Mad Men, “A Day’s Work,” Recap the Recappers [TV]

Never! We roll on, to Recap the Recappers!

Never! We roll on, to Recap the Recappers! (Kevin Rahm as Teddy Chaough, Courtesy AMC)

The familiar battle cry, the tired cliche: “It’s all in a day’s work.” Yet it rings true, for us, the chronicler of the chronicled. The unpacker of the unpacked. The recapper of recaps. A cog among the millions in the Mad Men literary machine. It’s all in a day’s work.

You can read last week’s round-up right here. You can check into the previous seasons here. And you can read on, for our curtain call of the best and brightest recaps from all the land. It’s Recap the Recappers for Mad Men, “A Day’s Work,” and it starts now! Read on!

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Now free to be serious for one second while moving around the country [Southwest Air]

southwest air

“And what is the deal with inflatable seats, am I right?”

With ten years in financial services marketing, I’ve sat in a lot of focus groups, stew rooms, and spitball sessions, plus vendor pitches, all designed to put more “fun” into banking.

It can be done, sure. A friendly teller who anticipates your request is fun. A pair of tickets from your business banker is fun. Snapping a picture to deposit a check, that’s fun, too.

You know what’s not fun?

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Mad Men, “Time Zones,” Recap the Recappers [TV]

Easy, Don, we're happy to be back, too!

Easy, Don, we’re happy to be back, too!

We are back! Back for our weekly trip through amateur literary theory and wistful theorizing, our spill into fever dreams, codfish balls, and pitch meetings. It’s our chronicle of the scholastic pursuit of the perfect recap of television’s most scholastic show, Mad Men!

Which of your favorite writers summed up the season 7 premiere the best? Spoilers lurk, but onward we go, full speed ahead, for the best and the brightest, it’s Mad Men, Recap the Recappers, for “Time Zones!”

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Three-Cap: The Following [Following The Following]

No, recappers, I beg you. Pay attention to me. I'm evil. How evil? REAL evil.

Hey, cult members. I’m just like you. I’m just a guy. I’m super evil. I dig red. I dig it!

So it’s been a while since we checked in with our favorite moments on our favorite show about butter knives and serial killing and helpless victims and squish squish and cops who always, always, always race into the scene, slamming it into park just four minutes too late. Seems like Chevy Impala should be re-thinking their product placement buy.

"Are we late again? I feel like we're late."

“Are we late again? I feel like we’re late.”

ANYWAY, if it’s not indubitably clear, The Following is written by that kid in the cutoff jean jacket with dandruff in hair, sneering at the English teacher from the very back row. He wears the Misfits t-shirt with the skull even though he actually listens to Korn. You saw him threaten a freshman with a swirly. You also saw him quiver in terror when partnered in chem lab with a dreaded girl, even though he was certain any cheerleader would fall in love with his skull and upside-down-cross hemp necklace. He is writing this show. To the three-cap!

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Pearl Jam, “Release.” [4-12-10]

“I am, myself. Like you, somehow.”


Father’s Day

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Mad Men: Recap the Recappers returns next week!

Well, well. Look who's come crawling back.

Well, well. Look who’s come crawling back.

Coming next Monday, we’ll dust off our dictionary, our English Ph.D., and perhaps even a monocle while we dive into the best and brightest of Mad Men recaps!

While many shows draw attention, review, criticism, and discourse, not one uncovers the inner literary snob in all of us. So join us weekly for the quips, the questions, and the criticism surrounding one of TV’s best shows. Last year Todd VanDerWerff of The AV Club came out on top (probably), narrowly holding off Heather Havrilesky of Salon. And watch out for Grantland’s Molly Lambert! She changed her style, tone, and substance, and is now a dark horse for the arbitrary title. And our familiar cast of thousands round out the regular top ten, including Sepinwall, Seitz (shakes fist!), Lisanti and Ryan. And here’s a bonus quote from a Tim Goodman preview:

If this final season focuses on the repercussions of the past and the choices that were made in it, a good bet could be made that Peggy’s storyline might rival Don’s for most cathartic fallout and/or redemption.

Do tell! (Actually, don’t, he pretty much spoils the entire episode in his preview.) Got a recapper I should check out? Drop me a line in the comments. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week!

Mad Men at Mr. Faded Glory

mad men amc on a plane

Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), Michael Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman), Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) and Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) – Mad Men _ Season 7, Gallery – Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

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Previously on … The FOLLOWING! [Following the Following]

What do these dancing extras have in common? They all played innocent college students garrotted, gutted, or savaged on The Following.

What do these dancing extras have in common? They all played innocent college students garrotted, gutted, or savaged on The Following.

I think The Following is pure performance art.

