Author

Brian Moylan
After getting his master's degree in poetry, Senior Writer Brian Moylan started writing about television and pop culture for Gawker, The Guardian, The Washington Blade and a few other reputable publications. Brian has an honorary PhD in “Jersey Shore” studies from the University of Chicago. He's shared his often hilarious views about the tube on VH1, MSNBC, TV Guide Channel, MTV (Canada), BBC radio, and NPR. He can usually be found at his apartment in New York yelling at the TV and dodging calls from Real Housewives. He is a Taurus and likes long walks on the beach, fried chicken, and almost every reality television program ever created (especially “The Swan”).
  • Behold! The First Shirtless Superman Picture from 'Man of Steel'
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 17, 2013
    When word came out that Superman was getting a reboot thanks to director Zack Snyder, everyone wondered who the villains would be, who would play Lois Lane, and what would the costume look like. Screw the costume! All of us who worship Zack Snyder for creating 300, which won an imaginary award I just created for Best Movie Featuring a Cast of Incredibly-Buff, Mostly-Naked Men in Homoerotic Situations, were only wondering one thing: what will Superman look like without the costume. Now we know. Henry Cavill, no stranger to baring his torso in The Immortals and The Tudors, looks really damn good in Man of Steel. With a full beard and ample chest hair he looks, dare I say it, almost Wolverine-ish! Let's hope this isn't his only shirtless scene though. After all, some of us are going to need a reason to see this movie that has nothing to do with the villains, Lois Lane, or his red cape.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: New 'Man of Steel' Trailer Full of Big Questions, Bigger ExplosionsOur Superman Wish List for Henry CavillHow to See All the Avengers Shirtless From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'Breaking Bad' Final Season Gets August 11 Premiere Date, 'Talking Bad' After Show
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 17, 2013
      We've been waiting for the better part of a year to see how things finally work out for Walter White as Breaking Bad draws to a close, and now know we only have to wait until Aug. 11 at 9 PM. AMC announced the premiere date today at their upfront meeting, where the network shows off their upcoming shows in the hopes that tons of advertisers are going to want to sell their soda pop and tires and cheap clothing during the commercial breaks.  AMC also announced the show will get a wrap-up talk show that will air after each episode. Talking Bad will be in the same mold as The Talking Dead, the Chris Hardwick-hosted show that airs after blockbuster The Walking Dead (and often beats network shows in the ratings). The 30-minute Talking Bad will air at 11 PM, after new episodes of Low Winter Sun, AMC's new crime drama that also premieres Aug. 11.  In other announcements, Talking Dead got renewed for a third season, as did Comic Book Men, AMC's show about Kevin Smith's nerd patrol. Freak Show — about, well, a freak show in California, will also be back for another season.  The network also put a bunch of new shows in development, nearly all of them set in the future or the past. The best bet seems to be Ballistic City, which is about a cop on a giant space ship. Think Blade Runner-meets-Battlestar Galactica. There's also King, about a corrupt politician in the '60s; Ashland, about a family dealing with the Red Scare in the '50s; White City, a drama following diplomats in Afghaniston;  Untitled Dahvi Waller Project — from a Mad Men writer — a yarn about two brothers in the auto industry in the '20s in New York and their lovely ladies, and finally The Wall, where a businessman gets caught up in the spy game between East and West Germany.  On the reality side of things, Chris Hardwick is bringing us the self-explanatory All-Star Celebrity Bowling. Majority Rules looks at the American democratic process from the local to national level. Finally, there is the genius Cancelled, in which eight family's homes are equipped with cameras and they compete for "ratings" to try to be the one most deserving of their own reality show. I thought I was excited for Walter White, but this really seems like a game-changer.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Walt Jr. from 'Breaking Bad' Did a Weird, Sexy Photo Shoot'Breaking Bad' Saul Spin-Off: Best Idea or Worst Idea?'Breaking Bad': What Are Walt and Jesse Up To? From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • Looks Like 'The Cleveland Show' Is Getting Canceled
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 17, 2013
      No one wants to cancel a TV show anymore. It's like you have to divine a whole bunch of signs and then read the future and the network won't confirm it until it is long off the air. Well, if you look at all the signals we're getting from Fox about the fate of the low-rated The Cleveland Show, it looks like the show isn't going to be back this spring.  Most damningly, the website Cartoon Brew reports that it is canceled. Fox won't confirm whether or not it is coming back, but that's standard issue for network PR departments these days (hoping that if they won't confirm it no one will report that it's gone). However all the other Sunday night comedies like The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and even Bob's Burgers have already been renewed. That doesn't leave much room for Seth MacFarlane's bastard child (especially considering it takes far longer to get animated shows on the air than traditional scripted fare).  So, sadly, it looks like The Cleveland Show is going to that great cartoon graveyard in the sky. Either that or Fox is just going to give it new zombie life in a season or two after it becomes a hit on cable and DVD. Hey, it worked with Family Guy! Maybe that's why they're so scared to use the word "cancel."  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Fox Orders More 'Bobs Burgers''The Simpsons' Renewed for Two More SeasonsKrysten Ritter on 'The Cleveland Show' From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • Indie Cringe-Meister Neil LaBute Is Bringing a Show to TV
