The first episode of the final season for AMC's Mad Men airs this Sunday (finally!) and we all know what that means: more Peggy Olson. Now, some folks are calling her "the new Don Draper," and while that's all fine and good, we're quite content knowing that she's just plain Peggy. Plain, old, copy-writing, ass-kicking, forward-thinking, marijuana-smoking (occasionally), brilliant, amazing, everything-that-Don-Draper-could-never-be Peggy Olson. And the actor who portrays her, Elisabeth Moss, is just as awesome for that matter. Here are seven times (of many) when Peggy Olson — the only employee at Sterling Cooper & Partners who can legitimately work and drink at the same time — totally stole the show.
Basket of Genius
When Peggy hit Freddy Rumsen with the "basket of kisses" line that went on to become the Belles Jolie ad, we knew she was something special. She stood out in a room full of women trying on lipstick because — like the men behind the glass — she was more interested in observing than anything else (you can see this at the 4:02 mark). Unlike the men, though, she was attentive to nearly every detail of the experience. As a result, she was able to come up with the brilliant copy that would mark the beginning of her career.
Bye Bye Peggy
We all remember the episode that opened with the clip of Ann-Margret belting out Bye Bye Birdie. But just as memorable was the moment when Peggy — a solitary girl in her dark apartment — sang the song in her mirror while no one listened.
Peggy Olson Meets Mary Jane
She knows who she is, and knows what she wants. "I'm Peggy Olsen. And I want to smoke some marijuana." This is still one of the most important lines of the series. Not because marijuana was so important (although it does function as this strange sort of guest character), but because it was one of the first times when she firmly asserted herself. It was the beginning of a new era of Peggy who wasn't just going to speak up about "brassieres and body odor and make-up."
The Nudist Experiment
"I can work like this. Let's get liberated." Another hugely important line in Mad Men history. When Peggy stripped down in front of Stan Rizzo and totally called his bluff, it was nothing short of epic. After hours of babbling about wanting to be free and nude, he couldn't handle a little Peggy O sans threads. And let's face it, neither can we. You can see a clip from the scene at the 2:45 mark of this video.
Truthfully, Joan and Peggy are a perfect team here, but it is important to note that this is a rare moment when someone calls the incomparable Joan Holloway on her "bulls**t" and even Joan can't argue back. She, like Peggy, is guilty of loving her job way too much.
That Moment We Realized What Peggy Olson Really Means to Don
If this doesn't bring tears to your eyes than you are either a) someone who has never watched Mad Men and has no understanding of the significance of Peggy quitting, or b) a humanoid robot, devoid of feeling and emotion.
Every Moment Compiled in This Montage
Even when she was apologizing all over the place and super-mousy, you couldn't help but want to know more about her. And when she yelled at her secretary for more coffee? Man, we love everything you do, Peggy.
Sidenote: Nobody has seen fit to make a video or GIF of the moment from the Season 6 finale, when Peggy walked in wearing that teeny, tiny black dress with the pink bow. And Chanel No. 5. Obviously. This needs to be remedied as soon as possible.
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.