The first picture is Ted Beneke with Skylar White in Breaking Bad. The second is Henry Francis with Betty Draper in Mad Men. Seeing Ted on TV again I thought for a second they might be played by the same actor, like AMC was saving money or something. Christopher Cousins plays Ted and Christopher Stanley plays Henry. The fact that they’re both named Christopher is an odd coincidence. They should play twins in a movie.

They are basically the same character — handsome, gray-haired dudes who seduce our straw-haired family matriarchs. Ted doesn’t last as long but that’s because he’s as dumb as a sack of hammers. Don’t feel too bad for Ted because Henry has to deal with this psycho.

Favorite Mad Men Characters

I’m now caught up. I have no idea how Matthew Weiner is going to end the series. The mid season finale is kind of what they do every season. Sterling Cooper is in financial distress, Roger or Don pull out some sort of miracle and everyone ends up happy. How do you end a show like Mad Men? I think it’s fair to say that everybody knew where Breaking Bad was heading, although the execution was extraordinary. 

Anyway here are my 10 favorite characters. 

10. Pete Campbell 

Don’t get me wrong, I hate Pete. He’s a slimy worm, but I love to hate him. He’s off the charts on the punchability scale, which makes it even more awesome when it happens (you’re a grimy little pimp). But he’s not an ass all the time. My favorite storyline with Pete was when he was having the affair with his neighbor from Gilmore Girls in season 5. After her husband finds out about the encounter, she ends up having electroshock therapy, which erases the memory. The scene where he meets her in the hospital is tender, touching and really sad. At one point she asks Pete something along the lines of don’t you understand what this is like about mood swings? He looks back at her all confused. I’m pretty sure Pete is bipolar or worse, which would explain his uneven temperament. 

9. Don Draper 

It’s a bit of a copout to include Don, him being the main character and all but whatever. Usually when people talk about television anti heroes they mention Tony Soprano, Walter White and Don Draper in some order. I don’t think that’s fair because what does Don really do? He’s an alcoholic, sometime jerk to his employees and a persistent womanizer. I don’t think that’s in the same class as watching someone die of a heroin overdose and specifically doing nothing, poisoning a child and setting off a bomb in a nursing home (all Walter White, by the way). 

However, I didn’t dislike Don until season 6. I was like everybody on the show — his good moments and charisma allowed me to overlook his faults. In season 6, he cheats on Megan with the woman from Grandma’s Boy. It’s one thing when he’s cheating on Betty, who is my least favorite character on the show, but quite another when he’s cheating on Megan, who I really like. 

8. Stan Rizzo

He provides consistent comic relief and generally brings the best out of Peggy including the scene where Stan insists they work together naked and Peggy accepts his challenge and he can’t help but get aroused. 

7. Michael Ginsberg

I was already considering this position for Ginzo because of awesome speeches like this one. But when he gave Peggy his recently severed nipple as a token of his love, that put him way over the top. 

6. Lane Pryce

The fight with Pete is probably the second best moment on the show, punctuated with “He had chewing gum in his pubics” and “Consider that my last piece of advice.” Lane also showed off his black, playboy bunny girlfriend to his traditional British father only to get subsequently caned into submission

And then he hangs himself in his office. It’s a horrific end that may foreshadow future events on the show. I often wonder what if Don would have lied for Lane about stealing the money. As he told Lane, Bert doesn’t know anything. Don’s a hall-of-fame liar; I feel like he could have cooked something up. You see what are the actual values of these characters in moments like this. The office doesn’t get fed up with Don until he ruins the pitch for the Hershey account. Stealing money from the company was unforgivable offense in that office. Money is what matters. 

Lane can’t handle the lie. He’s not a mental gymnast like Don or Pete. He does the only thing he feels he can do. Joan was right; he wasn’t like everybody else. 

5. Sally Draper

Sally is probably the character on the show I feel for most. She has literally two of the worst parents ever, which I guess if you’re looking at it from Don’s point of view is better than no parents. On top of that, she is very much like Don as Betty points out — she’s quiet, brooding and strong willed. I’m not going to try to be a prognosticator of future events on this show but there is something tragic headed Sally Draper’s way. 

