aired
• AMC only wanted a few things added to the pilot – Don’s Purple Heart, the fly in the light when Don’s looking at it (to symbolize Don being trapped), and the mention of Nixon
• The picture of Trudy is Matt’s mother – the part hadn’t been cast yet (later episodes include a picture of Alison Brie)
• Matt considered playing the role of the doctor that Peggy goes to see – the actor who does end up playing that part was cast for a different part but switched to that role after the original actor didn’t show up
• “I’m not going to let a woman talk to me like this” was the first line written for the pilot
• The Draper children are played by other actors in this episode; Sally is played by Alan Taylor’s daughter
• The scene with Don and Roger in Don’s office is the first shot of the entire show
The Rest of Season 1
• Matt faced his first opposition from AMC during the second episode – they were annoyed that he was paying attention to Don’s family life
• The episode “New Amsterdam” (S1E04) was written specifically to “humanize” Pete
• AMC asked Matt to write more about Don’s identity during the season – S1E05 “5G” was written and shot very quickly (and out of order) to address this. Jon Hamm refers to the episode as “episode 7” during the commentary, possibly a reference to when it was shot
• The original name for the Draper’s nanny is Ethel. By “The Wheel” her name is changed to Carla
• “The Hobo Code” (S1E08) was the 10th episode shot for the season. The next episode “Shoot” was also shot out of order
• Roger’s heart attacks during the season were written because John was also shooting Desperate Housewives at the time. His character was killed off that show to allow him to continue on Mad Men
• Harry was originally going to jump out of a window during “The Wheel” – the decision to keep him on the show was made because of how well Rich Sommer played him. This is referenced in S4E01 – “Public Relations”
• The original ending of “The Wheel” was what happened when Don first comes home at the end of the episode – AMC asked Matt to change it to give the season a darker ending. Matt was originally furious but later admitted that it was the right decision
• Mad Men was renewed for Season 2 on September 20th, 2007 – about a month before the season finale aired
• The Season 1 finale was watched by under 1 million people; more than 2 million tuned in for the Season 2 opener
• Season 1 won the first of four straight Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series; Matt Weiner won for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for the pilot
• Mad Men was nominated for 7 total Emmy’s for season 1 (the most out of any drama’s that year) and was the first show to win the Outstanding Drama Series award while airing on a basic cable station. Several actors were nominated for Emmy’s but all lost – Jon Hamm is the only Mad Men actor to win (for 7B)
My thoughts: …and after a year in the making, Season 1 is now officially complete! I hope you all have enjoyed reading these during the past year – I know I’ve enjoyed writing them (other than the Lizzie-only commentaries, but I digress). As I said before I’m very much looking forward to doing season 2, considering the commentaries will be much better.
I want to thank Basket of Kisses for providing the individual episode timelines. I encourage everyone who enjoys these to read that site - they provide a ton of quality content for Mad Men and other shows/books/movies and more!
Up Next: S2E01 – “For Those Who Think Young”
I have to admit, I’m giddy about getting into the middle part of the show’s run, and this is one of my favorite season openers. The commentaries for this episode are provided by Matt Weiner on one track and Jon Hamm/January Jones on another. Part of the reason why I enjoy the later season commentaries, outside of the reasons I’ve already given, is because you can tell the cast and crew have gotten much closer with one another, and ultimately the commentaries are better because of it.
Also, as I touched on during the last write-up, I’m going to be recording notes and formatting these posts differently so that they are easier to read and follow along with, particularly if you’re watching the episode while reading this.
Hey! Look at this bolded part! - if you have any questions or comments about the show (up through For Those Who Think Young), or things that I’ve written that you want me to address, feel free to leave a comment in this thread. I’m thinking about doing an audio version of this and would love to have something to talk about.
Thank you so much for reading these during the past year! It’s hard to believe that the show ended a year-and-a-half ago already, but revisiting this incredible piece of work (for like the 8th time, probably) has been insightful. Even now I continue to notice and learn new things about this show.