Consider Kevin Bacon’s playful, “footloose” (heh) entrance into The Tonight Show the other night. (Let’s Daaance!). It’s almost enough to make you forget Bacon is the star of a bloody 24-ripoff with interest only in shocking you with gruesome phony death. That’s gotta be it. Kevin Bacon is starring in The Following just to see what turn of grody, gnarly events can possibly diminish his considerable public goodwill. He’s still looking. James Franco punches the wall in frustration.

Anyway, SUPER HUGE TWIST IN THIS EPISODE OMG, so spoilers ahead, gang. Let’s get strapped in for “Unmasked!”

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The importance of trying to be funny

mc iaIt’s important to me to be funny.

Always has been. Probably always will be.

Occasionally the dry wit or incredulous exasperation will result in a one-liner, a barb, a snotty recap that lands a glancing blow. It’s a good day if I’m able to provoke a laugh. (HOLD YOUR TONGUES.)

Sometimes – perhaps often – I’m not funny, and try too hard. Earning facebook blocks and twitter unfollows, sometimes I border on Michael Scott-levels of personal delusion. But other times, I’m successful.

Sometimes, I’m the shrewd uncle at your family’s table who never failed to cut up the nephew, the niece, the cousin, or the parents. Sometimes the timing is shrewd and the moment precise. Sometimes it works. Always I try. Why? Continue reading

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Previously on … The FOLLOWING! [Following The Following]

Oh, I get it. The Messenger is Ryan Hardy. OR IS IT Joe Carroll. OR IS IT

Oh, I get it. The Messenger is Ryan Hardy. OR IS IT Joe Carroll. OR IS IT

You may have sampled the critical reaction to Sunday night’s finale of True Detective. If not, check out the best of the best!

You may have been critical of True Detective yourself, and you may not have been able to enjoy yet another show rife with serial-killer or buddy-cop genres.

And if that’s the case, HOO BOY WHAT ABOUT THIS SHOW? The Following sees your tried-and-true tropes, True Detective, and it raises you a billion percent plus unaware self-parody. Top that, Dr. Joe Carroll! Onward, to our favorite moment from this week’s THE FOLLOWING: “The Messenger.”

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Recap the Recappers: True Detective, “Form and Void.” [TV]

Sadly, they did not break into a rendition of Huey Lewis' "Hart and Cohle" at show's end. Spoiler!

Sadly, they did not break into a rendition of Huey Lewis’ “Hart and Cohle” at show’s end. Spoiler!

There’s nothing quite like a gripping, harrowing mystery novel. A pulp noir that beckons you to bend page after page, inhabiting flawed heroes and murky, humid environs, hoping only that good wins over evil.

Well, what about last night? Did the contentious, portentous, thrilling miniseries True Detective inspire critics to reward or recoil? Champion or savage? Devour or destroy? Onward to the meaningless rankings and the best blurbs of the recappers’ nation – it’s RECAP THE RECAPPERS for TRUE DETECTIVE, “Form and Void.”

Spoilers follow!

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A Quick Word on How I Met Your Mother [TV]

Future Ted and "The Mother."

Future Ted and “The Mother.”

Last time I wrote about the long-running CBS sitcom, it was with mild incredulity. We couldn’t believe how forcefully the show’s fans and critics clung to the storytelling device, the search for “The Mother.”

The final season hasn’t lived up to promise, and at times, is a show wheezing and churning and stumbling to the finish line. However, I just caught up with Vesuvius

[Spoilers Ahead]

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Coming Monday … True Detective: RECAP THE RECAPPERS


That’s right, on Monday we’ll play “Recap the Recappers” after the final episode of True Detective. Part tune-up for Mad Men, which returns April 13, part chance to celebrate genius, we’ll take a quick swing through the world of TV recappers and their super ultra hot takes. We’ll even include the reviewers who (a) based their early critical reaction on what they thought other critics would think, or (b) review shows based on the shows they would personally prefer to create instead of what we all see.

Starring The Yellow King, the Man With Scars, Lone Star beer, tracking shots, furrowed brows, hairpieces and Michelle Monaghan, it’s True Detective, Recap the Recappers, at Mister Faded Glory.

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Previously … on The FOLLOWING! [Following The Following}

So, this is our script. I admit there's a few gray areas.

So, this is our script. I admit there’s a few gray areas.

We can only hope Monday’s episode – titled, I don’t know, “The Field Guide to Cult Leaders in the United States,” was the straw that broke the camel’s back, finally prompting Fox to give this show a well-deserved third season! Dozens of fakeouts and near-deaths, and sudden reversals, and gruesome killings of just-introduced characters, and they coulda all gone to waste! Not anymore!

