Friday, 20 April 2012

The Man With The Miniature Orchestra

This week's Mad Men was quite interesting.
Haan, Pete was given quite the limelight- which was surprising, but then again- not really.
See, one of the USP's of the show is that is remarkably life like. Events as shown are nearly not as dramatic as they often our on television, and even when they are there is a little comedy to it, a little randomness as well as a little preparation. We are shown other people in relation to incidents/events taking place, so we can keep them in perspective of everything else that has been going on. They don't end up seeming like SUCH a big deal, which they are/ or aren't depending on how things turn out. For e.g with Pete- we have been seeing this character for a while, and in this season we were introduced to his increasing discontentment with his life.Despite having it all, he feels he has nothing. There is this emptiness which he feels which is very relatable. But that's not it; he is still a jackass, and seemingly wants to be Don - aka, Old Don. The fight that takes place between him and Lane is something we could never have anticipated but we can see why its happening. Pete does deserve to get his ass kicked.

 On an another show, this event could be treated as a major dramatic turn, but not here at MM. Its treated like a random occurrence in a sense. The bystanders of the fight don't try and break the fight, they stand back and watch- out of sheer curosity and perhaps amusement. Joan and Peggy listen to it quietly in the next office. Something which would have been used as a narrative tool  to completely dissolve the entire dynamics of the office and create a major divide between the colleagues( if on another show) will pretty much just end up being another one of the random things that have happened in that office. Its very much possible that we don't even hear about this incident for some time.
Major events become random isolated occurences that tie in in the larger picture, not on a small scale.
Take Ken Cosgrove's writing for example. We were told early on in the series that he is interested in writing stories,and that whole Atlantic episode (season 1?). When Ken's writing was brought up again in season 5 , it was like 'ohhyeaaah ! he used to do that na'.In all this time, this aspect of Ken's life hasn't been brought up, but what MM does really well is deal with every little thing at its own time. When it is required.

Speaking of Ken Cosgrove, wow. The story he was shown writing in the last scene- 'The Man With the Miniature Orchestra' was unbelievably poignant. The direction was fabulous, the cinematography ,the writing, the background score, all the different elements merged so seamlessly into each other to become one. You really felt Pete's emptiness. I felt his pain tbh. I actually got a little depressed after it. Especially since it is followed by the last line of the episode when Pete whimpers 'I have nothing, Don',and that beautiful music.

”There were phrases of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that still made Coe cry. He always thought it had to do with the circumstances of the composition itself. He imagined Beethoven, deaf and soul sick, his heart broken, scribbling furiously while Death stood in the doorway, clipping his nails. Still, Coe thought, it might’ve been living in the country that was making him cry. It was killing him with its silence and loneliness, making everything ordinary too beautiful to bear.”


How amazing is that? I've actually developed a crush on Ken Cosgrove because of it. I know, I know, he didn't write it- but even his recitation of it was beautiful and it has won me over. Especially they way he says 'They were phrases' at the start of the story and 'ordinary' towards the end.

Okay enough.

Lets hope we see Betty next week, I really wonder if she's become thinner.


  1. I really enjoyed your take on the episode. I actually found your blog when I searched for "man with the mineature orchestra". In my opinion, it's one of the best MM episodes to date. Beautiful poetic and masterfully done.

    What did you think of the latest LSD trip? I also enjoyed the symbolism of this episode. Two old guys trying to relate to their younger, vibrant women and it's just not working. As of late, the show seems to be focusing on these strong, wealthy businessmen who have it all while bringing their weaknesses to light. Great contrast.

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    2. Thanks for the comment! Welcome to my blog and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. This week’s episode was trippy, and not just the lsd. It was like one shock after another. I really enjoyed it; I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! And you’re right, Pete, Don and Roger all seem to have it all and yet things are not how they seem to be. I’m not sure about Don just yet, but with Roger and Pete both, you can feel the void that they have been experiencing in their lives/marriages; and it makes e wonder if it’s the profession/the times/ or just life.
      Anyway, I wrote about this week’s episode on my blog today, check it out :