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2016.12.05 17:13 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S1E12 - Nixon vs. Kennedy

Episode Title: Nixon vs. Kennedy (Season 1, Episode 12)
Written By: Lisa Albert & Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Episode Date: November 8th and 9th, 1960 (Basket of Kisses)
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• Jon Hamm’s hand was broken during rehearsal for the explosion scene in Korea
• The path Don and Pete take to Cooper’s office is “geographically wrong”
• The episode is about questioning what is fair – JFK beating Nixon, Don getting away with stealing an identity – Don is Nixon to Pete’s JFK
• This episode was shot in 7 days
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Jon Hamm, Rich Sommer, Vincent Kartheiser
• Jon Hamm broke his hand during the rehearsal for the explosion scene from Korea, one of the first scenes shot during this episode. Because of that his right hand is concealed for most of the rest of his scenes
• Cooper’s instance on people taking their shoes off in his office is partly quirkiness, but also a way for him to show his power
• Aaron Stanton almost knocks the table he’s leaning against over when the guys are talking in the lobby area
• Rich says he smoked about 50 cigarettes per episode, despite Harry trying to stop smoking this season
• Jon is wearing a cast on his right arm during the first office scene with Pete
• Rich says the cast mates were originally going to use real alcohol for the party scenes, but forgot to bring any. This was his favorite day of shooting that season
• Certain scenes show Jon’s swollen right hand, particularly when he first comes home and picks up Sally
• The scene with Ken chasing down Allison and revealing her panties is based off a real practice from the time called “scuttling”; Rich says they would actually take the woman’s panties off during the real version
• One of the only improvised scenes in the show is when Stephanie Courtney (also known as Flo The Progressive Lady) takes Peggy’s drink and pours it in her cup after Peggy leaves
• Vinny didn’t think he got the scene right where he looks at Dick’s pictures; Matt liked it, however • Ironically Rich calls Pete “the slimiest character” for taking Don’s box
• Several takes shot of Michael Gladis pushing Aaron after Ken takes Paul’s play; a less violent push was ultimately used
• An extra actually spilled some “alcohol” on herself and the clip made it into the show
• Scenes with Harry cheating on his wife were shot the day of Rich’s 2-year anniversary – making it slightly awkward for him
• The Paul/Joan scene was the last scene shot during the party shoot
• Joan mentioning Orson Wells and the line “you look different when you drink” come from when Matt said both to Michael Gladis during the pilot shoot and the post-pilot party, respectively
• Harry’s glasses in the show are Rich’s real glasses – a screw was taken out to make it look broken
• Harry’s office scene was actually shot in Pete’s office
• Jon: Mad Men makes an effort to show the effects of over-indulgence, despite people saying the show glamorizes it
• Robert Morse likes to sing on set after cut is called
• Pete wasn’t supposed to back up when Don comes at him, but that was Vinny’s natural reaction
• All the Korea scenes are shot on location (at Sable Ranch, which burned down this year), except the scenes inside the tent (shot on a stage)
• Jon had his sideburns cut to make him look younger – he wears fake sideburns for the rest of the shoot for this episode and all of the next episode
• Don repeats “you haven’t thought this through” that he hears from Rachel to Pete later in the episode
• Peggy is the only person Don truly respects because she worked her way up
• The episode was screened in front of an audience (Paleyfest) that applauded when Cooper said “who cares”
• (The real) Don Draper’s actor had to sit in the melted skin makeup for 6 hours
• Trains are a means of escape for Don
• The actor who plays the army guy on the train with Don was James Gandolfini’s stand-in on The Soprano’s
• When the woman on the train says “forget about that boy in the box” and offers to buy Don a drink, the persona of Don Draper is born
• This is the favorite episode of the season for both Jon and Rich
Commentators: Alan Taylor (Director), Matt Weiner
• Matt – This episode is the climax of the season