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 17, 2013
    Remember when getting a TV deal was about, you know, just being on TV? Someone would get a show on a network or maybe HBO. Maybe. But now everyone is signing with Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or SomeWebsiteYouNeverHeardOf.com or DirecTV. Thats' where Neil LaBute is headed. LaBute, the man who has horrified audiences with his brutally honest, seemingly misogynistic movies In the Company of Men and The Shape of Things, and DirecTV announced today that he was making a show exclusively for the satellite distributor.  His show is called Full Circle and is about 11 different people describing their lives with no idea that they are all interrelated. It sounds like it could be interesting, as long as its not all about the mundane cruelty we unleash on each other, but it probably will be. The show will have, according to the press release,  “an unconventional structure and a revolving cast of characters.” Interesting. Of course this is not DirecTV's first foray into original programming. They rescued beloved but low-rated series Friday Night Lights and Damages, but both of those were later aired on other more conventional platforms. With all the new ways to get television content to viewers (download, streaming, borrowing your brother's HBO GO log in) just how DirecTV will get this TV Direc to the audience.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: A Farewell to 'Friday Night Lights'DirecTV Restores MTV, Comedy Central, and 15 Other ChannelsDirecTV Sales Down Dish TV Sales Up From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • The Craziest Show Coming to TV Is Pirate Drama 'Black Sails'
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 17, 2013
    Do you want to watch a show about pirates? Of course you do! Well, are you ready for Black Sails, the new pirate show executive produced by Transformers auteur (I use that ironically) and mindless explosion masestro Michael Bay? Oh, I think you are. This isn't just a pirate show, this is a pirate show with shirtless dudes, lesbian sex, floppy hat wearing ladies, bloody fights, beautiful locations, elaborate action scenes, and, of course mindless explosions (when all they had was gunpowder). Right now all we have is the trailer, which is below, but the thing starts in earnest on Starz (no more exclamation point, sadly) in 2014. Consider me timbers shivered.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Black Sails' Casting News'Transformers' Director Working on 'Treasure Island' PrequelMichael Bay Tells 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' to Chill Out From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • 'Walking Dead' Actor Cast in 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' Officially the Nerdiest Movie of All Time
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 16, 2013
      Want to do a simple test to see which of your friends are gigantic nerds? Post this sentence on your Facebook feed. "Michael Rooker is going to play Yondu!" Everyone who likes it is a Big Bang Theory-loving, Comic Con attending, Ain't It Cool News commenter account-having dork.  See, only those obsessed with the sort of pop culture a certain subset of the world is into would know that Michael Rooker was recently dispatched from his role as vile one-handed zombie killer Merle on The Walking Dead and that Yondu is one of the characters in Marvel's upcoming movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Now that I broke it down, that all makes much more sense,  don't you think? Though it is a huge show and a big-studio movie it still doesn't really resonate though. That's what's kind of crazy about Guardians of the Galaxy. It is the nerdiest, most niche project in the whole world. Consider this sentence from Dateline's casting announcement. "[Rooker] will play Yondu, who in Marvel lore was a game hunter of a primitive tribe native to Centauri IV, the first planet system to be colonized outside of the Sun’s solar system." What? Is that even English? I've read the past three iterations of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book and I don't even know what that means. Yondu, however, is a really cool character. Smart and powerful, he has a giant red mohawk and is an archer. Of course. Everything has an archer in it these days. Thanks, Katniss. There's even one on Walking Dead. But does Merle's brother Daryl have arrows that return to him when he whistles? Of course not! See, I know that and I am a class-A nerd. But what about everyone else out there in the movie-buying public? Do they want to go to see a blockbuster writen by a funny superfan based on an obscure comic starring a second-string player on a low-rated cable comedy (Chris Pratt), a WWE wrestler (Dave Bautista), and (possibly) the woman from the new Star Trek movies (Zoe Saldana)? Everything is so hyper specific to certain mass consumers of culture that it doesn't seem like it would translate to mass success. Unless Marvel is pulling the most genius move ever and every fandom (comic geeks, Parks & Recreation comedy snobs, Trekkers, Walking Dead heads, whatever WWE fans call themselves) will have a reason to show up and this thing will make $176 billion dollars. Maybe going after every single nerd in their individual fiefdom means you attract everyone on the planet. Going geeky is the new mass audience! Get into it.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Nabs Funny WriterChris Pratt to Star in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'Zoe Saldana in Talks for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Meet Lydia McLaughlin, Your New Favorite Bird Monster
