Mad Men Open Thread: Season 5, Episode 7 “At the Codfish Ball”

Blue & green print is the colour of parental disapproval & disappointment

*Cave people ate baked beans & so did Calamity Jane!
*Canadians are socialists!
*But that doesn’t mean we don’t have baseball!
*”Sooner or later your little girl will spread her legs and fly away!”
*Sally Draper a go-go makes Don say a no-no!
*Peggy’s mom recommends getting some pussy instead of shacking up with your boyfriend
*Glen is attending what appears to be a pants-optional trigonometry school
*Manhattan is “DIRTY”

All that and more on this week’s episode of Mad Men.

Now go on, Sally tell us about what happened!


Fanvid Friday: Take My Hand [BBC’s Sherlock]

I was so pleased to discover that this vid–which only had a few thousand views when I first came upon it some months back–has now had at least 44,000 pairs of eyeballs on it, because it deserves every one of those views and a fillion more.

If I were to curate an in-person fanvid exhibit in some sort of gallery (DREAM BIG, GEISSLER) this gutpuncher would have its own screen where it played on a loop next to a giant box of tissue, a case of wine, and litter of fluffy white kittens bread to pay particular affection to human beings in the midst of a seriously, seriously, ugly cry.

The song, clip selection (those LOOKS), added text, and alternating of black and white frames of youtube user ILoveThesePeople’s video combine to create a heartbreaking masterwork of staggering Johnlock genius. I will never tire of watching this, and if you similarly needed to sob into a phone or gchat box after watching the S2 finale, neither will you.

NB: video contains serious spoilers for Sherlock seasons 1 and 2


Now, won’t you please just take my hand… oh FFS  get over here. Let me hold you in my arms for a minute. You can get snot on my collar, I used to work with kids, I don’t mind. We’ll make it to late 2013… somehow.

I’m not what you’d call a serious Sherlock/John (or Johnlock) shipper. I like a pr0n-y tumblr full of Johnlock fan art as much as the next Benaddict, but I’m decidedly old school Sherlockian canon when it comes to the Watson-Holmes relationship. I think there’s a lot of sincere love and tenderness and affection there, but I don’t find much in the text that ultimately suggests buttsecks.  The above vid, however, should satisfy the shippers and purists alike. It can easily be read through a romantic or platonic lens to suit your purposes, be they chaste or profane or somewhere in-between.

Annnd speaking of lenses: I’m now picturing some sort of novelty item called “Slash Goggles.” They’d have like naked characters doing it drawn on the glass so the wearer actually sees their ‘ships bumping uglies in every scene of whatever show they’re watching. Or, better yet, they are a Viewmaster that has slides of people doing it with little slots to slide in the faces of the characters you want to see getting to know each other in the biblical sense. You know, the existence of Slash Goggles, COULD explain some of incredibly strained ships in the fandom. (*cough cough* Mystrade anyone? Not a single scene together! Not one!).

But honestly, if you wanna ship the Buckingham Palace ashtray and 243 types of tobacco ash, I will not debate your deduction. I respect your right to suggest that I am the one who “sees, but does not observe.” There’s always more than one way to read a text.

*UNF, THIS COVER U GUISE. I’m not the marrying kind, but if was, Ingrid Michaelson covering (and imho totally ECLIPSING) Elvis would be a frontrunner for First Dance. (You know, it might even depose Jens Lekman’s “Your Arms Around Me” as the ruler of love songs in my heart).

Episode #28: Chekhov’s Motorbike

Fran Kranz as Topher -- I mean, Marty -- in The Cabin in the Woods

In this episode, Cynara gives her favourable review of Whit Stilman’s long-awaited film Damsels in Distress, and we digress into considerations of dance crazes and the custom of communal dancing in and of itself.

We get spoilery for The Cabin in the Woods at the 18:00 mark (with a few general remarks about the horror-comedy before that), so bear that in mind if you plan to see the flick, because we do recommend you see it unspoiled.

Then at the end, a bit of a teaser where Jenny predicts that when Cynara gets around to watching the new HBO series Girls, our resident Transconian will not be fond of it. An in-depth discussion of the series will follow in an upcoming podcast, and we’ll all see if Jenny  is a mind-whisperer of the calibre she believes she is.

Fanvid Friday: All the Single Ladies TNG Style [Star Trek: The Next Generation]

[NOTE: This Fanvid Friday is coming to you on Saturday because of Jenny, she forgot to post it. ENTIRELY HER FAULT]

This week’s offering comes from beloved FOI superlistener Kathleen!  Your lady-baby loves you, homoslice!

I’m not exactly sure how to categorize this fanvid*, other than to say it boldly goes where no other fanvid has gone before and that I definitely like it, and, provided it accepts my proposal, I will most certainly PUT A RING ON IT.  FOUR RINGS, IN FACT.

