Top Things for 12/10/12

I’m back! Apparently I didn’t mess anything up too bad last week, so I have been allowed to stay. Bully for you all.

Books

Books are for nerds.

Comics

There’s nothing I or anyone I know both reads and feels really strongly about (sorry Buffy Season 9, you’ve been lame), but Spider-Man is about to end, so maybe pick up the next-to-last issue before it does? 

Movies

The Hobbit mofos! What the hell else are you gonna see?!? It’s the flippin’ HOBBIT. Go at midnight and then go again with your friends that are too lame to go at midnight! Dress up! I most definitely will.

Music

This weak is BLEAK you guys, and I’m sorry that that rhymed. So unless you’re a teenage boy in 2002 who listens to Green Day, I’m sorry but you’re basically S.O.L.

Television

Did you people watch Homeland on Sunday? Because you should have. Because what? Because what are they going to do this week? Because it’s the season finale and it’s going to be quite epic. There’s also a “Winter Wonderland” party on Vampire Diaries and Walter going on an LSD trip on Fringe. So, you know, something for everyone.

 

So basically this week would pretty much suck except for that whole HOBBIT THING HAPPENING AT MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAY. SO GET EXCITED.

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Hawkguy

Call me irresponsible. Call me unreliable. Throw in undependable too. Wait. Is that even a word? I don’t care, care me whatever you want – just don’t call me early in the morning!

I apologize for that. And for missing yesterday! Normally when I say I’m going to do something, I do it! Except… law school internships…

Wow, off to a great start. Anyway! Here we go!

Hawkeye! Also known as: The Lamest Avenger. I mean seriously, remember that scene in The Avengers? Hulk is flexing and roaring, Captain America is catching his shield, Thor is swinging his hammer, and Iron Man is like recharging his repulsor rays (Lord have mercy I’m more of a nerd than I thought for knowing that)? Even Tits McGee over there at least has a GUN. And then there’s Hawkeye, loading his bow. I mean really. He’s lame.

But then Hawkeye #1 fell into my lap. Because it was thrown at me with the imperative: “Read this.” And guys. I loved it. Like really loved it.

Basically it’s the story of what Hawkeye does when he isn’t Avenging. This includes: getting a dog, fighting tracksuited Russian mobsters, thwarting the plans of evil circus villains, and making time with sexy ladies.

This is one of the funniest comic books I’ve ever read. Scratch that; it is the funniest comic book I’ve ever read. I love how simply it’s drawn; it really offsets the madcap hijinks beautifully. I love that it includes Kate Bishop from Young Avengers (nerd alert 2). And it really made me realize something: James Bond doesn’t have super powers either. He’s just a badass. The key is not pitting James Bond against Norse gods, aliens with lasers, mutants, or cosmic planet-eaters. You pit him against mobsters. Psychos with big-ass guns. You send him into a casino to intimidate kingpins. You send him to retrieve the plans no matter what.

So while Hawkeye might be the lamest Avenger, he is also the most awesome non-Avenger.

 

Wait what?

Top Things for 12/03/12

Hello all! I’m back after a seriously extended absence. Between quitting law school, getting super sick (a couple of times) and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, I’ve been a bit preoccupied. But what with Ian starting this whole “Post a day for thirty days” nonsense, I figured he was a bit… overcommitted, and offered to take over some of his other posts! So here I am with some recommendations for what’s out this week.

Books

Did you know that there’s a giant volcano under Yellowstone, whose caldera is slowly rising? Did you know it could erupt at any moment? Did you know that the last time a super volcano of this size erupted, it did so for a thousand years and killed 95% of ALL LIFE ON EARTH??? Well now you do. Good luck sleeping.

Anyway, Supervolcano: All Fall Down by Harry Turtledove is the story of what happens in the aftermath of such an eruption. And while in real life I seriously doubt anyone would survive long enough to have an aftermath, let alone planning for the rebuilding of the nation, it could still be a decent read…

Comic Books

So, don’t tell my boyfriend, but I’m actually not a huge comic book fan (we met in the comics section of a Barnes & Noble and I pretended I knew what I was talking about). I mean yes, I’ve read the classics – Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns. Ian has made me read some others – Y: The Last Man, All-Star Superman, and I occasionally browse his collection, but I really don’t care about the soap operatics of the Avengers or X-Men.

That being said, I have been really enjoying a new series: All-New X-Men, which tells the story of the original five X-Men coming from the past into the present to confront their current incarnations. The dialogue is snappy, the premise is intriguing, and the art is beautiful. Plus it’s shipping super fast which keeps the momentum up. Issue #3 is out Wednesday.