Now that we know The Following will return, someone needs to rewrite the ending to THIS season — oh, who are we kidding, it’s the same, Ryan chases down Joe, Joe finally gets his comeuppance and dies, but just escapes his death, and oops, he lives to sneer another day! Wait till you see next year’s beard! Onward, to OUR FAVORITE MOMENT from “Sacrifice!”

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Oscar Movies, Ranked. [Film]

Best Picture 1984-2003.

Best Picture 1984-2003.

Obviously Anchorman 2 isn’t gonna win the Oscar.* But I saw some of the Best Picture nominees, and because I have opinions [shakes fist!!!], here’s how I rate them.

DFL. The Wolf of Wall Street. Not sure if you got this on takeaway, but the lead character was a tad indulgent. They just nominate anything Scorcese does, right? I almost got kicked out of my local theater for yelling “WE GET IT” a scant 167 minutes into this 8,509-minute movie.

8. Did not see. Philomena. 

7. Will not see. Her. I am done with either Spike Jonze or Charlie Kaufman, I cannot always separate the two, but I will never forget the execrable Synecdoche, N.Y., and will never give either another chance.

6. Just missed. 12 Years a Slave. I promise to watch it on Amazon Instant next weekend, honest!

Last year's winner. I KNOW WHAT I SAID.

Last year’s winner. I KNOW WHAT I SAID.

5. Nebraska. Though I found resonance in the subtle relationship between older brother Bob Odenkirk and younger brother Will Forte, I’m not sure this is all that great a story. It’s a good story. Why is it in black and white, if not to make fun at the Midwest? The only reason to film in black and white is to tell the audience to look down their nose at these characters and their miserable little lives, and I can’t get behind that.

4. Dallas Buyers Club. Almost entirely attributable to McConaughey’s lead performance.

3. Captain Phillips. Best action movie I’ve seen in years. It’s honestly harrowing, and Paul Greengrass abandons his oft-imitated, dizzying quick jump cuts just as the rest of the industry comes to rely on them. It’s a welcome change, to me at least.

2. American Hustle. The entire cast is oustanding, it’s a 1970s caper flick come to life in the 1990s, and it’s an enjoyable ride. In fact, nos. 1 and 2 were both cinematic experiences – unable to be recreated in your home theater. Anymore, that’s enough to separate a crowded field of movies. I actually think this film will win Best Picture, because it rates second on everyone’s list. Amy Adams should also win Best Actress.

1. Gravity. I select this because it’s a technical marvel. We’re a long way from miniature Death Stars exploding. This is why it’s necessary to go to theatres, to immerse into a gripping, life-or-death, solitary struggle like Gravity. The best experience in cinema this year.

*Note: I have not seen Anchorman 2. I have seen World War Z. I also prefer an English muffin for breakfast as opposed to a bagel.


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Previously On … The Following! [Following the Following]

"You're in big trouble, Max. I'm on the phone with Duane Reade right now, and they are still open."

“You’re in big trouble, Max. I’m on the phone with Duane Reade right now, and they are still open.”

So here’s a thing. It’s not my favorite moment from The Following, “Fly Away,” but it’s close.

Ryan’s in the hotel room, bleeding and suffering from his latest trauma the writers will forget in two episodes (on previous list: heart condition, alcoholism, smiling, not being a huge asshole). Max walks in with bandages and supplies. At this point, we don’t need to know any more about the scene. Ryan: Hurt. Max: Here to Help. Onward and upward. But then:

  • Ryan. “What took you so long?”
  • Max [matter-of-fact]. “I had to find a 24 hour pharmacy.”
So I couldn't find a pharmacy! So SUE ME.

So I couldn’t find a pharmacy! So SUE ME.

WHAT? WHY is Max’s trek to a 24-hour pharmacy important? Is it crucial for us to know the workday is now past? Are we following (guffaw) an intricate timeline that depends on our knowledge of hours and times of day? Are The Following’s writers attempting to empathize with workaday moms and dads, and OMG SRSLY why is a pharmacy NEVER OPEN when you need it? Just what exactly, is served by this throwaway piece of dialogue? It neither informs the characters nor furthers the scene. It means the writers looked at this episode, watched the dailies, and asked: “Wait – why is Max so late walking in here?” And then one guy was like, “Oh man, you’re right, we’ll just totes drop in a line about a 24 hour pharmacy. Bingo!” So here we are, with the most pointless aside in 18 pointless episodes, constructed entirely by writers who labor over meaningless plot like every detail needs explanation, and then provide unnecessary and silly explanation. Why not explain the lack of waiters when Max staked out a restaurant for seven hours? I know, right? GAAAAAAH, this show!

But wait! There’s more. Hurry up, we gotta get to it all before our local CVS closes.

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