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 16, 2013
    And then it started with a crackling sound, like someone turning a socket wrench or back pedaling a bicycle. A woman with her hand crooked into her underarm and flapping, like some sort of clockword bird that was going on the fritz. She made this sound, over and over, like a duck quacking with a lisp. It was as if her neck was going to start rising out of her body, turning her into some fleshy giraffe, like Mech-a-Neck, the coolest of all He-Man toys. But no, that did not happen. It was just a noise, it was just a gesture. It was all of Lydia Stirling McLaughlin boiled down into one goofy pose. Yes, this is the newest cannon fodder for the Real Civil War Enactments of Bull Run Massacre State Park. This is Lydia. She comes to us by way of Heather Dubrow's friend Casey, who wants Lydia, the owner and "managing editor" of Beverly Hills Lifestyle magazine, to photograph Heather's house. Lydia lets us know, several times, that her family is very wealthy. Just how wealthy? Well, pretty loaded. She is the granddaughter of Canadian media magnate Geoff Stirling, so that's doing pretty well for herself. Well, that's doing pretty well for granddad's money. She also owns this "magazine" and a marketing firm and an art gallery. You know, rich people businesses. OH, and she has a line of luxury jewelry for dogs which is sort of like three rich people jobs combined into one. She also has a brother named Geoff Stirling Jr who was an Abercrombie model so be sure to click on that link when you're alone and in a position to unbutton your fly. Lydia is rich and so is her husband Doug (but Googling Doug McLaughlin is sort of like trying to find a Yelp article for a restaurant called "Place," so I have no dirt on him). Lydia also must like abs because, damn, her husband is seriously hot. And he knows it! Doug is some sort of graphic designer or something, and he designs her "magazine." The first thing he does when the cameras are in their house is take off his shirt and do pull-ups in the closet door. Yes, Doug is in the closet door. Just standing there, right in the closet...door...chiseling his man body and thinking about what hair product he should use when starring on a Real Housewives franchise. Lydia and Doug have two sons — one named Stirling, which I was going to totally pick on before I found out it was her maiden name — and one named Maverick. Oh, I am going to pick on that. I am going to pick on that so hard. You know why? I think it comes from Sarah Palin! Their son is 3, so the time frame fits. Yes, these two are all Jesus-y and they live in the OC and are rich, so they're probably Republicans and they heard Baked Alaska Crazy Pants go on and on about being a "maverick" and, at some point, she thought to herself, "Wow, that would be a really good name for my son. He will have all the wonderful qualities of Sarah Palin." Then she turned to her husband, her hand caressing her pregnant belly as she lay on the couch watching Fox News and her husband did gravity boot sit ups hanging upside-down, like Richard Gere in American Gigolo, and she proposed the idea and he said, "Sure...sssss....honey....sssss....whatever....sssss....you.....sssss....want," in between reps. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how China wiped us off the face of the earth. Lydia is also friends with Alexis Couture since they were the only young mothers in Dana Point (which is, funny enough, the name of the girl I lost my virginity to) who loved God and His Only Son Our Lord and Savior Jim Bellino, so they bonded, but they're not really friends anymore. We're first introduced to Lydia when she comes over to Heather's house. I'm sure she's meant to be an ally for Alexis because otherwise no one would film with Alexis, but why would Lydia want to be introduced by Alexis?  Because then everyone with eyes and a Christian upbringing would hate her. She goes to Heather's house to talk about being in Beverly hills Lifestyle magazine. OK, I'm sorry, Beverly Hills Lifestyle is neither headquartered in nor about Beverly Hills. It is about the spirit of being in Beverly Hills all over the world. OK, sure. Now, I guess that people outside of the five boroughs can subscribe to the New Yorker so maybe it's the same with Joyce Leslies Lifestyle? Maybe. No, I'm sorry. It's not the same. I think it's one of those free magazines that you find all dog-earned in the back of a town car you take to the airport because everyone who rides in it takes it out and goes "What the fresh hell is this stupid collection of pages?" We've actually seen a shoot from the magazine before, when Brandi on Beverly Hills was doing that modeling shoot when Lisa picked her up on the way to Ojai. That shoot was for Beverly Clearly Literary Lifestyle magazine. Sigh, hand swat, annnnnnyyyy-way, Lydia wants Heather and Terry's giant granite quarry that they turned into a living space to be in the magazine. Heather is like, "Well, it only makes sense if I'm on the cover." Oh god. Of course Heather thinks that, and of course Terry thinks that, but really, what is the difference between being in the magazine and being on it? If you're on the cover, there is no way you can hide it. You're there, forever. You're stuck. That's sort of like saying, "I'll only be arrested if I'm on trial for murder." These are not the bargains you make.  