• Despite the fact that Nixon didn’t come to Sterling Cooper for official ads, the guys are being company men and supporting him
• Janie Bryant (costume designer) had to cut Don’s suits so Jon’s cast could fit
• Little eye contact between Don and Betty when Don goes home
• Matt confirms he couldn’t use the real version of “scuttling”
• Paul’s play is his fantasy, hence why Joan is the lead woman
• Harry’s glasses breaking is irreversible proof that he’s cheated
• Peggy feels “superior” to everyone else in the office when she first walks in after the party, until she finds puke in her garbage can
• Peggy is right in her reaction to the locker break-in, but is supposed to look petty in that scene
• Vinny’s performance during the blackmail scene is “one of the highlights of the season” according to Matt
• During that scene Pete is supposed to get less threatening while Don becomes more
• The black commander in the army is done to show that the army is more integrated than normal, civilian life
• Rachel is rational compared to Don’s childish behavior
• In a movie Don’s offer to Rachel would be romantic and they’d run away, however in real life it is looked at as immature
• Rachel’s image of Don is forever crushed in that scene
• Don being forced to deal with Peggy’s problem in the middle of his problem is comedic on purpose
• What Peggy says to Don motivates him to confront Pete, particularly the “it’s not fair” part – she’s actually talking about Pete. They don’t know about the mutual dislike of Pete, but Peggy is informing Don indirectly
• The shot of Pete standing next to a tv with JFK lingers for a few seconds on purpose – drawing the comparison between them (minus the obvious charisma)
• Matt knew the “who cares” scene would take place when they were shooting the pilot
• “A man is whatever room he is in” – reference to the credit sequence and how the room is dissolving around Don
• “One never knows how loyalty is born” – Pete is now connected to Don forever
• Don switching identities/waking up in the hospital scenes were originally going to be shown in order
My thoughts: When I did a ranking of Mad Men episodes before, I think I put this episode at number 10, so obviously I was excited to watch it. I think part of the reason is the way they attempt to connect Don to Nixon and Pete to JFK, pitting those two against each other in the backdrop of the election itself.
Up Next: “The Wheel” Very excited to get to the first season finale, as they are often some of the best episodes of the series, and this is no different. It’ll be nice to hear both Jon and Matt (on different commentaries) talk about one of, if not the defining scene of the show. Expect that write up to be posted either tomorrow (Tuesday) or possibly Wednesday. After, I might post a season 1 recap – provided people are interested.
Expect better posts starting in season 2, as the commentaries get a lot more concise and all the commentators are in the same room instead of having the tracks spliced together. Likewise, Matt Weiner is on every single commentary (except “The New Girl”, I believe), so any scenes you might have questions about for the rest of the series he will probably answer. Starting with season 2 I’m going to post the commentary with Matt first, just because he provides a lot of good content compared to everyone else.
As always, please feel free to type things into the comment box below and hit enter! Thank you for reading!
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2016.01.05 19:30 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S1E8: The Hobo Code

Episode Title: The Hobo Code (Season 1, Episode 8)
Written By: Chris Provenzano
Directed By: Phil Abraham
Episode Date: ~July, 1960 (Basket of Kisses)
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• This was the 10th episode shot and the 8th to air
• The “Disney Ranch” (where the flashback takes place) has been used in many episodes of TV and movies, and was also used for a different character on Mad Men in a later season (not trying to post that big of spoilers)
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Bryan Batt, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss (all on separate tracks spliced together…ugh)
• Pete does not pre-meditate hooking up with Peggy, the location and situation turns him on (in the office, they think they’re alone, etc.)