4. Megan Draper

I saw it. I saw everything that Don saw in her. She was the only secretary who told him she wasn’t going to get emotionally attached after a one-time tryst, “I’m not going to come into your office crying tomorrow.” She was amazing with his kids, something Dr. Miller made sure to point out was not her prerogative. She could be so sexy and so loving. Megan was everything he was looking for. 

But there is a dark side to Megan, something that has been alluded to but not yet explored. Many viewers suspect she will die. 

3. Joan Holloway 

Don: “I was told early on that you were the one person in the office to not cross.” 

Joan is like Calvin Johnson. She was given incredible gifts, not just her hour-glass figure but also her iron will, and she used them to reach the absolute zenith of her potential. She’s a partner and soon to be a millionaire. 

2. Peggy Olson

Peggy is the hero of the show. While Joan works in the context of the system, Peggy has smashed through the lock doors of the industry and kept her dignity intact. This has led to her driving away any potential boyfriends, but such is the price of being a trailblazer.  

Not that she hasn’t been involved in a few ridiculous moments

1. Roger Sterling

Is he a shallow character, yes and I don’t care because he’s the funniest character. Roger taking LSD is the third best moment on the show. If not for Roger Sterling I would have given up on the show. 

Musician Biopics

I like a good Biopic as much as anybody. I saw the Ray Charles and Johnny Cash ones. I’ll probably watch the James Brown one. Currently, these films seem to be relegated to artists from the ’50s/’60s who are now dead. 

That seems like a narrow window to me. How about some people are alive? I must admit these are based on stellar Behind the Musics. 

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers

The band that literally rocked out with their c***s out (don’t worry they had socks over them). I think the dynamic they’ve had with all their guitar players would be interesting enough. The founding guitarist, Hilel Slovak, died of a heroin overdose right as the band was gaining popularity. That means that John Frusciante was the guitarist during the band’s most successful period. Accept he quit the group in a huff when they were touring in Japan. So they hired Dave Navarro for one album. While Navarro was much easier to work with, something just wasn’t right and they ended up going back to Frusciante only to have him break up with them again ignominiously a decade later. See what I mean? 

4. Public Enemy

This is a group featuring one the greatest socially conscious rappers of all time in Chuck D, a guy who later became famous for wearing viking hats and hosting one of the most campy reality shows ever in Flavor Flav and a militant psycho named Professor Griff, who as far as I can tell, had no musical purpose. Then they had to kick Griff out of the group when he said “Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world.” But you could focus the whole thing on how musically revolutionary they were,  which is definitely true. 

3. DMX 

In June 2004, DMX used a light and siren to get a man to exit his vehicle. X informed the gentleman that he was an FBI agent and was commandeering his car. All the while, this at a parking lot at an airport — usually a place with a strong police presence. DMX speeds away and crashes through a gate before being caught. As this article states that is just the first of many public run ins with the law

2. Metallica

Metallica went on tour with Guns ‘N Roses in 1993. This is after GNR caused a riot in my hometown of St. Louis when Axel Rose spiked his mic and unceremoniously exited the stage. At a gig in Montreal, there is some change in pyrotechnics shortly before Metallica is set to go on. James Hetfield, the band’s lead singer, steps in front of one the fire balls at the wrong time and is engulfed in flames. After the flames were extinguished, the band’s bassist described his skin bubbling like the toxic avenger. As Kirk Hammett states, “Guns N Roses could have saved the day by playing a two-hour blistering set. That didn’t happen.” Rose decided to not go on because of throat problems, which then caused a riot. Hammet saw Rose afterwards smoking a cigarette and described him as Nero playing violin as Rome burned. 

1. Courtney Love

Love’s life has been so insane that I think it could be a TV show. 