I have to say, I'm not really keen on the Heather Dubrow of this season. Last year she was the wonderful, blunt, smart, reasonable one with the really cool kids and great husband who you wanted to be friends with. She was struggling between being a suburbanite and trying to resurrect her acting career. This season she seems to have given up all aspirations outside of the home, and she's the whiny henpecker with a no-good husband that she is always bickering with. I don't like this Heather. This is Faded Dreams Heather, who surrendered herself to being a mom and is bitter because of it. I don't want to be friends with her, I want to introduce her to Betty Draper so that I can line them up and play a game of William Tell. I would, hopefully, lose. Speaking of people I would like to accidentally shoot in the face while aiming for an apple...Oh, hi Vicki! It's time to talk about you. Ugh, Vicki and Brooks. We have to have this fight again. Yes, we're still going around in the same old shame circle with Vicki who is in love with Brooks but no one likes him so she can't have him around even though she sneaks off into the bathroom to send him Snap Chats of her Brazilian wax all the time. So Brianna hates Brooks – and with good reason, he's a total grifter. Everyone can see that but Vicki. Brianna is living with Vicki and paying rent, and says that she doesn't want Brooks or anyone that Vicki is dating around the house or around her son. OK, I love Brianna. I think she is the best thing about this show and the only real person on it. I also think that she should be a full-fledged Housemonster along with the other women and get to go on all the trips and have all the attendant benefits and pay of being a full-time staffer of Andy Cohen's Demon Camp. I think she would be one of the best Housewives and she's been on the show longer than anyone in any of the cities, so she's earned it. That said, I don't know that she's right in her argument to Vicki. Now, if she was like "I don't want Brooks around because he is an awful scammer," then fine. I get that. We all get that. Everyone wants him to go and die of some brain-eating parasite in some little corner of the bayou somewhere and never be heard from again. But if it's anyone that Vicki is dating that she doesn't want around, that's bad. I know she's paying rent, but come on. What does she expect of her mother? Celibacy until she moves out? That's crazy. And if Brianna didn't make dating other men so hard, maybe that would help move Brooks out of the picture. I'm sure that this rule is targeted at Brooks specifically, but Brianna turns it to men in general so that she doesn't seem like she's piling the hate on this con man. But still, it seems crazy. As for Vicki, she needs to give up on Brooks — but she seems not so much in love, just addicted. It's like he's some sort of heroin. Vicki can't be happy without it, her involvement with it is having bad effects on her relationships with her friends and family, she's sneaking around to get fixes of it because everyone knows its wrong, and she gets all horrible and moody and defensive when she hasn't gotten it in awhile. As Grace Jones says, "Love is a drug," and it's got Vicki grabbed tight by her weave. I mean, seriously, everyone hates this guy and he is ruining all her relationships. What is it going to take for her to give him up?  This argument isn't about Brooks at all though. No, this is about Vicki and her unabiding narcissism. That is the real thing she is addicted to, thinking about herself and drawing everyone into that netted black swarm that orbits around her. It all came out at the forgiveness dinner with Tamra. What is amazing is that these two Gila monsters sit down for grilled fish ("Hold the potatoes!") and somehow Vicki ends up looking worse. She's trying to make up with this woman, but she says things that are completely awful. "I know you were hurt, but I was really hurt. Our friendship failed and it's not my fault." That is a direct quote. That is not Brian Moylan being lazy and paraphrasing from memory. I wrote those words down on a piece of paper because they needed to be witnessed. "I know you were hurt, but I was really hurt," Vicki Gunvalson said on this day, April 15, in the two thousand and thirteenth year of Our Lord Jim Bellino's Grapefruit. Yes, her hurt is always greater. Her hurt is always worse. Things do not transpire, they are done to her. Objectively, we know this to be false. No one's hurt can be worse than another person's hurt. We all feel our hurts the same way. Everyone's hurt is the same. That was the original title of the REM song, but it didn't really fit with the melody. Also, the reason the friendship failed is because Tamra tried to tell Vicki the truth about her con man boyfriend and Vicki wouldn't listen. Yes, Tamra probably got all drunk and flew off into a rage and said awful things, but if Vicki had only listened to her friend, she wouldn't have gotten there to begin with. So, yes, it is Vicki's fault. It's all Vicki's fault but in order to keep drawing breaths she needs to think of herself as blameless.  