Movies

None of the movies opening this week look very appealing to me. So I’m going to use the time and money I would spend seeing a movie on making a costume for the midnight premiere of The Hobbit next week, because I am one of those people.

Music

NEW KE$HA ALBUM BITCHES!!!

Television

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this Sunday marks the penultimate episode of Homeland‘s second season, which should set up all the pieces for a suitably epic finale. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking more forward to The Vampire Diaries on Thursday. Ian started watching several weeks ago, and promptly got us hooked on it. We just finished the awesome third season last night, so hopefully I’ll be fully caught up by Thursday’s episode, which I believe includes the return of Lexi – in flashback form – and SALVATORES IN UNIFORM! PLUS some Nola goodness to remind me of home. Apparently last week’s episode ended on a… sour note… based on the twitter reactions I read, so hopefully this next episode will redeem it somewhat.

 

And that’s all I’ve got for you today. I should be checking in on Wednesday for a comics-themed post, so I’ll need to find something to say about that ASAP. Deuces.

 

True Blood Rantings (Both Good and Bad)

So my feelings on True Blood are pretty well documented. But that was at the beginning of the season, and now here we are with just two episodes to go. And honestly, it’s like a whole new show lately. Spoilers to follow.

Increasingly, last season is feeling more like a fluke. The audience knows it was awful. The creators seem to know it was awful. Even the characters seem to know it was awful. What little happened, has been barely referenced, or flat-out contradicted. All that weird Demon Fairy Army waiting to kidnap everyone? Forget about them. They’ve gone Cirque Du Soleil/Burlesque. Lafayette has a demon inside him? Gone. Everything else? Irrelevant. This is purely good news.

Of course, the season hasn’t been perfect. It started off with way too many plot lines. Literally, every character – and there are over a dozen – had their own, separate story (other than Bill and Eric, they teamed up). Gone are the days of lovable background characters, popping up to brighten up a show about death and sex and violence. Now, everyone needs a season-long arc, that’s mostly depressing. In my opinion, we should have had Eric and Bill off doing Vampire Things. Jason and Sookie investigating Fairy Things. Then we could have a smaller plot of the Human Supremacists fighting Supernaturals. We could still have Sam and Luna being angry vigilantes, but as they would be targeting ALL Supes, this would have been a good way to connect Alcide to the rest of the cast, instead of putting him off on his own again and again and again. In fact, done this way, the story could have also brought in Jessica, Tara, and Pam, as vampires were being killed too. The mystery of who was controlling the group could have been planted earlier, and done more subtly, and it could have been very Season One-esque – with twists and turns and a general sense of paranoia as you know that ANYONE could be behind all these awful things. And then finally, Terry’s stupid Ifrit storyline – if it had to happen – a) could have been less… “political,” if that’s the word for it, and b) could have been way cooler. We could have seen Terry and Arlene seeking help from Holly – the Wiccan – who in turn would have needed Lafayette. This ragtag group of mostly Normals could have gone on a mad-cap adventure, seeking help from Voodoo, Jesus (the spirit, not the God), and anyone else. This is kind of what happened anyway, but I would’ve liked to see them come together earlier, and resolve the plot line sooner as well. 

All that being said, recently the show has gotten very good. We resolved some plot lines, got rid of some characters, and realized that not every character needs to be in every episode. This latest didn’t feature Terry or Arlene, and only had about five seconds of Andy, LaLa, and Holly, and minimal Sam and Luna. There was no crazy Were-Grandma (aka “Ain’t No Skank” from Breaking Bad), or even any Alcide! Which, yes, I would normally consider a crime against humanity because he is SO UNBELIEVABLY FINE and frequently mostly/totally nude. But honestly I’m pretty tired of his character. For three seasons it’s just been “I’m Alcide. I hate being a werewolf. Eff this pack, eff that pack, I’m a loner with a sexy growl.” THREE. SEASONS. Enough already. 

Anyway, we’re really starting to get somewhere with all the Vampire Crap too! The destruction of the Tru Blood factories sets up an interesting new status quo for the world – which hopefully won’t be magically reset next season. Bill’s Face Heel Turn may have come out of nowhere, and be pretty out of character, but honestly “out of character” is a good thing when your character sucks ass. And random or not, it’s fun to see Eric as the moral compass of the show, and to see how Jessica reacts to her Vamp Daddy acting like her brainwashing, abusive, overly-religious Real Daddy.