In this delightful stop-motion offering from YouTube user pivotalproduction, the action-figure versions of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Data, and Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge pay homage to Beyonce’s iconic black and white dance video for equally iconic multi-platinum hit song “Single Ladies”.  Or that’s the real-world explanation, at least.

The TNG in-universe one is that a shuttle accident maroons our three heroes on a totally white planet that plays Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” on an endless loop. Unable to communicate with the Enterprise they respond with what seems to be the only logical morale-boosting course of action: a choreographed dance routine.

Or Geordi and Picard are slashily reminiscing about 21st-century Earth megahits on the holodeck, when Data crashes their private dance party.

Or this is just what actually happens on the USS Enterprise after hours.

Whatever you like.



Everyone is shaking it like they mean it, but Picard is the clear Captain of this dance enterprise.  As evidenced by his central Beyonce placement, two-piece midriff showcasing ensemble, and his flawless form on the lift at 1:04.

Nobody puts Jean-Luc in a corner. I am pretty sure his performer alias is Earl Grey Tea, Hot.  Robot Chicken so wishes they thought of this first.

Cynara’s log, star date 20042012, supplemental: not to throw shade, but given Beyonce’s bizarre cyborg arm in the original, I sort of feel like not including some sort of cutaway to a Locutus action figure for the final frame was a bit of a missed opportunity.  Borg-like arm jewellery: the must-have accessory for Spring 2012?


*serious scholars will weigh in, I am sure.

Episode #27: Failing Forward

Ken Jeong as Chang and Chevy Chase as Pierce in Community

Cynara saw Guy Maddin’s latest flick, Keyhole, and had to do some remedial Maddin 101 for her fellow theatre-goers. As of Saturday, Jenny had made plans to see The Cabin in the Woods, so some very spoiler-free speculation about that picture (which we have now both seen and which will be discussed at a later date) ensues. We talk in generalities about films we’ve seen lately and films we want to see soon, as well as the perils of aging and de-aging technology in film and SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome).

Flipping to the small screen, we talk about the ongoing and very public beef between Chevy Chase and Community showrunner Dan Harmon, which segues into lots of fan talk about recent Community episodes (feel free to vote in the comments as to who you think is Cynara’s “Blade”).

Then we do some Mad Men talk, so if you’re not up to date, don’t listen after the 40:00 mark.

Mad Men Open Thread: Season 5, Episode 5 “Signal 30”

You think you're wet now? Wait until Don Draper has a go at that faucet!


Welcome to the very first Fatties on Ice open thread for Mad Men!  You asked for, we built it, and we even devilled eggs so you better come!  You can try and make excuses but we’ll just shoot down every one of them down. I mean we’ve been trying to have you over for an open thread since Trudy and Pete got married.  This is long overdue!

* Ken is… a ROBOT!  (well not so far, but he totally writes about them!  All Asimov-style!)
* That “grimy little…” Pete Campbell totally got PUNCHED IN THE FACE!
* LLWDDFS  aka Ladies Love When Don Draper Fixes a Sink!

All that and more in this week’s episode of Mad Men titled “Signal 30.”

Now off you go in the comments!  Like Joan in a Jaguar or Roger at a sexy party!  Just don’t get so wild that you wake up with chewing gum in your pubes, ok?  Because that would be SUPER AWKWARD!

Fanvid Friday: Cat’s in the Cradle [Sherlock/House/Fortysomething]

Here at FOI we appreciate a finely-crafted fanvid. We embark on many a late night adventure down the YouTube rabbit hole,  and I personally dream of the day when Fanvid Curator/Historian could be an actual job*. Jenny, my lovely co-host and master-of-all-things-technical-and-production-related here at FOI is a very talented videographer/video editor in her own right.

Done are the days when you had to hand-rip legally obtained DVDs and CDs, edit them in Windows Movie Maker, and host them on the servers of willing friends (or hacked enemies) for download.  (Dark days, that my friend chavvah, a heroic old school vidder behind some truly spectacular Forever Knight work, refers to as  “the ten miles uphill in the snow of fanvidding.”)

The superfen of 2012 are high-speed, pro-equipped, and stream-enabled — more positioned than ever to create these bite-sized small-screen love letters to the movies, television shows, and recording artists who excel and inspire in this business we call show.  And lo, we find our 3am quality of internet surfing considerably and increasingly improved.

Welcome to a new Fatties on Ice blog feature: Fanvid Friday.  On participating Fridays we’ll feature a gem plucked from the video platform equivalent of Mary Poppins’ Magic Carpet Bag: YouTube. We promise that with our careful curation these vids are both the medicine and the spoon full of sugar that helps it go down.

