On Mad Men

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Mad Men has generated an inordinate amount of think pieces this week. It’s overwhelming to say the least. While I certainly don’t need to contribute another aside to the story, a few thoughts about this show keep percolating in my mind.

For one, there is something different Mad Men’s public discourse – every commentary is able to find a different angle about the show or to highlight one last piece of hidden meaning that is still lingering behind each frame. This culture of commentary speaks to the complexity and nuance of each episode, every word of dialogue, each painstakingly, slow, frustrating bit of character development. (Come on, Trudy. Don’t let Pete play you like that, again.)

In many ways, I think the critiques a single episode of Mad Men can generate might be its best legacy. This series about a specific time in media history and American culture has not only elevated the medium of television itself but also taken television criticism in new directions. A decade from now, when every culture critic revisits the legacy of Mad Men, the conversations we have been having today will remain as thought-provoking as ever. (I can almost guarantee it will be Peggy Olsen and her story – not Don Draper’s – we will be most concerned with by then.)

Don Draper, more than any other Mad Men character, isn’t a character at all. He’s a symbol, something created and embellished through advertising. So much about him – his past and his future – is left unanswered.

This is why Mad Men has generates legitimate conspiracy theories and it is these conspiracies that separate Mad Men from Breaking Bad or The Wire. These conspiracy theories make the public discourse surrounding Mad Men fascinating and surreal. The theories range from absurd to completely plausible. They’re funny and carefully thought out. Above all, they are an expression of basic human desires.

We are naturally driven to be curious and seek out the truth. There has to be more to every story. (This is partially why fanfiction exists. The writers left something out and it becomes up to fans to fill in the blanks.)

But the beauty of being human is that you can never know everything. It’s impossible. And yet, that can’t be all there is. There has to be some hidden, profound truths behind a glass of red wine spilled on Don Draper’s white carpet.

The desire to know every detail about Mad Men, to find meaning behind every prop, to craft unlikely scenarios, also says a great deal about the nuance of the show itself. Mad Men relishes in time and banality and the ordinary nature of space. The slowness of an episode’s structure is deliberate and it drives audiences insane. For those of us who have spent 92 episodes devouring every detail of Mad Men’s world, there has to be more. Except there never is more.

I have my own ideas how Mad Men could end but none of them are likely or worth writing about.

As the series comes to an end tonight, I see this show as nothing more than a profound reflection on every day life. Mad Men may be set decades in the past but the feelings and experiences are immensely relatable for today’s audiences. (Human nature, like the story arcs on Mad Men, slowly evolves.) The characters will continue existing in this fictional universe we won’t be privy to anymore. Any similarities to Sharon Tate or D.B. Cooper are just coincidence. And that’s it. That’s how it all ends. But we’re all better for having experienced the subtle richness of this television show. It’s hard to imagine there will be any series like Mad Men again.

What I Learned From… 9 to 5

I want this hat.

I want that hat and that cherry lapel pin for my Jane Fonda-Lily Tomlin-Madeline Albright Theme Parties

Once again, I’ve neglected this blog. As an apology, I’ve decided to write a new What I Learned From…

In the following post, I will reveal snarky insights about a popular movie. Several months from now, someone will stumble upon this post via the Google and think I am completely serious/clueless about the movie I’ve watched and what I’ve written. (Why else would a post on The Godfather – Part 3 from 2012 still get so much traffic?)

In anticipation of Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s new Netflix series Aaron Sorkin inspired FanFiction Grace and Frankie, here is what I learned from 9 to 5. Continue reading

The Problem With The Oscars

selmaThe 87th Academy Awards are in just a few hours. Boyhood will win Best Picture but that doesn’t matter.

As always, the Oscars telecast will be one of television’s great spectacles. Too much attention will given to what actresses are wearing, to how Jennifer Aniston will be breathing the same air as Brangelina, and to whether or not Neil Patrick Harris lives up to the absurd expectations we set for emcees. (No NPH, you can’t top Ellen’s selfie. Don’t even try.)

What we won’t discuss – at least not for any longer than we need to – is the incredibly flawed system (and Academy) that determines the so-called best movies, performances of a given year.

Every year the Oscars nominations incite people and this year that has anger resonated more than anyone could have predicted. The lack of recognition for Selma, its director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo is deeply wrong, damaging and glaringly political. Equally disheartening are the overwhelming number of nominations for white men for the movies they made about white men, their lives and their problems.