Other good things: Russell, duh. His “conversion” was so obviously fake, it was about time he quit pretending. He and Steve are adorable and creepy together. Creeporable? Adoreepy? Whatever. And maybe I’m just dumb, but his plan to study Sookie’s blood rather than just drinking it all was actually not what I expected. And way more chilling. I mean, you can only die once, maybe twice on this show, but you can be cut open and healed and poked and prodded for mostly EVER, which is just creepy. 

Now, I’m not sure where the whole “Sookie being sold into vampire marriage” thing is going, or how/if it’s going to connect to the main plot. I hope it does, because plots should, in general, converge. Sookie has mostly won me over again this season, now that she’s killing vampires instead of boinking them. She goes out in the daylight again, and loves her brother, and isn’t having nasty dirt sex all over the place. Big fan. And I know a lot of people don’t like the fairy story line, and I can’t say I’m the biggest fan either, but I do really like Claude and his weird gypsy style and his “move over bitch we’re your family now, PS here’s soup, love you,” kind of energy.

Anyway, pieces are mostly in place for the finale, which looks to be/hopefully will be epic. We’ve got Bill and Eric and Jessica AND secret Luna and Sam IN the Authority, where there is also Emma the Puppy and a million craaaaaazy vampires, and some Olde Vampyr Acid Blood, and I’m sure hijinks will ensue. And in Bon Temps, Tara has MURDERED A SHERIFF, and I’m pretty sure it will rain crap down on everyone’s heads, including Jason and Sookie and LaLa et. al. 

So in conclusion, I am hella pumped for the finale, and if you were a fan but quit watching because it sucked for a while, I encourage you to catch back up on the season in time for the penultimate episode this Sunday. 

Magic Mike: The Full Package

 

First of all, I need to apologize for that pun in the title. There’s no excuse, really. So let’s get to it, and put it behind us.

You need to know something about me. I’m a sap. A sucker. A dupe. Why? Because I allowed the trailers for Magic Mike to shape my expectations of the movie. AS TRAILERS SHOULD! But unfortunately, they don’t always give us an accurate view of the movies they promote. For example, the EPIC trailers to Terminator: Salvation and Watchmen. But against all reason, I allowed myself to believe that Magic Mike was basically a 90 minute strip tease, a non-stop buffet of beefcake, an all-expenses-paid trip to the Isle of MAN. But what I got, surprisingly enough, was an actual movie. How disappointing.

Magic Mike is the story of, well, Mike Lane – construction worker/entrepreneur/something else by day, stripper by night. He’s been in the game for six years, and this whole time he’s been saving up to start his own business doing what he loves: making custom furniture. At the construction company, he meets Adam, a 19 year old who is perfectly content sleeping on his sister’s couch rather than doing anything he doesn’t want to do. This means turning down jobs because they want him to wear a tie, or quitting for being told not to steal soda. Seriously, he’s a brat. But then he starts stripping, and begins to grow up, and Mike gets his loan, quits his jobs, and starts his business, and gets the girl, the end.

Except not at all. Serious spoilers to follow.

Ultimately, the appeal of the night life proves too much for Adam. As someone who has lived paycheck to paycheck, there actually IS a strange allure to these kinds of jobs. You get to sleep late, stay up late, and when your only worry in the world is making rent, there’s an odd peace. I mean, yes, sometimes there’s nausea or panic as the end of the month draws closer and your bank account gets emptier. But it’s a very “now”-centric existence, without worrying about the future, or anything else. He begins dealing drugs as a way to make some extra money, but gets in way over his head, owing the dealers over $10,000. Ultimately Mike bails him out, sacrificing most of his life’s savings to do so. At the end of the day Mike is left having quit stripping with no real plan, and Adam is the same entitled prick he started as. It was a bit of a downer, really. But hey, he got the girl so… yay?

It was this non-conventional story/ending that made me like the movie so much. I mean… I would have liked it pretty much regardless, what with the Channing Tatum’s butt in the first five seconds of movie, and the Joe Manganiello playing a character aptly named “Big Dick Richie,” and the Matt Bomer and all. But from a critical perspective, I actually really enjoyed it. It didn’t glamorize stripping, but actually portrayed it for what it is: a little bit fun, but also equal parts sad and ridiculous. When you do an act as a Ken doll coming to life, or as a golden statue, or Tarzan… your life is sad and ridiculous. And I liked that things didn’t work out perfectly in the end. Magic Mike could have easily been a “stripper with a heart of gold” movie, where everyone learns and grows and hugs and gets real jobs. But it wasn’t, and that’s pretty gutsy for a film largely marketed to Lifetime special-watching housewives.