When dinner was over, and they clinked their wine glasses to forgiveness, Vicki and Tamra finished up their salmon in the stilted comfort of small talk and gossip until it was time to go. Vicki got into her car and drove home, the whole way home winding through the darness and thinking about it all. Vicki has had so much change in her life lately. There's her cryogenically frozen relationship with Brooks, her daughter moving home with the baby, and Tamra casting spells on her and then disolving them by burning some sage and pulling the hair balls and evil talismans she planted in Vicki's house. She was still thinking about it when she opened the door to the house, her keys jangling in the lock. She walked in and kicked something that was sitting on a drop cloth in the foyer. "Shit," she muttered more out of surprise than exaspiration. The construction. Just one more thing. The whole house was being rebuilt from the ground up and Vicki couldn't stand it anymore. She looked around the foyer and she hated the painting. It seemed all horrible and uneven to her. No one cares, she though. No one cares about her home like she does and, once again, she'd have to do everything herself. She went into the next room and threw down her bag and keys on a couch covered in a sheet and threw her blazer on top of it. She went back into the foyer and opened a can of paint and poured it into the tray laying on the floor that she kicked when she walked in. She got the roller out and coated it in the eggshell coating and put it up on the wall, going back and forth frantically, in large W's like she learned on HGTV. This was the right way to do it. This was the way to fix things. She was going to make it all perfect, smoothing over her lines twice so that the walls would be just how she wanted them. She worked faster and faster, panting and wiping the sweat from her brow as the large swatches of shiny wet paint grew and grew. "Mom," she suddenly heard behind her. It was Brianna in pajama pants and a tank top. She was crossing her arms and pulling a hoodie over her breasts in opposite directions. "What are you doing?" "Hi, honey," Vicki said. "I'm just going to finish this wall. I'm so sick of being under construction. These contractors don't know what they're doing. It's like I'm the only one who has ever painted a wall. I'm just..." "Mom, it's almost midnight," Brianna says. "Everyone is already asleep. And you really need to get some rest." Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: There's a Problem with Vicki's Face'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Must Be the Season of the Bitch'Real Houewives of Beverly Hills' Reunion: Who Won This Season? From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • How 'Wonder Woman' Saved Feminism — Or Is It the Other Way Around?
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 15, 2013
    The biggest problem with the way women are depicted in comic books isn't that the girls are often shown as damsels in distress or the waifish counterparts to muscular super heroes, but that there aren't many female superheroes on their own. As far as the iconic ladies go, there's just one: Wonder Woman. And while she's not nearly enough, she's been an inspiration for generations of feminists.  Tonight's episode of PBS' Independent Lens features director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. There aren't many movie, TV, or comic book heroes mentioned other than dark-haired Diana of Themyscira, but we do learn a lot about the powerful women who fought for gender equality. Guevara-Flanangan doesn't just chart the Amazonian powerhouse's creation (by a man, surprisingly) in the the '40s, the Golden Age of the comic book, but shows her evolution.  When William Moulton Marston dreamt up Wonder Woman in 1941, she was meant to be an example of a powerful female and a role model that would eventually lead to society recreating itself into a matriarchy. His plan didn't necessarily come to pass. Instead, after WWII, Wonder Woman was stripped of her power in the comic books and turned into a woman more concerned with fashion and romance than she was with saving the day. Feminists such as Gloria Steinham and riot grrrrl Kathleen Hannah talk about how women need positive role models like Wonder Woman so that they can imagine themselves in power, which then leads to even greater power.  It's this human element that makes the documentary exciting, as Guevara-Flanagan shows how this fictional creation has influenced not just the course of history and pop culture, but individuals. They find strenth in her search for justice, her ability to deflect danger, and her ability to get to the truth — the ultimate weapon. Hard core comic fans might be a bit disappointed that the hour doesn't delve more into why there hasn't been a Wonder Woman movie yet and the difficulties that producers have had trying to bring her to the screen, but otherwise this is great for everything from the enthusiast to the Wonder Woman novice.  All in all, this is a unique way to look at the evolution of the character and of feminism as a movement as tied to a single icon. If anything tune in to see Lynda Carter explain the origin of the famous Wonder Woman spin, but what you'll really remember is an 8-year-old fan talking about how this lady, who isn't even real, changed her life for the better.  Wonder Women! airs Monday, April 15, on PBS. Check local listings or visit here.  Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Why We Need Wonder WomanThe Problem with Casting Wonder Woman: She's Too Damn TallBeyonce As Wonder Woman?
