Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv. This weeks comes with a roar: ROOOOOAAARRRR !!
Mad Men (AMC)
What season are we on? Five. Already? In the show it is nine months on from the end of the last season (18 months I think, for the viewer). Don is now married, Joanie is now with child. As usual everyone is worried about their position. But this is Mad men, and watching everyone try to appear comfortable, whilst struggling to maintain some thing or other from their lives, is all part of the fun. Well that and the sixties setting. We are now in 1965 and the sixties as presented in “sixties nostalgia” (i.e before I was born) is finally beginning. This also means civil rights protests. This episode cleverly opened using a real life incident as reported in the New York times, where agency Young & Rubicam thought it was amusing to pick on, play tricks on, some of the protesters. The “And they call us savages” quote also came from the story. Clever as Don and co placed an ad in the paper about them being an equal opportunities employer which led Joan to visit, worried about her position, and many black people to turn up expecting a job to be available. It is this mix of real life events and fiction which give an authentic and fun appeal to the show.
Highlights of the episode were Megan giving Don the song and dance (it made my toes curl thinking Don would be dying inside), the sequence of greetings and hellos when Joanie visited the office and brought the baby in (Pete and Peggy with what might have been? Roger “There’s my baby”), Harry insulting Megan then thinking he was going to get fired (funny negotiations with Roger – Harry: “You’re going to owe me.” Roger: “No, I’m not. I just gave you a lot of money. This is a transaction”).
Mad men still knows how to play the subtleties, and play with our emotions in a clever way. Fine opener, to one of the best shows on tv
– My wife says: Nothing. She hasn’t watched it before and is not interested.
– I say: I love Mad Men. I’m glad it is back.
Final episode of Luck due to the recent cancellation from horse deaths, during filming for the second season. This episode was not written as the end, but functions quite well as one. Plenty of stories are still open, but the narrative of Luck was never one of a start and end of a story, but kind of like entering in, to a story in progress, to view some of the chapters. In a way it is good, for example, to know the Foray stables gang ended on a high note, even if they pointed out they would probably lose it all. Escalante had a good day on the track with two wins, but an unfortunate one off of it with Jo losing the baby. The scene of mutual respect between Escalante and Nick Nolte’s Walter after the race was well done. The race itself between the two horses was awesome. Full of tension, extremely well shot, a finish partially based on subtleties, we didn’t know who had won and had to follow with everyone else at the track. In fact, both races were extremely well done, with Rosie coming from behind and getting her moment of glory in the first race.
Despite this, the main focus of this episode was on the assassins tracking Ace. Gus was smart in trying to keep Ace safe and had a lucky, if not slightly paranoid spot as they left the hotel. Interesting that because if the assassin had made his shot, he would have been out of there and on the plane home. The scene in the restaurant was clever, particularly the reference to an earlier time something similar had happened for Ace and Gus, and the immediate acting out a phone call, come argument. This led the assassin to what he thought was following Ace into the bathroom, only to instead be jumped by Gus. Gus just about managed to kill him but gave a resigned look, presumably wondering why he was still doing that at his age. Unfortunate for the assassin that he had not gotten that earlier shot.
Ace’s Grandson turn up at the hotel (played by Dustin Hoffman’s real life son), arranged by Michael, a means to telling Ace that they can get to him in many ways. Michael Gambon is superb as Michael. It is a real shame we will not get to see this play out further. The show was really finding its feet. This final episode was strong. It is a shame it had to be cancelled.
– My wife says: What if someone comes into the bathroom?
– I say: I was wondering that as well. – “You’re back from the toilet quick dear” – “Yes, there was a bloke strangling another bloke in there, so I thought I would go later”.
A bit of a moving pieces episode, prior to the last two. Quarles seems to be on the way out as the marshal’s service now have a real charge they can put against him (kidnapping and torture), Wynn Duffy has finally realised he is better off manoeuvring himself out of the way, Detroit mobsters are after him, and Boyd, well Boyd captured him. I suspect he may escape some how, which I hope, as I would like to see a clever shootout with Raylan (I suspect Boyd might let Raylan in on the gun up the sleeve trick).
Great to see Michael Ironside as one of the mobsters. He had an amusing (and misunderstood) conversation with Raylan in the opening sequence and a further amusing sequence as he was arrested later (like Gus in Luck, referencing his age and diminishing skills).
Also great was Art joining Raylan for the day. I love how Art is partially annoyed by Raylan, but also likes him, and therefore tries to defend him. The conversations they have are often highlights of episodes. This show has some of the best dialogue on tv.
– My wife says: I was tired, I think I fell asleep and missed a bit.
– I say: This is a show when it first aired that I never expected to be much. It is so much more. You may like this anyway, but if you like Elmore Leonard, you really need to see this show.
The Ultimate Fighter (FX)
With no family deaths to report on this week, the in house, training type footage was mainly made up of pranks and training. Ok I suppose but nothing to exciting. Faber’s guy lost again although he was up against the one of the favourites to win the thing. I’m not sure the fighters are allowed contact with the outside world. I’m not sure why.
Highlights – Nice fight. The “better” fighter started ok, seemed to be getting nowhere as the first round progressed, only to pick it up and comfortably win in the second round. Truth be told, he deserved the win.
Lowlights – Like last time, the one I wanted to win got knocked out.
– My wife says: I do want team cruz to win.
– I say: Um, I’m not that bothered (i.e. as Faber’s team are already two down).
tv dinner (the rest)
My big fat gypsy wedding – Yes I know this one aired in the UK a month or so back, but this blog is on US aired TV. – Anyhoo it’s one of these shows my wife likes to watch so she can laugh at the idiots contained within, and their relative lack of taste. Check out the Palm trees and pineapple dresses for these two:
Overdressed? Nope, gorgeous. – Thelma, dress maker to the gypsy community, based in Liverpool was thankfully back. She knows she is making some shall we say, odd creations, but who cares, she gets paid for it right? Well she knows what she is making so I don’t think she cares either way so long as her clients are happy.
The highlight of the episode for me was the beauty contest. Some odd looking chap who was supposed to be aged 34 but looked 44 was trying to arrange a beauty contest. It was to be a big event with the winner likely getting “a lot of” exposure to go on to better things. He secured some quality judges in a local modelling agent, his own wife, and two male hairdressers. Class. Presumably his wife was there so it’s not just him ogling some scantily clad women. Anyhoo, don’t worry, the contestants kept their end of things. The four that showed up, and couldn’t have been above age 15, managed despite their own nerves at such a big show, to keep calm enough to wander in front of the judges. The judges were even able to pick a winner. See if you can guess which one:
That’s right, it was the one second from left.
– My wife says: This show is even better than Hoarders (maybe).
– I say: Um, if you say so.
Lexicon word of the day: Kowtow.