And of course, this being a Soderbergh film, it is gorgeously filmed. Yes, at times it feels a little pretentious for a movie about strippers, but it really does elevate the movie to more than just a sexy summer flick. And finally, the actors are all-around pretty great. Channing Tatum is charming as always, and as always, has great comedic timing. Alex Pettyfer plays petulant and self-destructive with shocking subtlety. Matthew McConaughey plays essentially himself, but balances dickish club owner, with weirdly paternal boss, with over-the-hill stripper very well. Manganiello and Bomer are good as well, though their roles are so small they sometimes feel like little more than window dressing (especially Joe… sigh…).

So I guess the bottom line is, don’t be suckered in by the marketing campaign. This movie might be too saucy for the average Christian viewer, though it was far less graphic and sexual than say True Blood or Game of Thrones or Spartacus. And the average All-American Male might think it’s too “gay,” but all the characters are straight, there’s Olivia Munn boobs, and honestly who cares. If I were straight, I would still rather take a girl to Magic Mike than Twilight, because at least this movie had quality acting, great cinematography, a soundtrack that wasn’t picked out by a teenage girl, and oh yeah, a real plot with tension and emotion.

TL;DR: Magic Mike is a movie, not a giant strip tease, and it’s honestly worth watching for the story, and not just the visuals – cinematic or beef-cake-ular.

True Blood: Season 5

If there’s anything like a holiday just for the gays, it’s the premiere of True Blood. Actually, there probably is a holiday just for the gays, but I don’t know it. Is that bad? I don’t feel bad. Should I feel bad?

Never mind. I’m here to talk about True Blood, which – contrary to popular belief – is (sometimes) more than just sexy times. True Blood is also something of a case study in diminishing returns. The first season was, by my reckoning, fantastic. There was one central plot, around which the other plots revolved. It was simple: a serial killer is loose in Bon Temps, killing women who have had congress with the beast. Sookie is targeted, and seeks refuge in Bill. Jason’s girlfriends keep dying, and he is targeted by the police. Sure, there was a lot of other stuff going on – Bill’s punishment (aka Jessica), Jason and Amy kidnapping a vampire, Tara getting exorcised, etc. But there was, in general, a really tight focus. There was some really strong music, and a number of truly moving scenes – Sookie eating pie after her gran’s funeral sticks out as the best moment of the entire series for me. I liked how Merlotte’s was a central hub for the cast. Most of the cast works there (Sam, Tara, Sookie, Amy, Arlene, Terry, Lafayette), or is involved with someone who works there (Bill, Jason, Rene), or is investigating a murder there (Andy, Bud). It gave a lot of opportunities for characters to interact organically, and check in on everyone in one fell swoop. Yes, it was cheesy at times, and the romance moved way too fast, but it was a very good season, a blood-drenched, sexy murder mystery soap opera.

Seasons two and three were still good, although less so. The second season split the cast and the action in half for most of the time. Sookie, Eric, Bill, and Jason (and sometimes Hoyt and Jessica) were in Dallas attempting to infiltrate a violent Christian military camp (I guess that’s how best to describe it?), while Tara, Sam, Lafayette, and Andy held the fort in Bon Temps, dealing with a supernatural sex cult. Michelle Forbes was great that season, and the increased screen time for Eric was an obvious plus.

Season three brought us Russell, the vampire King of Mississippi, who was a fantastic villain. He was campy and over the top to the extreme. But he was also delightfully evil, and brought a sense of fun back to the show after a year of depressing arcs. In general there was too much vampire politicking, and the cast began to feel a bit bloated. Sam had almost nothing to do, and Tara’s arc was so mind-numbingly soul-crushingly dark, that I hoped she would die the True Death sevenfold. Then all of a sudden there were werepanthers who were also in-bred meth heads? And somehow Jason was involved? But by and large the season was solid, and we got tons of Alcide (actor Joe Manganiello) who is by-and-large the hottest thing I have ever seen, and a fairly compelling character with actual, you know, morals. Plus the mystery of Sookie’s powers deepened, with the fairy revelation being both a bit of a let-down, and still pretty cool. I have no idea how that works. Don’t ask me.