• Vinny and EM had a talk before the opening scene on how passionate their tryst should be
• Vinny doesn’t think he delivered the “no, you don’t” line correctly but that take was used anyway
• “This is stage 2 of the padding” - EM
• The voice actress playing Sal’s mom improvised some of her lines, displeasing some of the producers
• “This isn’t really a show about 1960; it’s about people that lived in 1960.” - Vinny
• When Peggy talks about “keeping a spare”, it’s a reference to what she’s learned from Don and his affairs
• It also shows her growing confidence and shows Peggy growing closer to Don’s “level”
• Sal is wearing tiny emblems of New Orleans when Lois comes to flirt; Bryan lives there and Janie Bryant
• “Sal is the Don Draper of his department” – Vinny
• Vinny and Lizzie worked on a short film together before MM. They are very competitive in their scenes, and try to out-act each other (in a playful manner)
• Don can read both clients and women instinctively
• Pete feels more comfortable around Peggy vs around Trudy, which is why he’s so attracted to her
• Matt was on set for Peggy showing up in Pete’s office (with the rest of the guys) – he told Vinny to do a 180 in terms of how he was playing that scene
• The skip Peggy does was written into the script. Matt demonstrated how to do it on set
• Sal doesn’t wear the same types of jackets as the others because Bryan sweats a lot
• Vinny tries not to talk to actors who are shooting other scenes while he’s also on set because he feels they’re in their own world
• All the actors called Matt some form of “dad” or “father”; talked about being happy when he was on set
• Bryan originally turned down his first audition for Mad Men because he went on vacation after Hurricane Katrina happened
• Lots of speculation on set early on where the characters storylines would go
• The actors featured dancing had to take dance lessons before shooting those scenes
• Those scenes were also shot in a real restaurant in downtown LA
• Pete’s “I don’t like you like this” was the last shot
• “Pete didn’t mean that, he’s just pushing Peggy away.” – EM
• The actors get their scripts 3-5 days before shooting
• Generally Vinny would meet Alison Brie (Trudy) for lunch to discuss scenes – mentioned he didn’t do that with Elisabeth
• Matt is open to changing his mind on characters based on how the actors portray them
• EM memorizes her lines right before shooting (like in the trailer before heading to set), but never learns them earlier
• A lot of the smaller parts are not cast by the time the table reads take place
• Pete originally looks at Peggy when he shows up at the end of the episodes but Vinny argued that it would be a more powerful scene if he didn’t so they edited it out
Commentator: Phil Abraham (Director)
• Phil was originally the director of photography for the first 5 episodes
• The elevator is a set piece built in the lobby of where the show is shot, is not a real elevator
• Peggy is early to SC to work on her copy, Pete is there to get away from Trudy
• After doing the first 5 episodes Phil wanted to take a break before directing this episode (my edit: he’s credited on the first 4 episodes + Babylon)
• Roger and Bert’s office sets are actually the same space, just switched around
• Pete is “Don Draper Jr.”
• “Mark your man” a nation carried across the episode
• Don gets cocky and starts “toying” with the Belle Jolie guy when he says “we’ll never know”
• Joan is likely headed to see Roger when she announces she’s “running errands”
• The episode was shot out of order due to John Slattery not being available (because he was on Desperate Housewives at the time)
• Phil had the script early because this was originally scheduled to be shot in order
• Midge is just a “stopping point” for Don – there’s no deep connection for him
• The hobo is taking the path of least resistance with the Whitman family, particularly during their table conversation
• Matt likes to have 6 scripts completely finished before shooting for each season begins
• MM is different than other shows in that they will freely re-use outfits. This is more realistic because most of the characters are young and don’t have huge wardrobes yet
• There’s a tiny hint of what’s to come, in regards to Harry and Hildy when he motions for her to come dance
• Pete tells Peggy that he doesn’t like her like that because she is being happy, successful and is in control (which Pete doesn’t like)
• “What are you afraid of” is what makes up Sal’s mind not to go through with it; it upsets him that he doesn’t care about the risk
• Dick/Hobo conversation shot in a barn down the road from the Disney Ranch. It was actually shot during the day but the crew covered the sides of the barn with some drapes
• The editor will generally need 4/5 days to get the director’s cut of the episode ready, plus 4 more days spent on editing it before sending it to Matt
• The casting (particularly for the beatniks) fell behind schedule for this episode
• Don’s desire to flee (both in this season and throughout the show) comes from the flashback
• The hobo isn’t the one who puts the mark on the post – a different hobo had already done so
• The episode ends on Don’s door (and his name) because it’s his sign that marks who he is: a dishonest man
My thoughts: This was actually one of Elisabeth’s best commentating episodes! …seriously
I have mixed feelings about the commentary for this episode. On one hand there was some good information that we got, but on the other hand this is one of the most important early-season episodes of the show and there was so much more we should’ve learned. Thankfully whoever put these together learned their lesson, both with splicing commentaries together (seriously? 3 people on one track and all 3 were spliced in?!) and including Matt for 78 of the final 79 (or however many) episodes.
