Magnificent Moments: Mad Men, A Night to Remember (s2e8) [Spoiler]

There have been many great moments in Mad Men involving Joan Halloway, but this week’s Mad Men Magnificent Moment goes to the best one so far. The show closes with a montage of evening activities: Joan getting our of her work clothes, Peggy bathing, Father Gill jamming out, Don drinking a Heineken in the office.

The context here is Joan’s disappointment at her loss of the TV script reading gig. It’s already clear that she’s enjoyed the job more than she expected, and moreover that she takes pride in her accomplishments — she impressed clients, and did so in a way that no man in the firm could possibly have. She deserved the credit and recognition that was her due, and instead they took the success that she gift-wrapped for them and used it as proof that they should hire a man (who will still rely on her for the details) to do her job. And since Joan is concealing her disappointment, we cannot know what she is thinking through dialog. She’s no crier, or shouter, or one to break things, and even if she did any of those things, all we’d know was that she was upset, and sure we’d know why, but without being drawn into her. What’s called for is a moment that innately connects her feelings with the exact situation that give rise to the injustice.

This week’s Mad Men Magnificent Moment is Joan sitting on her bed, back to the viewer, turned slightly in profile, slipping her bra strap off of her shoulder, and idly massaging the clearly painful indentation the strap creates there. In a single instant we know that she does this every night, that she is used to this pain and has no expectation of it changing. We may even imagine that she suffers from pain in her back, or will later in life. We see that her breasts, which she uses (and the men in her office view) as one of her assets, exact a toll on her, but that toll is so internalized and accepted that she is barely conscious of it. This is synecdoche for her womanhood in general: the physical pain Joan suffers is a direct result of being a woman. So it goes with her life — she is resigned (for now, at least) to the frustrations and degradations of being a woman working in an office in 1961. With uncomfortable strap marks and the glass ceiling, she sees no alternative to just putting up with it.

Joan pensive

Update: When I went to add this still as an illustration, I watched the scene again and read it slightly differently, she kinda acknowledges the strap mark and frowns at it, looks away, then back at it, and then goes distant. Like she’s used to fretting about it for moments at a time before resigning herself again. Slight elaboration on the above.

New topic: great moments from TV I watch

I’m going to start posting my favorite moment from each episode of TV shows that I watch. Which is currently Mad Men, the Terminator series, and that’s all, although when Lost and Battlestar Galactica start up again I’ll add them.

Since I’m studying screenwriting, I’ve begun to acutely appreciate certain types of moments in film (TV is just short, serial, film with its own conventions), so I’m concentrating on moments of genius writing, mostly.

Frankly, TSCC is not exactly the same caliber as Mad Men, which is inspirational each week, but I think I’ll manage to find something each week.

These posts will be spoilers for sure, and so will be titled accordingly.

Crucial for election times: FactCheck

People, seriously, if you are following the election (and if you’re not, why not?), like reading op-eds and news and watching political ads and such… put this site on the top of your list, check it *every* day. As near as I can tell, they are completely non-partisan, with an agenda of only reporting the truth. There is debunking of claims in both candidates’ camps.

A Thing for the iPhone: Typing Tutor

It’s so obvious, really. Apple should bundle with the iPhone a typing tutor application. I didn’t need one, and I can type like blazes on an iPhone, but I’ve now encountered several people who are pretty fumbley They are all making one simple and understandable mistake: they are trying to keep their eyes on the letter they are typing, and so they try to put a sliver of their finger on the lower edge of the key they are going for. But I digress.

The point is that some people are for whatever not getting it by intuition, but they get it when you tell them. So how about these things:

  1. A tutor mode for the keyboard that learns how big your finger surface tends to be by sampling, then prompts you to enter particular letters while giving you a blob transparently overlaid on the keyboard, of where your finger should land. There could be other feedback mechanisms, that’s just off the top of my head.
  2. iPhone should come with tutorial videos already loaded. Or iTunes should detect a new iPhone and offer to subscribe you to a vodcast of said videos.

A hat with it’s own hair

I watched Joe Lieberman speak last night. More on that another time, maybe. During the speech, one of the quick camera cuts the the audience featured this woman.

The button reads “Liberals pick on someone your own age”.


I’ve got two theories so far to explain this sentiment.

1) John McCain is old, and people have been making an issue out of this, and so she’s angry that people are picking on him for this.

2) It goes along with the anti-abortion button she’s wearing, and the “your own age” is a reference to the very young age of a fetus.

But while I noticed the button last night, it’s not til ljust now that I noticed the hat itself. It appears to have it’s own hair.

*Raised eyebrow of skepticism and derision*