Ken Cosgrove is tap dancing because his father-in-law taught him how.
Ray Wise, who plays Ed Baxter on Mad Men, also played the unforgettable Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks. Leland did a LOT of dancing on that show.
I honestly know very little about the man Ray Manzarek, except that he played the keyboard and was in The Doors and produced X. But despite the vagueness of the details, he has been a major part of my life for over thirty years.
My parents are both huge Doors fans, and some of my earliest memories involve sitting in the living room listening to my mother singing along to them. Jim Morrison’s incredible baritone always set the standard for male vocals to me, but complementing it and making it so beautiful and eerie and poetic was Manzarek’s haunting organ. To me (and I realize this will upset some), the Doors wrote music superior to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It is still jarring, frightening, and fantastic; The Doors have aged so well.
When the biopic movie came out, I was about 11 or 12 years old. I watched it, and only remember I did so because Kyle Maclachlan was in it and I had a crush on him. He played Manzarek in the film, in those amazing wire rimmed glasses. I sported the exact same glasses throughout junior high and high school, and I still currently sport a pair of Manzarek-style glasses. Yes, that’s right. I admit it: Ray Manzarek/Kyle Maclachlan inspired my eyewear choice for the last 20-something years.
I wasn’t one of those Johnny-come-latelys of the mid-90s, who suddenly had Doors posters on her college walls (I had Pet Shop Boys posters, thanks), but there hasn’t been a point in my life where I heard a Doors song and said “eh, not today.” I always crank them up and sing along when they come on the radio. I often play them on repeat when I’m working. And I relish every note of Manzarek’s amazing music. He was a true musical genius.
We will miss you.
A few months ago, I was given Prednisone for a severe asthma attack that was bordering on pneumonia. I asked the doctor what sort of side effects I could expect. She sunnily told me that I would probably be “more alert than normal,” but it would clear up my lungs.
She was right on both accounts, for different reasons. For five straight days, I was a maniac. I manically cleaned my apartment, talking to myself, until I was about to drop. Then I wrote for hours and hours. My boyfriend was at first amused, then genuinely concerned. When I managed to sleep 2 hours at a time, I dreamt horrific nightmares, then was up and at ‘em again. By the last day, I was saying bizarre things and thinking weird thoughts out of sheer exhaustion, and whatever was in my system. (Needless to say, I don’t ever want Prednisone again.)
My only experience with Valium threw me into the opposite spectrum: half a pill sent me into a drowsy, near-trancelike haze for three days. I took it after someone died, because at that point I just wanted to zone out. I’d hear the TV, or people talking, but I couldn’t process what they were saying. Nothing made sense to me; I felt no concrete emotions, and I honestly couldn’t tell if I was awake or not. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Another drug I won’t revisit.
Last night’s episode of Mad Men felt exactly like that disjointed, paranoid sensation from both experiences. Seeing Don manically working out his imaginary conversation with Sylvia in the hallway, Stan manically writing out 666 ideas and running around the halls like a track star, the whole dialogue of the show - they captured that paranoid dream stance so well. I can’t believe how well.
The entire episode felt like we all took a double dose of paregoric and read Alice In Wonderland before bedtime. It was confusing, disjointed, manic, and frightening - exactly like how being on Prednisone for five days felt. A bunch of questions ran through my mind, and I think that reflects the mindset for all the characters in their drug-addled states. But through that, we learn a lot about them.
“I know you’re all feeling the darkness here, today, but there’s no reason to give in…there is an answer that will open the door.” - Don Draper, “The Crash”
“You know what? There’s a way out of this room that we don’t know about.” - Don Draper, “The Suitcase”
Ted’s the first who gets tragic news. He is physically worn out at the beginning - a man who hasn’t slept in days, frantic about his friend’s death…and the Chevy deal. He manically downs sandwiches and flips out at Ken. He’s got tangible worries, in the present. When he’s told Frank has finally passed away, he gives a touching speech and goes to the funeral, like a normal person. Then he returns to work, like a normal person. He confronts his grief…like a normal person.
Who isn’t normal? DON DRAPER! After getting his shot, Don sees Peggy privately, sweetly comforting Ted in his office, which triggers off his backstory memories. Namely, the nice hooker who gave him soup when he was sick, who ends up raping him, which leads to a public shaming and beating. This was interesting, because now we see that Dick Whitman was, in fact, a sexual abuse victim, not a predator. Not super surprising, but it explains a lot. This dude’s got some serious issues all around. Like, Singing Detective-levels of psychological problems.
“We don’t have personal conversations.” - Peggy, The Suitcase
Stan is grieving his cousin, who was killed in Vietnam. The family has only just found out about his death, and Stan is sad that his aunt had sent him sixteen unread letters. Stan manages to reach out to Peggy in a very touching, rare moment of honesty. He’s lonely and vulnerable over losing someone important, and needs someone to listen - much like Don did in The Suitcase. Peggy gets personal herself, and gently tells Stan to face the truth (unlike Don’s crappy advice). Stan puts his hand on her knee, in a more intimate callback to The Suitcase. But, in his drug-addled, manic mind, he ends up fucking the ready-and-willing hippie anyway. She probably just appeared in his office like the Cheshire Cat, like she did with Don. This callback was interesting, because Stan and Peggy already have a close friendship; whereas in The Suitcase, Don and Peggy solidified their strange bond for just that one hand-holding moment. Stan and Don are very different people, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out. Let’s hope Stan actually listens to Peggy once he crashes back to Earth (and gets checked for the clap).