  • Season 1 is her crazy childhood and everything leading up to her time with Kurt Cobain, including her early movie career and being a stripper in Alaska. 
  • Season 2: the lead up to ending up with Cobain including booted from Faith No More, her early life with Cobain including the media fire storm from the Vanity Fair article and finishing with Cobain’s Suicide. 
  • Season 3: Love deals with the aftermath of Cobain’s death including her reading the suicide note in front of the crowd all the while Hole becomes one of the biggest bands in the World. Of course she can’t handle this and just loses it at a public concert. Love is also fighting for custody of Francis Bean during this time. 
  • Season 4: This would be her rebirth season, all though I would start it with her infamous throwing her compact at Madonna moment. She briefly becomes a hollywood darling with The People Vs. Larry Flint and Celebrity Skin converging. She also claims she almost got the part in Girl Interrupted that launched Angelina Jolie’s career. 
  • Season 5: The incredible spiral out of control she was in during the early 2000s, including having a stranger suck her breast at a Wendy’s and her insane appearance at the Roast of Pam Anderson. She overdoses at least once. I think this would be the final season and the last couple episodes would focus on the relationship with her daughter. 

Rap Recycling

How many different versions of The Message have you heard? I can think of at least two. How many different versions are there of I Got Five On It? Again, I can think of two and I think Nas sampled it for If I Ruled the World.

My point is, rap recycling used to be a common occurrence. I think producers get paid too much these days to rip stuff off. However, in the words of Lil Wayne, I think there are some beats out there due for a second opinion. 

5. Mobb Deep, Shook Ones 

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This beat is a classic and it’s not like Mobb Deep did a bad job but they are basically one hit wonders. I think that’s of the reasons why this was a perfect beat for all the rap battles in 8 Mile, actually I would love to hear Eminem work this — it would be a bit of a departure for him (Also I love that Anthony Mackie was the rap villain in that movie).

4. Pitch Black, It’s All Real 

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Great unheralded beat from DJ Premier. This would be another good one for an older rapper like Nas or Jay Z. 

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3. Nelly, Pimp Juice

I have to admit that I like this song a lot. The chorus works and I love his line: “you’re in a hurry - SLOW DOWN - I don’t like how you actin
Treat you like you’re from Milwaukee, send you Green Bay Packin.” But, even though I have love for Nelly being a fine St. Louisan, he’s a clown. Give this to any strong southern rapper — how about Rick Ross? 

2. G Side, Came Up

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One of the best beats ever from Blockbeattaz. Again, it’s not like G Side did a bad job with this song. I find after I listen to this song I repeat the sneaky-sneaky tip toes line incessantly. However, this beat needs to be heard by the world. Some have compared G Side to Outkast, and I think the duo from Atlanta would do this beat a service. 

1. Main Attrakionz, Chuch

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This is my favorite beat of all time. Props to Friendzone who have some other great ones too. I like Main Attrakionz but they don’t do this beat justice. I think it is tailor made for Childish Gambino. 

My Favorite Wes Anderson Movies

I think Wes Anderson is the new Woody Allen, at least in that he regularly puts out solid work. However, he has never taken himself too seriously or had an inappropriate relationship with an adopted daughter.

5. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

This movie is just so delightfully silly. I especially like how all the varmints eat and the crazy fox game they play

4. Moonrise Kingdom

I love Edward Norton’s role in this movie. I have a tendency to think of him as this dark and serious dude because of Fight Club, American History X and Primal Fear. Moonrise Kingdom really brought out his lighter side; he’s lovable. All that said, the best part of the movie is the two kids pictured above and their blossoming relationship.

3. Bottle Rocket

This movie changed my opinion of Owen Wilson. It’s also one of the best unconventional heist movies.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

I just watched this one. The cast in it is breathtaking: Ralph Fiennes, Tom Wilkinson (two lines), Tilda Swinton (two lines), Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe (one of his best parts in years), Bill Murray (two lines), Jason Schwartzman (a line), Harvey Keitel (three lines), Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson (two lines) and Adrian Brody.

1. The Royal Tenenbaums

Gwyenth Paltrow’s best movie. My favorite scene though is Luke Wilson’s tennis meltdown.

Movie Quote of the Day

M. Gustave: You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… oh, f*** it.

-The Grand Budapest Hotel