Up Next: “Shoot”
The good news: Matt is back(!) and with Janie Bryant on one track (and they’re actually together for once!). Dan Bishop (production designer) is by himself on the other track
The bad news: I’ve already listened to the first track and Matt is surprisingly quiet. Generally I take about a page and a half of bullet-pointed notes; I took less than a page on that track. I might go back and re-listen to it and see if I can add more.
As always, thank you for reading and please let me know if there’s any questions you have for this episode (or the prior 7) that I might be able to answer!
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2016.01.03 20:58 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S1E7: Red in the Face

Episode Title: Red in the Face (Season 1, Episode 7)
Written By: Bridget Bedard
Directed By: Tim Hunter
Episode Date: Late May or Early June, 1960 (Basket of Kisses)
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• The theme of the episode is “emasculation”
• Matt Weiner directed parts of the Betty/Francine wine drinking scenes because Tim had to go to Chicago to see his son graduate
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Jon Hamm, John Slattery (on one); January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser (on another, spliced in)
• John Slattery introduces himself as Elisabeth Moss, January Jones introduces herself exactly as she does during the table reads
• January admits that she doesn’t get a lot of the jokes on the show
• Roger wears clothes that are too tight on him – JS believes Janie Bryant (costume designer) did it on purpose to “break his balls”
• The relationship in the Don/RogePete scene mimics real life (both sides of the commentary made a point to say that)
• The Don/Roger bar scenes were shot at Musso and Frank’s in LA
• All of the background actors in that scene are pantomiming while main stars talk louder than normal
• There were big debates (a phrase often used by all commentators) about the sizes of the martini glasses
• “That was fun…eating 42 steaks” – Jon Hamm
• Dinner scenes took an entire day to shoot, starting from 6 in the morning
• Disjointed shooting schedule used for those scenes, each scene shot multiple times at different hours of the day
• John Slattery is walking off stage after leaving the Draper house, the car sound effects added during post production
• The Draper home is on a stage, the exteriors for their house is shot on location
• The Chip N Dip belongs to Matt’s parents, and is only featured in two shots during the episode. Otherwise the box is empty when on screen
• The backdrop for the offices are curtains that are moved during different times of day
• Vinny channeled Matt when saying “why would you do that?” to the department store woman
• Vinny was genuinely envious of the Matherton actor because of his height (edit: the IMDB page lists the character as “Kicks” Matherton)
• Rich Sommer was actually terrified of Vinny holding the rifle on set
• The barrel of the gun was attached to the camera when Pete points it through the office
• John Slattery admits not doing much research to get into character for Roger
• Roger puts on his glasses in the Nixon meeting to signify that he’s older
• Vinny shot the scene where he’s getting yelled at about the rifle the same time (and location) that Betty drinks wine with Francine
• The set where Pete gets yelled at by Trudy is literally just the corner in the scene
• There was originally more lines to the Don/Hollis conversation
• Matt told Vinny that he’s too young to understand but the speech he gives to Peggy would’ve gotten him laid
• The grocery store set was built in the lunch area of the studio and is filled with all real food
• January wished they used a take where Betty slaps Helen even harder
• Jon/John are eating “plastic” oysters during the Don/Roger scenes (JS brought that up but didn’t really expand on it)
• “It’s not easy being Betty Draper – I’ve tried it” – John Slattery (those two are hilarious commentating)
• The elevatolobby scene is shot right next to the normal stage used for the show
• Jon Hamm/John Slattery walked up the same 4 stories of stairs the entire time. To get the winded look they would run up and down before takes
• The entire stair sequence was shot in about an hour