  • 'Mad Men' Recap: Don Draper Is a Whore
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 15, 2013
    We are only two episodes into the season and, wow, it sure isn't anything approaching subtle. Even a blind deer wandering around a forest could tell that the season premiere was about death and last night's episode, well, it was about whores. If that wasn't enough, we even got some flashbacks at the beginning and end of the episode of 10-year-old Dick Whitman watching his pregnant stepmother have sex with a man for money. Talk about a subtle clue. And this episode was directed by Jon Hamm, so we know who to blame. (Oh, and speaking of lack of subtle, the Vietnam conflict was playing in the background the whole episode, if you didn't catch that. Yeah, I did too.) Yes, the scenes were of Dick's father's second wife Abigail arriving at his Uncle Mac's whorehouse (Don mentioned Uncle Mac before and said he was nice, but never explicitly mentioned his house of ill repute). I assume Dick is supposed to be about 10 years old since his half brother Adam, who is now dead, is 10 years younger than him and Abigail is pregnant with him when they arrive. It would make sense that these scenes of Abigail and Dick moving into the whorehouse happened shortly after Dick's father died by being kicked in the head by a horse, but the actor who played Dick (aside from sporting the worst haircut not seen on Ke$ha) looked closer to 14 than 10.  Of course, Dick's mother was a prostitute who died in child birth and so it appears that all of Dick's earliest dealings with women were with those of the oldest profession. We know that Don is no stranger to paying for some strange either (remember in Season 4 when he was regularly paying for an S&M hooker?) but this is the first time he's so explicitly paid one of his mistresses like he paid his neighbor Sylvia. Well, he did give Midge a $2,500 check once. Does that count? Guess it does.  Though he claimed at the end of last week's episode that he didn't want to "do this anymore" with Sylvia, he's already returning to her at the beginning of the episode. He runs into Arnold and Sylvia fighting about money in the hallway (for a New Yorker, Don sure does run into his neighbors a lot) and when Don sees something that he can exploit in her he goes for it. It also has more to do with Arnold than it does with Sylvia. Don sees this smart, talented, righteous man and wants to take what is his as if spoiling that man's magic will somehow transfer that power onto himself. Before Don leaves, he gives Sylvia some cash for whatever she wants. He's paying for it, just like old times. Not just the transactional sexual relationship, but how the man treats the woman after it's done is the other concern of this episode. Don treats Sylvia with respect, but he is not the kindest (perhaps that is his mommy complex speaking). Pete treats his hooker with nothing but contempt as soon as they're done sleeping together and Herb, the sleazy Jaguar salesman who Joan slept with so the firm could get his business and so she could get a percentage of the company, treats Joan like she's his possession, like a chew toy that he now owns because he's slobbered all over it. Joan goes from their confrontation into Don's office and pours herself a drink. She was always a reluctant prostitute, but she did it so she'd never have to be beholden to a man ever again. As Don watches her swallow her regret with a mid-afternoon vodka in his office it's clear to him – and to the audience – that he has become Uncle Mac. He's running a brothel all of his own. Don is not only the madam but also one of the whores, and we saw this last episode where he was willing to do anything just to keep the Hawaiian hotel from walking out the door without spending their money. This time around he's more reluctant when he sees the way that Herb treats Joan. He hates himself for selling her, for becoming what Dick Whitman was always destined to be, a whoremonger like his Uncle. When Herb wants to pull back on national advertisements for Jaguar so that he can sell more cars and insists that the SCDP team to do the selling for him, Don initially agrees, but then changes coarse at the meeting. He nominally going along with the plan, but does everything he could to torpedo the idea with the big brass. He's not going to sell out to this guy again. Later Don says, "So we're just going to keep saying yes no matter what because we couldn't say no to begin with?" This not only applies to their relationship with Jaguar, but Don's relationship with Sylvia. He wants to fight his impulse and stop saying yes to having sex with her, but he can't stop. Later, when Don and Sylvia are alone at dinner, there is a strange transference that occurs. Sylvia is the one who wants to stop and now Don is the one who has to sell it to her. He's selling her an idea of love; he's telling her that he thinks about her all the time and she can't fight it because he knows she wants it to. Don is not only the saddest cliche of all, the guy at the strip club who thinks that the girls actually like him and are in love with him, but he's also selling her on the fantasy. He's selling himself on it, too. He's creating a reason to keep saying yes just as he's buying her continued compliance in the realtionship with this specter of something more (something we all know he's not able to actually deliver). Don has gone from being the John to being the whore. If this wasn't telegraphed enough, as he slumps down in the hallway