Season four, however, was bad. While the jump in the future was interesting, and made it look as though the show might shake things up, it ultimately mattered very little. Sam found a shifter girlfriend who, while being very attractive, added little to the show. Eric got amnesia and finally got with Sookie, but he was so childlike it was kind of creepy instead of steamy. Bill was a jealous bitch, again. Tara was a lesbian? A really pissed off lesbian? Who had no reason at all to be on the show God I hate her why won’t she just die. And of course there was a really terrible scene where all the vampires put on black Matrix leather and walk in slow motion to blow up a building. It was… the worst thing. I mean it. It was terrible. Cliché. Cheesy. Bad. BUT THEY SHOT TARA IN THE FACE THANK GOD YES.

So, finally on to the premiere of Season 5. In general, I liked it. It set up all the plot threads for the season, and boy are there a lot of them. You’ve got Bill and Eric on the run, which would have been great on its own, but look! More vampire politics! Yay. I don’t know why the show continues to shove this in our faces, when it is exactly no one’s favorite thing. Oh and speaking of fan-hate, Tara’s alive! As a vampire. Even though she hates them. So, chances are we’ll get to see EVEN MORE of Tara being angry. Thank God for that! (*Inserts gun into mouth, cries, realizes there’s more to life than television, cries more, buys tickets for Magic Mike, smiles, moves on*) Let’s see, what else… Sam watched some werewolf cannibalism, so there’s that… Alcide is either going to have to step up as pack master, or get killed, which could actually be interesting considering his disdain for wolves as a whole. Plus he doesn’t know Sookie killed Debbie, yet. How will that affect their relationship? Will they HAVE a relationship, with Sam taken and Bill and Eric on the run? Will Sookie go for a man with a body temperature? Does she deserve one? What else… Jason is in love with Jessica and Hoyt is mad at him. And while I like Jessica and Hoyt (and Arlene and Terry and Andy) they all just work so much better as background characters. I don’t need to see all their plot lines every episode. Just check in on their ridiculous little side-quests every other episode or so, and devote more time to a central plot. Like, say, the resurrection of the strongest vampire “alive,” who has a serious axe to grind with all the main characters?

So, ultimately as I said, I liked the episode. I wish we could have had more than just set-up for everything, but I’m sure we’ll get something this week. I wish Tara could have died and stayed dead. I hope Reverend Newlin does more than just stalk Jason. I want to see how his church reacts to his turn, and how he reacts to that. I want to see a weird buddy-cop/fugitive movie with Bill and Eric. I want Lafayette to go back to being sassy and fabulous. I want Sam to do something interesting for once. But things were set up pretty nicely, and I’m intrigued enough to continue through the season. Plus, you know, naked hotties.

How About Those Mad Men, huh??

Welcome to the Grab Bag – the much-hyped but never over-exaggerated new feature Ian and I will be doing whenever a month has an extra week in it. Or, you know, whenever we feel like it. Because we can! As always, I’m your host John. So, grab a beer, put on your stretchy pants, and find that groove in your sofa that fits your butt just right, because this is a long one.

In case you don’t know, Mad Men is phenomenal. If you don’t know that, you’re probably prettttty tired of people saying it though. But the fact of the matter is: it’s amazing, and if you disagree, you’re Wrong. That’s “Wrong,” not “wrong.” The capital letter indicates that this is Serious Business, and that your opinion has rendered you Ritually Unclean. So repent, Sinner, and make your reparations by watching this stuff! Also, if you don’t watch it, this post has ALL THE SPOILERS, so STOP READING.

First of all, the show is technically flawless. The writing, the acting, the directing, the music – it’s all spotless. Most of the episodes are co-written by the creator of the series, which gives it a level of consistency that is unfortunately rare in television. The scripts are so polished and so tight that there’s no room for improvisation (which wouldn’t be much fun in a comedy, but is probably dramatic gold). The characters are so fleshed out, so complicated, so… real. Even when they’re doing terrible things, you can fully understand why they are doing them. Because real people make choices based on logic – even in extreme situations [I’m talking to you, THE WALKING DEAD].

But what I really want to talk about is Mad Men’s part in a very interesting trend in quality American television right now – I call it “Douchey Protag Syndrome.” By which I mean, the protagonists of some of the best shows in America right now are douchebags. Walter White of Breaking Bad? Douche. I mean, he repeatedly kills innocent to semi-innocent people to serve his own needs. The entire cast of the Walking Dead? Douches. DUMB douches. House? D-bag. The Lannisters on Game of Thrones? Douchenozzles. And of course, most of the Mad Men. They drink. They smoke. They cheat. They whore. They lie. Douches.

