Peggy sticks it to her man
Filed under “things we can’t believe haven’t been GIF’ed into oblivion yet.” This week’s Mad Men water-cooler moment wasn’t the return of Thin Betty or Roger’s failed attempts to be a (grand)father, but Peggy Olson’s accidental stabbing of her increasingly radical journalist boyfriend Abe. Besides providing one of the more tragicomic visuals of Mad Men‘s six-season run, the incident also resulted in one of the more memorable breakup lines in television. Worse yet, after being told she’s “offensive” to Abe’s “every waking moment” in the back of an ambulance, Peggy doesn’t find much comfort in her infatuated boss Ted, who’s apparently decided to deal with his feelings by repressing them behind a cheerful wall of professionalism. So much for having it all; Peggy’s now short both a boyfriend and a satisfying work life.
Arrested Development’s fourth season really likes ostriches
After seven long years, Netflix unveiled a full 15 episodes of Bluth family dysfunction this Sunday, enabling binge-watchers and destroying productivity everywhere. There were plenty of old running gags (Bob Loblaw, Gene Parmesan, and Forget-Me-Nows, to name a few), but Season 4 also had plenty of internal jokes all to itself. Most notable was its bizarre occupation with the ostrich: Michael’s Google Earth survey car is affectionately known as “the ostrich”; Shuturmurg, India translates as “ostrich;” Shaman Sheman was initially credited as “Rich Aliaandanost,” or “Alia [Shakwat] and an ostrich.” Actual ostriches also got their turn in the spotlight; in Lindsay’s episode alone, one wanders into her hotel lobby, while another gives her a rude awakening shortly before she meets her new boyfriend’s ostrich-farmer mom. Maybe it’s a metaphor for various Bluths sticking their head in the sand, or maybe Hurwitz just really likes ostriches.
Arrested Development‘s fourth season also really likes celebrity cameos
AD already had a solid track record with celebrity guests — Liza freaking Minnelli plays a recurring character, for God’s sake — before it spent half a decade off the air building up a cult following among both viewers and a host of actors willing to pitch in for Season 4. In the first episode alone, Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen play young versions of Lucille and George Bluth, with Wiig giving a particularly excellent performance, complete with spot-on parodies of Jessica Walter’s facial expressions. Then all three Workaholics boys show up as airline workers, Ed Helms plays a predatory real estate agent, and Ben Stiller returns as Tony Wonder, G.O.B.’s role model and (spoiler alert!) love interest. Arrested Development is a strong enough show to stand on its own, but the guest stars sure don’t hurt.
Behind the Candelabra rings in Soderbergh’s retirement
It’s by no means a universal hit around here, but from its vintage HBO logo forward, I was totally enraptured by Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. It’s a peculiar animal, mixing extravagant design and an over-the-top (yet believable) Michael Douglas performance with the naturalism of Soderbergh’s pacing and style. The duality of that approach allows the picture to lean in on the camp while still taking the relationship at the its center with the proper degree of seriousness — the fights, the bumps, and the jealousy are played (for lack of a better word) straight. Soderbergh, ever the anthropologist, approaches the story with a fascination that is infectious, and the fantasia of its closing scene is perfection. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor
Hannibal‘s Will Graham isn’t (totally) insane
Throughout Hannibal‘s remarkably strong first season, it’s been easy to chalk up its protagonist’s peculiarities to his strange “empathy disorder,” which allows him to mind-meld with all kinds of creepy killers. This week, we found out that Will Graham’s hallucinations and three-hour blackouts aren’t a result of grisly crime scenes pushing his fragile mind over the edge. Will actually suffers from encephalitis, known to laypeople as a nasty case of inflamed brain. Unfortunately, before his neurologist could actually tell him anything, Hannibal murdered his former co-resident in cold blood before pawning it off on this week’s latest murderer on the loose. It’s not clear what the title character plans to accomplish by keeping Will in the dark, but it’s still a relief to know our hero’s not totally off the deep end.