at the end of the episode "Just a Gigolo" plays over the credits. Thanks, guys. We figured this one out on our own. The interesting thing about Megan so far this season is that we only see her through someone else's perspective. Even when she is firing the maid in the laundry room, we see he only because Sylvia is looking on. Megan isn't really her own person anymore, just a character that other people react to — in stark contract to last season, as Don and the audience were getting to know her, where she had some agency of her own. She has a dramatic arc about her miscarriage, but we don't see it through her eyes, only when she's telling other people about it. That most likely speaks to Megan's lack of prominence in Don's life. Yes, Megan had a miscarriage and didn't tell Don about it. And if she was six weeks along, as she said, it means she had a pregnancy that she knew about and didn't tell Don about either. She says she's not sure if she wanted to have a baby or not, that they had never even discussed it and she doesn't think it's the right time. What seemed to be making Megan sad was not the miscarriage so much as not feeling bad about it. She was happy when she didn't have to choose between being a wife and mother and having a profession. Megan always wanted to be something more than a housewife but she's sold herself to Don in that role and now she can't seem to get out of it. Ironically, it also seems like the role she's better suited for. We see this in her problem with the maid, too. Megan doesn't want to deal with any domestic duties, which is why she has a maid in the first place, but when the maid can't do them she is in charge of firing her and doing the cleaning herself. The other interesting thing is, when Megan, usually a dynamo of emotion, finally tells Don about the miscarriage she tells him that she didn't know what to do because they've never talked about it. Don tells her that he wants what she wants and is ready to talk whenever she does. This, of course, would be the time to have a conversation, but Megan shies away. She is still unsure of what she wants to do with herself and if she doesn't seal the deal with a child soon, it seems like she's going to be out the door. Don is not only sleeping around again, he is letting his heart get invested. Even if it is only a love that keeps him from thinking he's buying a whore, it's a still love and that is the most dangerous thing of all. At the end of the scene he is comforting Megan and they both are there, not as a unit, but as two people who are using each other to achieve their own ends.  It would seem from the outside that Pete wasn't a whore at all this episode, that he was the one purchasing a neighbor with the promise of adventure and some free tickets to Hair, but you would be mistaken. Pete has been a hooker for a long time, playing up to Trudy for her family's money and her father's business at the ad agency. His father-in-law bought their suburban house (even the pool that everyone wants to skinny dip in) not only figuratively by keeping Pete employed, but quite literally too. Maybe that's what caused Pete to start buying women in the first place. The first time he visited a brothel it was with Don, Lane (RIP), and a fellow from Jaguar. It wasn't the first time he stepped out on Trudy (there was Peggy, the au pair he raped, and Alexis Bledel) but it seems like now he has a bachelor pad where he lures women in with the thought of favors and has sex with them. It's probably that Pete feels so badly about himself for letting Trudy purchase him that he treats these women so shabbily. He's all charm when the woman arrives at his crash pad, but as soon as they're dressing or looking for more, he's shooing them out the door. It's simple transference, if he can make other people feel the way Trudy makes him feel – incompetent, powerless, worthless – then he can feel better about himself. But we all know that Pete's biggest crime wasn't one of infidelity but one of indiscretion. In the brilliant scene where Trudy throws him out of the house, she tells him as much. Like any other John, she doesn't care what happens in their off time, but she doesn't want him rubbing his promiscuity in her face. Sleeping with a neighbor with an abusive husband was bad enough, but having to care for her when she shows up in the middle of the night battered and bloodied is a whole different thing. When she's kicking him out, Trudy, who has always worn the pants in this relationship, treats Pete just like he treated the woman who he slept with. She hurries him out of the house, cussing him out as he hits the curb. Initially he tried to keep Trudy, trying to smooth things over with their battered visitor so she wouldn't find out, which seemed strange considering how miserable living in the suburbs has made him the past couple of seasons. But like any good hooker, he wants to ride the gravy train for as long as he could. Now it's over and he tries to burn it down on the way out, telling Trudy he is everything that makes her life exciting. He might be right, but I have a feeling that Trudy is going to do quite well on her own. What made me so sad about this whole storyline was how expected it was. Of course Pete is sleeping around, of course he's not that discrete about it, of course Trudy finds out, of course she wants a divorce. Of course. Of course, of course, of course, of course. It's Don Draper all over again but in reverse (as powerful as Don is, Pete is equally as weak). This has always been his arc and it seems to have taken all the shock out of his story now that it has finally happened. If he's going to have an affair, can't he get it on with a manic depressive Gilmore Girl like he did last season? We need something to spice it up, and not just Pete, but the other characters as well. We've known for years that Don, Roger, and Pete were on a downward trajectory as Peggy is ascendant and watching that continue to play out seems like old news. Where are the Mad Men surprises we always loved?  