• Roger’s puke scene shot several times, they eventually used the 2nd take
• A tube ran up John Slattery’s leg (and was taped to the other side of his face), while someone just off camera would push a button to activate the “puke”
• The puke was made up of clam chowder mixed with other food
Commentator: Tim Hunter (Director)
• Matt was “’very disappointed” by the director’s cut and didn’t like it at all. He felt that the dinner scene wasn’t right and the show was reaching for laughs
• Generally there are 3 separate meetings taking place during pre-production
• “No sun in Venice” a modern, jazzy version featured as temp track in transition
• Much discussion over Joan’s suitcase (when Roger comes over to talk to her) – is based off Grace Kelly’s in “Rear Window”
• Joan’s friend “completely disapproves” of Roger
• An extra scene between the RogeJoan scene and the Don/Peggy scene was cut for time
• Initially more shots were intended for Don/Roger (and Peggy/Pete) scenes but they ran out of time
• Roger is disappointed that both girls in the bar were only interested in Don (shown as he walks past, another example of being emasculated)
• Don in the phone booth was shot at Musso and Frank’s as well
• Dinner scenes at the Draper’s house took 8-9 pages in the script
• Scene where Roger leaves is done in one shot because the dinner scenes beforehand used many cuts
• Betty is “damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t” in that situation
• Chip N Dip was actually a wedding present to Matt’s parents, and something he wanted to use since he got into writing
• Don/Roger scene in office took longer than normal to shoot, was the first scene shot that day
• Don won’t confront Roger in that scene because he knows it’s not the time or place
• Set of Pete returning the Chip N Dip is located in the building where the stairs scenes (later in the episode) were shot
• Big debate of “I’m coming back for you” – Matt didn’t like how it came off
• Calming music is used over Pete pointing the gun in the office so that it didn’t seem too dark (i.e Pete was never going to shoot up the office)
• Nixon meeting scene supposed to show that Roger is older than Don. Don notices that and gets the idea to get revenge. He realizes that he and Roger are different despite Roger thinking they are the same
• Pete is “in-between Hemmingway-esk and dreamy” in his monologue about hunting
• The Pete/Peggy scene was the last thing edited for the episode and was gone right before the deadline
• Don makes sure “not to cheat” when eating, drinking and smoking with Roger. He makes sure to match Roger exactly
• Jon/John did a silent take of doing nothing but eating, drinking and smoking
• Most of the stairs scenes were shot on a single floor landing and made to look different with multiple angles. The last few shots were done on the other 3 stories to get better angles
• Matt yelled at Tim for using a take of Robert Morse skipping into the scene at the end. Tim said he couldn’t bring himself to tell Robert to take it down a notch
• Roger puking scene had to have the floor removed after each take
My thoughts: Loved listening to both commentaries for this episode, particularly because both are interesting (the actor’s version is hilarious as well) and the episode itself is great. Tim Hunter’s commentary is extremely technical, in regards to camera angles, editing, etc. I would’ve included all of that in here but it would’ve been too difficult to pinpoint exactly what he said into bullet points. If you’re into a detailed process about the making of a tv show (particularly this one), I would definitely recommend listening to his commentary.
Up next? “The Hobo Code”, another great episode from the first season. In fact, outside of “Indian Summer”, I think the rest of the episodes from this season are all really great. The first commentary on “The Hobo Code” is Vinny, Elisabeth and Bryan Batt, while Phil Abraham is on the other. I’ll try and get that posted sometime in the next few days. The next few episodes should be posted more quickly as they either have 1 commentary track or I’ve already listened to one of them, such as the case with “Shoot”.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this and if there’s anything you’d like me to take another look at or explain (or any comment you’d like to make, really), just let me know!
