Tag Archives: Little League

My thoughts on an almost-great “Mad Men” finale. The guy who sneezed out a dart in his nose, 44 years later. And a first-year Little League coach writes beautifully of his experience

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I remember watching the very first episode of “Mad Men,” back in 2007, and thinking “Hmmm, this doesn’t look like any TV show I’ve seen before.”

In an era of gloriously good television, basically from when “The Sopranos” started until now,” the best shows have all felt different from anything that came before it. “Breaking Bad” certainly did; so did “The Wire.”

And “Mad Men” was totally that way too; from the look, the dialogue, the period pieces from the 1960s they got exactly right… it really was a hell of a show. even if Pete Campbell drove me nuts just looking at him (I’m trying to think of a TV character I’ve hated more than Pete Campbell.

Which is why I was so disappointed with this final half-season, when I felt like it was mostly running in circles. Still, I had high hopes for the finale, and for the most part, I wasn’t let down.

(SPOILER ALERT. I’M ABOUT TO DISCUSS THE SERIES FINALE. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET, SKIP DOWN TO THE PHOTO. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)

I loved how the series ended Joan’s arc; her standing up for herself with yet another jerk (Richard, I thought you were the one!), and then starting her own production company? Joan’s come such a long way. Loved, loved, loved Peggy and Stan finally getting together; that relationship has been on simmer for years, and it was about damn time they became a couple.

I enjoyed Roger Sterling’s final moments, even felt a little good for Pete, that sonofabitch, seeming happy at the end.

But the way “Mad Men” dealt with Don Draper… ugh. I didn’t like Don Draper since the middle of season 1, when we got to see what a cad he was. The man, for 10 years in show-time, did not change at all. Behavior still awful, toward women, toward his kids, all of it.

And then in the final episode, when it looks like Don is completely broken, mentally, spiritually, and all that, and seems to finally find some catharsis and peace … “Mad Men” just uses his brief moment of Zen as inspiration for another ad campaign. Don Draper returns to McCann and writes the iconic Coca-Cola commercial.

I’ve seen some people interpret the ending differently, but to me, it’s crystal clear: Don can’t change, he is what he is, and his descent into a terrible life spiral these last few episodes has a happy ending for a guy who doesn’t deserve one.

Still, I left “Mad Men” on a happy note. It was a sensational show, one few others have matched.
And hey, at least we got to see Sally Draper survive without major psychological damage!

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**So this is one of those stories that instantly raised my “bullshit” detector, for it can’t possibly be true. But apparently it is.

Maybe you heard about this last week; A 51-year-old Englishman named Steve Easton (maybe related to 80s pop diva Sheena Easton?) sneezed out a toy part that had been stuck in his nose for the past 44 years, causing him decades of congested breathing.

Apparently when Easton was 7 the rubber tip of a toy dart had gotten stuck up his nose, and it was beyond the reach of doctors.

Two weeks ago Easton was sitting at home and overcome by a sneezing fit, and one sneeze dislodged the dart.

“I thought, where the hell has this come from?” Easton told The Guardian newspaper.

OK, let me stop right there, because I’m brimming with questions. First of all, the child gets a dart stuck up his nose, and the parents just leave it there when the doctor says he can’t get it? Who does that? My parents would’ve taken me to 11 specialists, all over the East Coast, to get that thing out. (Then again, we’re Jewish, so, you know, we might be a little crazier in parenting than you.)

Second, do they tell young Steve he’s got a dart up his nose, or leave him oblivious? Wouldn’t you think after sneezing and being uncomfortable for all these years, he might’ve said “Hey Mum and Dad, anything ever happen to my  nose when I was a kid?”

Third, what doctors tell parents “Yeah, there’s a toy stuck up you kid’s nose, but we can’t get it out?” I mean, do they teach you that in medical school?

Poor Steve Easton. At least his long national nightmare is over.

BadNewsBears

**Finally today, this blog post by my buddy Pearlman really spoke to me, maybe because I absolutely can see myself in his position a few years from now, prowling the dugouts for my son’s team.

Jeff just finished his first year as a Little League coach, for his 8-year-old son’s team in Southern California, and as you might expect, it was equal parts frustrating and exhilarating.

He writes of the joys, mostly, though, and it’s a really sweet look at coaching young boys, and the bonds he feels with these kids forever.

 

“The Newsroom” was a train wreck; but “Episodes” comes back strong. Lochte and Phelps kick ass again. And the woman suing a Little Leaguer for a bad throw.

Good news and bad news from my TV watching Sunday night.
First, the bad: Man, that was one sorry, confusing, ridiculous mess of an episode of “The Newsroom” last night. The few parts of the premiere that were problematic blew up big-time in Episode 2, and so many new problems developed.
SPOILER ALERT: STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, AND SKIP DOWN TO THE SWIMMING PHOTO.

First of all, even for me, a veteran of Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, those scenes moved way too fast last night. Second, and a major problem, is the completely idiotic storyline of McKenzie and the emailing issues. Who the hell, first of all, uses an asterisk in email anymore?
And could that have been any more predictable, that she would soon write something awful and send it to the entire company?  And then Will’s reaction to it was over the top and public.
Third, they have made both Will and McKenzie, the two leads, very unsympathetic characters, and Maggie, Sorkin’s cute, plucky heroine (think Donna in “The West Wing”) is too ditsy and crazy to be likable by the audience (and come on, Sorkin, she dated the governor’s press aide in college? You can do better than that.)

I’m worried for this show. The premise is great and the cast’s terrific, but that was pretty awful. I hope the next show gets back on track.

Happily, though, Sunday night also brought back the return of “Episodes” and “Weeds,” both on Showtime. Can’t discuss “Weeds” yet because I haven’t watched it, but “Episodes”  is a show I have repeatedly touted and will continue to tout until all you people watch it.

Matt LeBlanc plays a version of himself, starring in an awful sitcom translated from England by two hilarious British writers. Season 1 was terrific, with the season finale last year being laugh-out-loud hilarious in several parts. Season 2 got started off strong as well, with a lot of different plot developments resulting from the season finale.

I really hope they don’t keep Beverly and Shawn apart for long, because so much of the first season’s greatness was their comic timing. But sadly it looks like they won’t be a couple for much longer.
Watch this show, please. You won’t regret it.

**Now on to the swimming. If you didn’t watch any of the U.S. Olympic Trials over the past few nights, you missed some great stuff. The two greatest swimmers in the world, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, went head-to-head four times in finals. Phelps won three of ’em, but all were close. These two are so far ahead of every other American swimmer it’s not even funny; can’t wait to see them battle in London.
Also, 17-year-old Missy Franklin is so fast and seems so sweet outside the pool; I love that a guaranteed Olympian swam for her high school team this year.
And Dara Torres, age 45, is competing tonight to make her 6th Olympic team. No words to describe how inspirational that woman is.

**Finally today, proof that America may not have the craziest citizens in the world, but we’re in the top 5: A woman in New Jersey is suing a Little Leaguer for $150,000 for accidentally hitting her with an overthrow during a game two years ago.
As the kid’s father said, incredulously: “They’re little kids. A lot of them don’t know how to throw.”

I hope the judge throws the suit out, then throws her in jail for wasting the court’s time. Disgusting.