The one thing that I find exciting about Pete is Bob Benson. We see him in the Heinz meeting and the Jaguar meeting and no one has quite any idea what he's doing there or what he actually does. All we know is that he is a striver. He is a enthusiastic whore. He's so eager to sell himself to the company that he'll do any sort of scheme or scam to get himself attention. He's not even above going to get Pete Campbell's toilet paper and even paying for it himself (it seems like he comes from a long line of bankers, so he's probably got an extra nickel for some Charmin). Again, Pete is using Bob to make himself feel better. If he can pimp out this young man, that means he's not on the bottom rung socially. What I can't figure out is Bob's place in all of this. How is this eager beaver going to fit into the greater narrative of the story? Even someone like Ginsberg, who seems to be the replacement for Don Draper, has a purpose. But this Bob? What is the point and why has he been more prominent this season than people we know and love, like Harry and (especially) Joan? Oh, Bob, I'm watching you. Peggy had two convergent storylines this week, the first seemed to be about everyone hating her at her new firm. This shouldn't be that strange for Peggy, since she felt like everyone hated her at SCDP as well. But it was a different kind of hate. At her old job, no one respected her because she was a secretary who rose through the ranks. It was like she didn't deserve to be where she was. Now the staff hates her because she's better than them, makes them work hard, and doesn't like anything they do. They hate her the way that everyone hated Don Draper. If Peggy's transformation into Don wasn't complete, she now has a black secretary just like he does, albeit one she encourages to be better and to try to rise about her station. Phyllis, the secretary, tells Peggy to try to give the guys a pep talk and Peggy tries and tells them she doesn't hate their work because they're men, she hates their work because it's bad. But they can do better! It's the world's worst pep talk. They respond by leaving feminine hygiene powder on her desk with a snarky note. Even though she is in charge, her being a woman will always be a way to knock her down and deride her. Of course, her other story line is about how her boss Ted makes her into a reluctant whore. During one of her late night calls with Stan, Peggy finds out about the meeting with Raymond from Heinz baked beans and how he doesn't want Don doing any work for Heinz ketchup (how much do you think they paid to be so prominent again this season?). When she tells Ted this, all he hears is that Heinz is unhappy and he makes Peggy go after the business. She initially refuses, telling Ted that her friendship is worth more than landing an account. But he presses and she gives in. He has purchased her and she has to do whatever he wants, whether she likes it or not. This stands in contrast to how Don handled Heinz. Naturally, Ken Cosgrove wants to go after Ketchup anyway, because that is the big fish. Don's response, appropriate for an evening dedicated to escorts says, "Sometimes you gotta dance with the one that brung you." He's unwilling to sell out of his principles to get ahead. (Also, you see him sticking with Raymond, a man who is on his way out, rather than with his protégé Timmy, who is clearly on the rise. Don is already on the wrong side of history. For the first time, his ordering an Old Fashioned is incredibly ironic.) Peggy, on the other hand, is not. As much as she is like Don, she doesn't yet have the clout or position that he does to do what she thinks is right. For so long she was the little boy staring through a crack in the wall of the whorehouse watching the action. Now that she's found her way inside, she's found that she might not have what it takes to be the corporate whore. Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Mad Men' Premiere Recap: Don Draper Has No Idea Who He IsWhat Is This 'Mad Men' Season 6 Party All About Anyway?'Mad Men' Goes to Hawaii From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)
  • All Time Travel Movies Explained in One Awesome Infographic
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 12, 2013
    There is nothing like time travel in a movie to get your head spinning. Who is going where and what happens when they get to the future and how does that impact the past? It's enough to make your head hurt and nose bleed (that's why they called it "time travel sickness" on Lost). The mysterious Mr. Dalliard made this awesome graphic of the ways that people have traveled through time, what that means for them, and just how they did it. Hopefully this makes the journey through time a little bit easier to swallow:  Click On Image To Expand. Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Why I Hate Time TravelRobert Zemekis Returns to Time TravelJoseph Gordon-Levitt Tries to Explain 'Looper' From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)