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2015.12.18 21:03 smcadams Behind The Scenes: S1E4: New Amsterdam

Episode Title: New Amsterdam (Season 1, Episode 4)
Written By: Lisa Albert
Directed By: Tim Hunter
Episode Date: “Three consecutive weekdays in April 1960” (via Basket of Kisses)
Interesting/Misc Facts:
• Alison Brie replaces Matt Weiner’s mother as the picture of Trudy in Pete’s office
• This episode was written specifically to “humanize” Pete
The follow information is from the commentaries. I won’t be posting anything verbatim, just in case of legal issues
Commentators: Vincent Kartheiser, Alison Brie (Trudy Campbell), Lisa Albert
• Vincent was so proud of getting his own name on a door and office that he took Alison there after a table read to show it off (this was her first episode)
• Alison’s first scene in the episode was the first she shot on the show
• Alison suggested that Trudy should have an affair with Don, but wasn’t taken seriously
• The scene when Trudy and Pete first see the apartment was shot very late at night (despite the light) and was their last scene in the episode
• Vincent was supposed to leave to go to an event (which he joked was his friends beer pong game), but skipped it and stayed to shoot Alison’s side of the apartment scenes
• Trudy relates more with the men in the office than the women, feels more comfortable around them
• Betty walking the dog was supposed to be in the dark, but filming can’t be done after a certain time outside in Pasadena, where it was shot
• The Campbell’s are some of the only characters who don’t smoke
o Only actors who smoke(d) in real life smoke on the show for authenticity
• The actor who played Pete’s father died in real life between season’s 1 and 2 in an avalanche
• That actor proposed his character do different things during his scene with Pete, such as stringing a fishing line, cleaning golf clubs, etc. Matt rejected them because the scene was personal – he witnessed his friend having that conversation with his parents
• The set of the Campbell’s bedroom in this episode consists of the two walls you see and the bed only
• Pete “getting dumped on by his parents” influences him during the pitch – he’s angry and it has nothing to do with Don
• Pete wants to be creative; he’s not happy with basically being a pimp (both Vincent and Lisa used that term despite not recording at the same time) – there’s no dignity
• The restaurant the Campbell’s eat at is later reused for the place Pete meets the client
• Alison’s dad told her “too bad you have to play such a spoiled little bitch”, which Alison took offense to (jokingly) because her notes on the set told her to be herself
• Alison loves wearing the period-appropriate undergarments, including girdles (me: not important, but she’s the only woman not to complain so far!)
• Lisa resisted writing the Betty/Glen hair lock story, but was convinced by Matt because heh explained Betty and Glen are contemporaries, as she was basically a child and took it as a romantic gesture
• Helen being the only person on the block voting for JFK matches her alienation from everyone
o Betty taking the pamphlet shows she’s curious…about Helen
• The posters during the second pitch are black and white because they wouldn’t have time to make color mockups
• Don refusing to look Pete in the eyes while dressing him down is supposed to show his dep lack of respect for Pete
• Had to shoot a lot of takes to get the album Pete throws to land correctly
• The episode is about what is valuable
• Roger is the older generation of Pete, in the sense that he had everything handed to him with a silver spoon
• Vincent felt legitimately intimidated when shooting the scene with Roger and Don in his office
• Roger needs to make amends with Don because he sold him out in Cooper’s office
o Won’t do it in an obvious way – does it obliquely after everyone’s left
• Trudy’s dad (the actor) does a great Marlon Brando impression
• Alison was improvising lines when telling the story about the Campbell’s at the end of the episode
• The shot at the end wasn’t with a backdrop, but was CGI’d with a picture of NY from the 1960’s
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2015.03.25 18:12 bwburke94 How old are the members of Team Angel?

Well, we have explicit ages for some of them, but not all. Because season 3 doesn't have any direct BtVS crossovers, we can't determine the exact dates of the midseason episodes, making Cordelia's and Connor's birthdays a bit hard to determine.
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2012.06.15 02:06 unequalized Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser and Alexis Bledel Are Dating In Real Life

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