In preparation for the "Mad Men" finale, I watched the season opener, "For Those Who Think Young," again.
Kathy Lyford, Stuart Levine and I have consistently marveled at the intricate craftsmanship of this show in these weekly blog posts. But it really is amazing to look back at the 13 segs in their entirety and to consider the care and planning that went in to stringing the threads and revealing a little bit more of the puzzle week by week. Kudos to Matthew Weiner, Robin Veith and the rest of the "Mad Men" team. We owe you.
It struck me that a whole bunch of season two is described in this quote from the book "Meditations in an Emergency" that is featured as a voice-over from Don as he reads the book near the end of the season opener.
"Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again...and interesting... and modern."
This season began on Feb. 14, 1962, with a breathless Jackie Kennedy leading us on a tour of the White House via the small screen, and ended eight months later on the heels of her husband's famed Oct. 22 televised address warning the world that a nuclear attack could well be brewing. Enough drama for you?
Think of how much the world for the Sterling Cooper-ites changes in that time -- from the boundless promise of JFK's New Frontier to the Cold War chill, the confrontation of racism and the civil rights movement, the budding awakening of what will be dubbed "women's lib," and the underside of celebrity culture laid bare by Marilyn Monroe's self-destruction.
I can't wait to find out where we go from here. It's gonna be eight long months, presuming AMC sticks with its summer skedding pattern.
Before we say goodbye to season two, it's worth taking a look back at a highlights reel. I'd love to hear some comments/criticisms/suggestions from others who are as obsessed with this show as Littleton/Lyford/Levine, LLC.
To start, a shout-out to a few of the supporting players whose work hasn't been as heralded as much as the that of the core ensemble.
Kiernan Shipka -- Sally Draper had so much to play this year. This is one talented moppet.
Alison Brie -- She always does so much with Trudy Campbell's limited screen time.
Joel Murray -- We miss Freddy Rumsen already.
Melinda McGraw -- Oooh, did I hate Bobbie Barrett, to the credit of Ms. McGraw.
"What did you bring me, daddy?" -- Peggy Olson (Episode 1, "For Those Who Think Young")
"It's so obvious why you're seeing her -- A supermarket checkout girl? The conversation must be stimulating. 'Lettuce costs a nickel...You, out there in your poor little rich boy apartment, in Newark or wherever...Walking around with your pipe and your beard. Falling in love with that girl just to show how interesting you are." -- Joan Holloway (Episode 2, "Flight 1")
"God, I miss the 50s" -- Roger Sterling (Episode 3, "The Benefactor")
"God, I miss the blacklist" -- CBS executive (Episode 3, "The Benefactor")
"My people are Nordic" -- Betty Draper (Episode 3, "The Benefactor")
"You have big ones. My mommy has big ones. I'm going to have big ones." -- Sally Draper (Episode 4, "Three Sundays")
"This never happened. It will shock you how much this never happened" -- Don Draper (Episode 5, "The New Girl")
"Are you still trying to say thank you?" -- Peggy Olson (Episode 5, "The New Girl")
"It was perfect in every way, except it couldn't make music" -- Ken Cosgrove (Episode 7, "The Gold Violin")
"You're garbage" -- Jimmy Barrett (Episode 7, "The Gold Violin")
"He has no people! You can't trust a person like that" -- Gene Hofstadt (Episode 10, "The Inheritance")
"I make love to the man, not the woman" -- Kurt Smith (Episode 11, "The Jet Set")
"Hello, it's Dick Whitman" -- Don Draper (Episode 11, "The Jet Set")
"The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone" -- Anna Draper (Episode 12, "The Mountain King")
"Take it, break it, share it, love it" -- Peggy Olson (Episode 12, "The Mountain King")
"My god, you are an awful woman, aren't you?" -- Sarah Beth (Episode 12, "The Mountain King")
"So, what is your name?" -- Guy in bar, (Episode 13, "Meditations in an Emergency")
"If the world is still here on Monday, we can talk" -- Don Draper (Episode 13, "Meditations in an Emergency")
MEMORABLE MOMENTS (Obviously, a partial list)
The tension of Betty flirting with the mechanic to get the fan belt fixed. (Episode 1)
Pete's numbness in reaction to the news of his father's death. (Episode 2)
The silhouette scene in the bar where the Utz commercial is being shot and Bobbie first comes on to Don (Episode 3)
The way the camera dances around the Sterling Cooper office when they're all called in to work on Palm Sunday (Episode 4)
Father Gill handing Peggy the easter egg (Episode 4)
Peggy and Bobbie sparring in her apartment (Episode 5)
Duck setting his Irish setter Chauncey off into the night (Episode 6)
Sal and Kitty's dinner with Ken (Episode 7)
The Draper family picnic (Episode 7)
Betty's destruction of the chair (Episode 8)
Father Gill playing his acoustic guitar (Episode 8)
Betty and Glen Bishop watching cartoons on the couch (Episode 10)
Kurt's coming-out scene (Episode 11)
Joan's rape (Episode 12)
Don's dip in the ocean (Episode 12)
Betty's backroom tryst (Episode 13)
FOR NEXT YEAR'S EMMY SUBMISSION REELS:
Jon Hamm: The scenes on Anna's front porch (Episode 13)
January Jones: Her middle of the night talk with Don on the couch (Episode 8)
Elisabeth Moss: Her confession to Pete (Episode 13)
Vincent Kartheiser: The scene at his mother's home after his father's death (Episode 2)
Joan Holloway: The scene where she's learns that someone else has been hired to read scripts (Episode 8)
Roger Sterling: The boozy scenes with Don talking about marriage (Episode 9)
Bryan Batt: Kurt's coming-out scene (Episode 11)
Aaron Staton: The dinner with Salvatore and Kitty (Episode 7)
Mark Moses: Duck's first meeting as president (Episode 13)
Kiernan Shipka: Sally goes to the office with Daddy (Episode 4)
Alison Brie: Trudy tries to comfort Pete at his family home after his father's death (Episode 2)