The voyeur scene was a twisted version of At The Codfish Ball, where Sally gets sweet, paternalistic attention from Roger and then walks in on him getting an illicit blowjob from Grandma Calvet. Here, Bizarro Roger is voluntarily watching the young girl, not much older than Sally, have illicit sex. Notice Peggy seems way more disturbed by Cutler’s voyeurism than she is about Stan getting his freak on with some stranger. She even yells a warning to Stan from down the hallway. It’s clear that everyone is fucking bonkers.
Also of note: directly before the nuzzle scene, I Think I’m Going Out Of My Head played on Sylvia’s radio: the very theme song of unrequited love. I thought it was interesting that they chose the Sergio Mendes version of the song, which is a way different than the versions by Little Anthony, and The Zombies. Like Sylvia, the bossa nova sound is more early 60s than 1968, and the woman singer is significant. I had flashbacks of my own, seeing that radio and hearing that song - my grandpop used to get me old radios at flea markets, and I listened to the oldies station a lot as a kid, so I heard that very song on a very similar radio. I actually got chills when I saw that scene.
“Grandma Ida” was the scene that really terrified me. I had no idea what was going to happen; I’m sure I sat through it completely goggle-eyed. Part of me was wondering if Don was going to find her frying up his three children for dinner when he got home. Everything about that was screwed up, frightening, and nightmarish.
Another minor callback to The Suitcase: The name “Ida” (Blankenship/Grandma) and a crazy doctor.
I’d say that once people sort of shake out the initial WTF-ness of this episode, and really think about what was revealed in those brief moments of lucidity, it’s a solid keystone story of the season.
- Ted really is normal and handles grief fairly stoically.
- Ted was Frank’s only friend.
- Stan genuinely loves Peggy. Minor laws be damned!
- Peggy genuinely loves Ted and Stan. What kind, we don’t know.
- Ginzo hates Stan.
- Sylvia has a copy of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. (I care about these things.)
- Gleason was a shitty dad. Wendy is a mess. This could be Sally in a couple of years.
- Dick Whitman was sexually abused and associates motherliness with sex and shame.
- Jim Cutler is the creepiest motherfucker out there.
- Don’s children know nothing about their father, and it’s starting to become clear that this is destructive and dangerous. Again: Sally could become Wendy in a couple of years.
- Megan’s a lousy stepmother and puts on a good act, but she’s just as selfish as the rest of them. (Why couldn’t they hire a babysitter? Or have Sylvia watch them?)
Adam and Eve: Stan and Peggy’s initial nudeness/the apple over Stan’s head in the execution scene.
Illustration of Stan Rizzo in a moment of deep thought; hand-drawn in the style of vintage magazine illustrations.
The scene is from Mad Men, AMC.
Jay R. Ferguson as Stan Rizzo, Mad Men.
Illustration by Alice Teeple, 2013. 8x10 pencil and charcoal on paper. Not for sale.
For more illustrations by Alice, go to http://missaliceteeple.com/illustration
Dear Vindictive Wang Who Made This Video:
Ah, yes. I see you are displeased with Mr. Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch. You are outraged that Mr. Jeffries made insensitive comments about not catering his brand to people of large girth. Instead of doing the sensible thing and just ignoring that plastic chode, you decided to “make a statement” by going to various Goodwills, purchasing used A&F clothing, and videotaping yourself gingerly handing it off to various derelicts in LA. You then go on to encourage people to give all their A&F clothing to the homeless and then tell everyone about it on Facebook and Twitter.
What is the point of this? To clothe the homeless? I’m sure they’d prefer something that wasn’t made by a 6 year old in Bangladesh and would hold up on cold nights. Is it to make a point that Mike Jeffries is King of the Douchelords? We already know that. So what? Why exploit people who are already having hard times? You’re not doing them a favor by donating that garbage to them. It’s an immature act of rebellion disguised as charity, which I find despicable.
Imagine you are the unfortunate guy on Skid Row with a cardboard box for a house, wondering where your next meal was coming from. One day some hipster with a friend and a camera comes up to you with some crappy jeans and gives you some spiel about “rebranding Abercrombie and Fitch with an army of homeless people! Isn’t it hilarious to be in on the joke and get back at this insensitive CEO jerk who doesn’t like unattractive people?”
You know what I’d do? I’d pee on your shoe.
Here’s some better, more productive ideas: go volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to a food bank, donate blood, donate clothes people can use, do pro bono work for a charity, anything! But for god’s sake, don’t do this horseshit for attention or “to make a point.” I fail to see one, and you’re doing this at the expense of real, suffering people.