Our inaugural vid was uploaded by YouTube user daasgirl and is in the narrative multi-media mashup style.  Set to Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in The Cradle”–the original Bad-Dad-Ballad to end all Bad-Dad-Ballads*–dassgrl deftly marries clips from the best forgotten (until now) UK sitcom Fortysomething, BBC’s white-hot drama serial Sherlock, and Fox’s used-to-be-a-hit-but-since-became-a-totally-unwatchable-trainwreck House to bring us irrefutable proof that Hugh Laurie’s House is Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock‘s cold, absentee, thoroughly disappointing father.

Before you click play: please note this vid contains spoilers for all three series, in particular the as-of-yet unaired in the US Sherlock season two

My boy was just like MEEEEE!


Seriously though this, my friends, is what we call an amazing eye for parallel clips.  The Wilson/John hand-to-foreheads at 3:19 totally slayyyyys me, in particular.

Serious props to daasgrrl for a vid that can only be described as EPIC in both concept and execution and in that it actually kind of JUSTIFIES the heretofore tragic existence of Fortysomething. Trust me, a raging Benaddict and thorough en-Hugh-thiast when I tell that that show is a total and utter turd of a sitcom that not even the Megazord of talent that is Laurie, Cumberbatch, Chancellor (and even the occasional cameo from Frye) — the platonic ideal of a British Sitcom cast — could deliver from the Crapper of Justified Cancellation.

*I feel like all soon-to-be fathers should probably have to attend a parental development session with the groanworthy name like “Don’t be a deadbeat, Dad.” The session would consist of being forced to listen to Harry Chapin’s catchy cautionary tear-jerker on repeat for a solid six hours, followed by some roleplaying activities where soon-to-be dads would play their future kin. The scenarios would involve facilitators choosing things like gambling in Vegas vs playing Monopoly with their children, and then the soon-to-be-dads would then listen to the song again while having a thoughtful-instrospection-off.  This session might also be used as a form of rehabilitation for existing Deadbeat Dads.


Episode #26: The Hunger Games (or, “Katni$$”)

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

Believe it or not, we recorded this episode RIGHT AFTER we both saw the movie last Friday, but technical problems prevented me from posting it until now. The reason I mention this is because at the time of recording, we were not yet fully aware of the “Katni$$” phenomenon — i.e., that this movie has made and will make piles of money, the size of which heretofore unknown to all except those named Winfrey, Buffett, and God.

And why shouldn’t it? We loved the movie, so we can’t argue with the taste of millions (unlike other YA film franchises of late).

This podcast contains ~*SPOILERS*~ for The Hunger Games, both the movie and the original book by Suzanne Collins. We do  get into spoilers for the two following books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, but not until later in the episode. So if you haven’t read them yet and plan to, you can stop listening at 47:50 (we warn you in the audio).

We spend most of the hour-plus gushing, but we do get to some matters of substance, including some of the race-based ugliness surrounding casting in the film (which got even WORSE after we recorded this), how Katniss is like Buffy, and how we approve of basically all the casting choices. Cynara sheds some light on how The Hunger Games became a bestseller in the first place. We also get to the root of Cynara’s desire to create a Rocky Horror Picture Show-style participatory viewing script for this film (hint: it’s pain).

Mad Men Roundtable: Fat Betty

Some technical difficulties at FOI HQ have slowed the flow of podcasts, but that won’t stop us from registering our comments on the topic of the second episode of the fifth season of Mad Men. And whenever we talk Mad Men, we bring in an expert — Margarita (check out her new podcast, Fat on Film!)

Jenny: After being entirely absent from the season premiere, Betty Draper Francis returned to our screens Sunday night on Mad Men. Betty always brings with her some consternation, since she’s far from the show’s most popular character. But of course, this appearance added a new layer of controversy to our Birdie: a literal layer, in the form of a fat suit. This show is not new to putting its main female characters in fat suits – Elisabeth Moss wore one in the first season as Peggy, who was pregnant and didn’t know it. But this is the first time it’s been done as a way to manage an actress’s pregnancy.

As actual, non-fat suit-wearing fatties, I know we all have some opinions on this. So Margarita, as our resident Mad Men überfan, what is your initial reaction?

Margarita: At first I did think Betty was pregnant. I saw photos of January Jones on set a few months ago in fat suit and housedress, so I thought she must be pregnant with a Francis baby in order to lock down that situation. But it turns out she’s just faaaaaaaahhaaaat. It was interesting that her fatter (OBEEEESE) mother in law came to talk to her about getting on pep pills in order to stay skinny for her man. Though I think Henry Francis is sincere in his continued attraction to her, I think her mom is also touching on the fact that Betty can hardly stand to be seen while fat. 

It’s interesting yet frustrating how they kind of imply she is “eating her feelings” because she’s dissatisfied, even after the thyroid diagnosis. Why would she not have done so when she was married to Don for longer and had three kids? It all seems too convenient as a way to punish Betty for being vain, selfish, and a bad mom. 

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