Monday, September 6, 2010

MM@M: No Bad Seats

Mad Men @ The Movies discusses the cinematic references in television's best series.

Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Don (Jon Hamm) succumb to exhaustion.
Four seasons of great acting will knock the wind right out of you.

Episode 4.7 "The Suitcase"

This week's episode was a well timed Peggy & Don duet. The historic backdrop was the infamous boxing match between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay (Clay had already changed his name to Muhammad Ali but not everyone had acclimated to the switch. Interesting that Don in particular shows resistance to it given his own name change/reinvention). Given that context and the episode's actual content it might be more appropriate to call "The Suitcase" a well timed Peggy & Don brawl. By the end of the episode they'd put each other through ten rounds, with an actual brawl (albeit with Peggy watching rather than throwing punches). We'll call it a draw. Shockingly, they both had a good cry before the hour was out, and seemed both more vulnerable to the viewing audience and to each other; it was a brutal episode but it wound down with surprising tenderness. The two characters have so often been used as imperfect parallels and generational / gender distorted reflections of each other that moments where they come head to head like this are nearly always memorable. And a whole episode of it? I can't help but say it: "The Suitcase" was a knockout.

But, for our purposes at MM@M, it was a rare episode without any movie star / movie name dropping. The closest we came was a James Bond reference and the opening shot/scene when Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) passes out tickets to see the big match... on the big screen.
Ken: Where are these exactly?
Harry: It's a movie theater -- no bad seats.
Those seats costs $15 which is quite a hefty price tag in 1965 (the hookers a few episodes ago cost $25). The SCDP team is seeing the match broadcast live at Loew's Capitol Theater in Times Square. The legendary theater once housed world premieres like Doctor Zhivago in 1965. After the last engagement in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the theater was demolished. Sadly movie theaters like that don't exist anywhere these days, really. It had over 5000 seats and a 25' by 60' screen.

As for Harry's assertion that movie theaters have no bad seats... do you agree? I'd beg to differ as I hate the front row. I'm a middle/middle man, though lately I've taken a liking to aisle/middle/right. But anything's fine really so long as it's not the front row!

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