Dare I say that last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County was actually…pretty decent? Of course, it had all the hallmarks of an entertaining episode: cosmetic surgery, on-site spray tanning, an over-the-top kiddie birthday party and actual familial strife being laid bare for the cameras to round out the hour. It seems as though the OC ladies might be learning something from their neighbors to the north in Beverly Hills.
Recaps of awesomely dramatic TV Shows!(Page 7)
With yesterday being Mother’s Day, it seemed quite appropriate that the evening’s episode of Mad Men pivoted so heavily on Betty. By extension, Betty protege Sally Draper also figured prominently in the plot, which is usually one of my very favorite types of Mad Men episode. The odds that Sally’s going to stab someone with a letter opener before this show goes off the air continue to increase, much to my delight.
I’m not even entirely sure how to write introductions for Real Housewives of Orange County recaps anymore, mostly because if you’ve ever seen an episode of the series, you already know what happened. The Orange County wives have long been one of the franchise’s better casts, but even their relentless infighting, breast-enhancing and party-throwing seems stale by now. I wish that Bravo had scheduled it for Sundays and the New Jersey wives for Tuesdays so that at least I could recap a cast that seems to have genuine drama.
I’m not sure exactly where to start, so I’ll start by saying this: last night’s episode of Mad Men was deceptively simple, I think. I’m pretty sure that it gave us a road map for the second half of the season, but I’m not entirely sure that I can read the map quite yet. There are parts of it that seem clear – Megan’s exit from the workplace looks as though it foretells her larger exit – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if by the end of the season, everything we thought we could expect has been turned on its head.
Let’s see, Real Housewives of Orange County. What happened last night? Oh, everything that we were told would happen last week, more or less. Gretchen got up on stage, she made a fool of herself, everyone told her she did a great job and then made fun of her behind her back. You guys already knew exactly how all of this was going to go, right?
Do any of you remember the first time that you realized that the world could be a thoroughly disappointing place? I don’t remember the specific instance, but I do remember the sensation, and every time some aspect of my life spirals beyond my ability to control it, I’m right back in that moment, disenchanted all over again. After last night, the characters of Mad Men know of which I speak.
Bravo did it to us again last night. Instead of making one episode about the buildup to a not-particularly-interesting event and then the event itself, they promised they’d do that, and then they split it into two. That means that we watched a bunch of people doing absolutely nothing last night while they waited around for Gretchen to perform in Vegas, and then she didn’t actually perform.
I don’t have any facts to support this assumption, but I believe that last night’s episode of Mad Men will be one that splits viewers down the middle. The entire time I was watching it, I couldn’t help thinking that zero was the number of clues that I had about what was going on, but after letting it marinate for a couple hours and watching one of the middle-of-the-night repeats, I can’t help but think that it was totally and utterly brilliant.
Real Housewives of Orange County seemed a whole lot more fun before Mad Men came back on the air. I know they’re apples and oranges, but watching and dissecting Mad Men makes everything Bravo runs look like the television equivalent of preschool finger-painting, and after I watch it, I often feel like you do after you eat a whole box of Girl Scout cookies: bloated, over-indulged and vaguely shameful, even if no one saw you do it.
This week’s recap is going to be a little different because last night’s episode was a little different. Instead of spreading our attentions out to the veritable universe of characters that Matthew Weiner has created for us, last night’s Mad Men was about just one Mad Man: Pete Campbell. To his great detriment.
For once in his life, the entire world actually did revolve around Pete, but in the exact opposite way as he’s always dreamed.