I’m not sure what our fascination is with these Anti-Heroes, but it isn’t a new phenomenon. The 90s in particular were positively FRAUGHT with them – at least in the comic book world. Wolverine became the template for legions of them. Cable, Shatterstar, Spawn, Deadpool, Witchblade, and Venom are just a few of the more famous examples. This was all part of a reaction to the 70s/80s era of comics, which was… campy to say the least. Superman had a whole circus of Super Animal Pals. Women were almost always damsels in distress. Everything was black and white, and full of puns. So, there was some deconstruction going on, as well as some – frankly – riding on the coattails of Watchmen.

Anyway, the Anti-Hero Wave didn’t really affect television until the early 2000s. My own personal opinion as to why this happened: 9/11. In a nutshell. It launched our country into two wars and a recession, and told us all, without a doubt, that the age of Boy Bands and mullets was officially over. By and large, I approve of this shift. There have been some truly great television anti-heroes. Jack Bauer? Angel? The Winchester Boys? Tony Soprano? Mal Reynolds? All amazing characters. Not to mention Walter White and Don Draper.

But back to Mad Men. Don Draper is more or less the definition of an anti-hero. Here it is via TV Tropes: “An antihero is a protagonist who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero. (S)he may be bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, or merely apathetic. More often an antihero is just an amoral misfit… Other common attributes are: rarely speaking, being a loner, either extreme celibacy or extreme promiscuity, father issues, [and] occasional Bad Dreams and flashbacks relating to a Dark and Troubled Past.” So if you’re playing along at home: Apathetic. Check. Rarely speaking. Check. Loner. Check. Extreme promiscuity. Check. Father issues. Check. Flashbacks/Bad Dreams. Check.

So what keeps us coming back to a character like that? What makes us sympathize with a man who has cheated on his wife with dozens of different women, going so far as proposing to them or asking them to run away with him? How can we root for a man that stole someone’s identity to get out of Korea? How can we relate to someone who leaves his daughter’s birthday party for hours without telling anyone just because he can’t handle the social norms of suburban life?

Are we that dark and twisted inside? Are we that sure that our lives are terrible, that we are terrible? Can we only relate to characters who almost always do the wrong thing, or at best the right thing for the wrong reason? Do we find good people doing good things so foreign that it destroys our suspension of disbelief? God, I hope not.

Actually, I know that’s not the case. I think a large reason Modern Family is so popular is precisely because the characters are good people. Are they perfect? No. But Phil, Jay, and Mitch would never cheat on Claire, Gloria, or Cam. Might they ruin a child’s birthday party? Yes. But either it would be an accident, or it would be something that they felt deeply sorry for, and apologized for later. The characters might fight, but they’re a family, and they’re always going to hug it out in the end. They aren’t going to go to jail for breaking the Good Samaritan Law, because they are good people doing (mostly) good things.

Even dramas have their share of traditional heroes. Except for a few episodes of self-pity, Buffy is a traditional hero. She isn’t a loner. She has no more daddy issues than any other person in this day and age. She isn’t quiet. She’s neither prude nor prostitute. She’s good. Just like Sydney Bristow. Helo and typically Apollo from BSG. Olivia Dunham on Fringe. Aang and Korra (hell, everyone but Zuko) from Airbender/Legend of Korra. You can’t say those are “unrelatable.”

Back to my point… The reason I think we love Mad Men so much is because, yes, these characters – and especially Don – are dark. But there’s always hope that they might turn it around. When Don proposes to Megan, you’re like “OK way to give Faye the SHAFT, ass!” But you’re also kind of like “Well, he’s in love, and he’s a better person around her.” When Betty divorces Don, you’re like “Well you’re a child.” But at the same time, at least she’s standing up for herself and finding a man her father would approve of. You may pity Joan and kind of judge her for not breaking up with Greg after he rapes her, but you have to admire the strength and class with which she deals with it (and cheer all the harder when she kicks his ass to the CURB). If these characters were just getting progressively darker, with no hope of redemption, would we enjoy it as much? I mean, that’s kind of what’s going on with Breaking Bad, but Walt’s downward spiral is really wonderfully contrasted with Jesse’s general redemption arc. And who knows how the show will end? Probably an explosion, but maybe, just maybe Walt will turn it all around. Somehow.

In conclusion, if you’re not watching Mad Men, you probably hate me for spoiling some seriously salacious drama, but you were warned so shut it. But if you do, I hope you’ve maybe come to some peace about it. I hope you’ve realized that maybe you don’t love it because you hate yourself, but because you’re a secret optimist. Maybe you’ve learned something about yourself, and society, and well… I’m glad I could help. Damn I’m awesome.