Mad Men (AMC): The fifth season of this remarkable show may just be its best. And coming from someone who had a hard time getting into the slow, deliberate nature of each scene, I've been on the edge of my seat most of this season.
Maybe it's fat Betty or this new, family-friendly version of Don Draper, but I cannot get enough of Mad Men right now. As Brian and I discussed this morning, "If you can't have zombies, I guess the next best thing is ad execs in the 1960s." Juxtaposed in real life events of that era, we've laughed, gasped, and looked on in horror at the subtle nuances of life transform the folks at Sterling Draper Campbell Price. The best line of this year? Roger, as he encouraged Don to stump for clients during the American Cancer Society dinner at which he was being honored: "Who knows? Maybe Jesus was just trying to land the loaves and fishes account."
Whether it's Don's go-get-'em speech from last night (the Jaguar account!), Peggy's turn at co-habitation (and extreme maternal disappointment), Roger's trip on LSD, the weird new guy Ginsberg, or Joan just being awesome as Joan ("Here's a surprise! There's an airplane here to see you!"), I adore Mad Men Season 5. Only three episodes left! Will Betty lose the weight? Will Sally continue to play psychological war-fare with her mother? Is Don going to cheat on Megan? Will Lane get caught? Are the writers setting up Pete to kill himself?
Ahh! Regardless of the answers, we all know they will look good doing it. Cheers, friends.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo): Oh, the Gorgas/Guidices/Manzos/Lauritas/Wakiles of the world. Let's just get it over with, okay? This retched family fight that has now been dragging on for the past two years is getting a little tired. I'm exhausted just watching the bickering, so I can't imagine how they feel.
Best of all, this season was filmed a year ago. I'm wondering what the state of these relationships are currently, considering all of the drama. Just to catch up you in case you don't know, here's a quick history: Melissa is married to Joe, Teresa's brother. Teresa is also married to a Joe, and her Joe has had a tough couple years. There's a chance he may "go away." (don't say 'prison'). Teresa's cousin is Kathy, who is married to Rich and they have two hilarious kids. Jacqueline and Caroline (sisters-in-law) are still on the show, but Dina, Caroline's sister, dropped out two seasons ago and has (had?) a show on HGTV. Who knows where Danielle is. Either way, sisters-in-law Melissa and Teresa are at odds, mainly as a result of the fight Teresa and her brother Joe are in. At this point, that's all I can keep straight. I forgot how it started or who started it, and quite frankly, I don't care. It's just a lot of finger-pointing and shouting.
On this Sunday's episode, it was especially painful to see Teresa's 10-year old daughter get dragged into the mix. I don't understand how the powers that govern reality TV can be okay with letting a minor get dragged into family skirmishes and then aired for all the world to see. The show's most redeeming characters are the (adult) Manzo kids Albie, Christopher, and Lauren, and Kathy's sister, Aunt Rosie. And let's hope we see more of "Ham Linky" in the future, too.
Game of Thrones (HBO): Oh my goodness. Don't even get me started on this show.
I gave it a chance. I watched all of last season, and really ended up enjoying most of it. But this year, it feels more like we have an appointment with our DVR than any level of real enthusiasm when we sit down to watch Game of Thrones. Yes, you may argue, but it gets better. Or perhaps you'll encourage me to read the series by George R.R. Martin (why two middle initials? Can anyone explain that to me?) But the thing is, if I can't sit through an hour-long drama on television, there is no chance I'll be able to finish a 600+ page book, let alone a series of books. (no chance, people. Naps around here about 90 minutes at best). The number of characters, the fantasy of the world they live in, the totally different language they speak...I'm lost.
I tried to simplify things in my brain and came up with this:
First 20 minutes: Lots of talking by characters we've never met before
Next 5 minutes: Gratuitous fight scene. Lots of blood.
Ten more minutes: More talking
Next three minutes: Walking through a desert. I'm thirsty.
Ten minutes: Gratuitous fight scene.
Five minutes: Nudie people! Gratuitous sex scene
Five minutes: More talking
Two minutes: Shocking ending! Let's kill babies!
And we're done.
Considering there is a finite amount of space on our DVR, this one is likely to get clipped. Sorry, GOT.
Grade: D (for dull)