The women of Westeros do a lot of self-fashioning through fashion. As in all regimes which deny civic and personal agency to women, costumery and textiles offer an indirect expressive register unavailable elsewhere, a textural iconography of self. But they are also boundaries, limits: ways in which a world controls and curtails female bodies and identities. We viewers learn a lot about the women represented on the show—about their hopes, desires, ambitions, deceptions, interior worlds—through the clothes that they choose (and a lot about their position in that world through the clothes they can choose). We’ve seen Queen Cersei don a gold corset-breastplate over her signature red dress as she [...]
You can choose your friends but not your family, wrote Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird; it’s a sentiment that carries through last night’s Mad Men, though it has a twist, because in a time in which the standard definitions of family begin to fluctuate and expand, the boundaries between families and friends and even coworkers blur as well. And, with family, to some extent, you do choose—you can choose your wife or your husband; you can choose to leave (like Roger’s daughter); you can choose to suppress (like Peggy, like Roger) or even recreate (like Don).
Last night’s show, the second to last we’re getting in the first [...]
If we know one thing, it’s that Mad Men episode titles are not subtle, and they usually apply to not just one character, but many of them in slightly different ways. “Field Trip,” episode 3, is about things that go beyond the everyday. Sometimes they’re just fun, or seemingly fun, like a trip to a farm, and sometimes they’re a disaster, like showing up to work without any (metaphoric) clothes on. Field trips have a lot of potential, but they are full of unknowns. They don’t happen every day.
We begin with Don in a nearly empty theater, smoking. He flicks his ashes to the side and I’m reminded of [...]
Cersei Lannister is a dangerous woman. She is the wicked queen of HBO’s super series Game of Thrones, the would-be power behind the Iron Throne. She is bold, ambitious, and ruthless, and she operates at the heart of power, yet she is locked out by her gender. Cersei seeks to control the driving political narrative of the show, masterminding the death of her husband (the King) and installing her son as ruler in his place with the hope of commanding things herself from the sidelines. But it’s not as easy as all that. If you’re a woman.
She's not the only one left out, of course, even in the ruling [...]
Here's Shonda Rhimes, queen of television, at Dartmouth's graduation on Sunday, taking a moment to #drop #knowledge #about #hashtag #activism and much, much more:
And while we are discussing this, let me say a thing. A hashtag is not helping. #yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething
Hashtags are very pretty on twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing into your computer and then going back to binge watching your favorite show. I do it all the [...]
Here's the trailer for Shonda Rhimes's latest show, How to Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis and looking, already, wonderfully dramatic ("The body stays where it is!" "No, the body is what gets us caught!"). Davis appears to be a perfect candidate for Rhimes's third twisted sister, and the show cements the showrunner's (deserved) ABC takeover:
ABC is tweaking its efforts to climb out of fourth place, and Shonda Rhimes is a big part of it. The showrunner, who just inked a new overall deal, is getting a three-drama block on Thursday nights in the network's most ambitious move of the fall 2014-15 season.[...]
Watching Mad Men feels a bit like refinishing a wooden chair, sometimes. You’re methodically working away with sandpaper at the arms and legs of this thing, which has been this way for as long as you can remember, and you’re up close and it seems like work, but it’s also strangely soothing, and suddenly you step back after an hour and the whole chair has a different appearance.
At least, that’s how I felt about it last night. Not all that much seemed to happen, because after all, it's Mad Men; with some surprises the pacing tends to be slow and steady. Yet, by the end of the episode everyone [...]
There is something occasionally corny about the first six episodes of the new season, and not just the one that has all the inmates provide their own definitions of “love.”OINTB’s generous ethos means its characters possess all imaginable qualities, except any that are truly dull or reprehensible. There is a kind of sameness, not in the characterizations, but in the demands on our sympathy, which are near total. (Even Pennsatucky and Daya’s horrible mother Aleida get kind of cute this season.) The show always makes the mitigating case for the characters’ past mistakes. Almost every woman is a good person who made or was forced to make a [...]
One of the recurring themes in Mad Men involves lost children, children who have lost their parents, parents who have lost their kids. We see characters who were abandoned, orphaned, or simply didn’t get enough love (Don Draper included) who go on to pathologically treat their own offspring the own way, often without much awareness or self-reflection about doing so. Don was a lost kid who became a lost adult, though he's kept it covered it up with bravado and a good sell over the years, albeit with a few cracks emerging.
This “lost” storyline goes well beyond Don, though. Pete lost his mother, in part because of Bob Benson. [...]