Welcome to Hollywood.

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A Guide To The Perfect Galentine’s Day Party

Happy Galentine’s Day! I celebrated the greatest day of the year this past weekend by hosting a craft party for all of my favorite ladies to enjoy. Although I hate sharing DIY tips (that’s why I’ll never make it as a lifestyle blogger), I have made an exception for Galentine’s Day. Here are some ways you can celebrate the best ladies in your life.

1. Spend an unnatural amount of time at Michaels.

That escalator leads to my happy place/personal hell.

That escalator leads to my happy place/personal hell.

Surprisingly it only took three relatively painless trips to my local Michaels to pick out a craft project, find appropriately tacky decorations and not go completely overboard. Hah. Who am I kidding? At this point, I’m basically Abbi at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

2. Send out questionnaires.

How can you provide beautiful gifts for your favorite ladies if you do not know every detail about their lives? My highly analytical survey (who’s your feminist icon? Favorite female politician? Favorite Book? Girly cocktail?) resulted in some custom party favors. Throw in some random questions (What’s the last book you read? Favorite color?) just for fun.

3. Pre-craft 

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Feminist icon cupcake toppers are must for any Galentine’s Day party.

 

Pre-crafting is just like pre-gaming. You eat, you drink, you knit, you cut and you glue furiously until 3AM. You should always pre-craft so much that you need to take Alleve the following morning.

4. Create unique gift bags.

I’m not Leslie Knope. I actually sleep. I do not have a binder creator on retainer. I’m not skilled at making mosaics out of your favorite diet sodas. But I can search every store for the perfect gift bags swag.

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What I came up with: Pinwheels; I Think You’re Sharp Pencils; Bubbles; Lip Gloss; Knitted Heart Puff stuffed with dried lavender; Chocolates in Handmade Heart-Shaped Gift Boxes; Conversation Hearts; Condoms.

5. Kick it breakfast style

Ideally your Galentine’s Day celebration takes place during brunch. Ideally you only serve waffles. If you know anything about Galentine’s Day, you don’t need me to tell you this.

6. Craft!

Galentine’s Day Craft Parties are not Paint Nite. (I hope. Please never let it become Paint Nite.) The key to successful craft party is to find something everyone can make and will actually want to use or gift to someone else. And allow your guests to do whatever the hell they want.

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DIY Chalkboards are relatively simple to make. Hot glue some magnets on the back and you’re in craft business.

 

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Notorious RBG not included

 

If you follow these steps, Galentine’s Days parties are a fantastic way to cut loose in February and enjoy the greatest holiday that really should be a national holiday.

What I Learned From 2014

This is not a “Best of 2014” list. This is an obituary for a blog.

“On December 31 2014 , the final post of For Cinephiles by a Cinefille miraculously appeared on the Internet. It had terrible SEO and even worse grammar. Thanks to a grand total of seven blog posts all year and after a nearly five month absence, no one bothered to read it.”

Just kidding. This blog isn’t going anywhere.

It isn’t necessary for you to read this post. It is more necessary for me to just write something, anything, on the final day of 2014, to force myself to get back to blogging. Continue reading

About That Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer

Leave it to Fifty Shades of Grey to pull me out of my self-imposed blogging exile. I’ve watched the trailer a few times now and I… I just… I have some thoughts. For starters:

This is Zoe Kazan.

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This is a white guy.

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He wears suits.

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He has a helicopter.

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She has… well I’m sure she has hobbies and friends and something exciting going on in her life that is equally as exciting as that helicopter. Perhaps she enjoys scarves as evidenced by the one time she is seen wearing a scarf.

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There is also an elevator.

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But this is not Grey’s Anatomy.

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Oh.

So.

Well, Beyonce is on board with this movie so I guess it’s fine.

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The end.

 

What The Expendables Are Thinking (And Who Invited Kelsey Grammer?)

Everybody Dance Now

A new Expendables movie is like Christmas morning when you open your presents and wonder: “How the hell did you come up with this?” That’s basically what I thought as I watched the trailer for The Expendables 3: This Time With Young People Who Understand TechnologyThe Expendables is a who’s who from every action film and the trailer is, fittingly, a roll call. The familiar faces plus some new additions to the Expendables crew will bring more of the same absurd goodness to the big screen.

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