Saturday, February 06, 2010
February 6, 2010 Black & White & Red (sic) all over
At Episode 11, CerebusTV seems to be settling into its format: a half-hour of video-journalism by Dave Sim, emulating (in process) the goode-olde-dayse where you had to run to the TeeVee to see a show (this time and this time only, no pausing, no downloading, although it is on a continuous rerun loop for a few days before it is welded to its predecessor episodes which then play as a continuous rerun loop...). But I digress. What I wanted to say is that I enjoyed episode 11 quite a bit because it covered just that sort of Cerebus-related stuff that fans of the series want to hear about. In this case, it is a first-person insight into the construction of the Hemingway part of "Form & Void" and, in particular, how we (readers) ended up with pages of micro-panels at the end of the Africa segment. We learn that, like the famous East meets West railroad line, the forward-moving story line from the 250's was on a collision course with the back-written planning for the end of the series, which was moving into the 260s. I suppose we heard this somewhere before, probably in teeny-tiny print, but these reflections on that time were enjoyable to hear from the source.
Speaking of a quaint and bygone era of broadcast teevee (barely), I'm 6 episodes into "Mad Men" and I am definitely on the fence with this one. A period piece with 10 years in mind (I guess), starting from 1960, that is going to observe the social boil-over that is the 1960s, with a reminder that it really does not start until 1964, is a neat premise, and likely to be handled better than either "Happy Days" or "Laverne and Shirley" did. On the up side: it is doing all this. On the down side: standard soap opera is not always easy to watch, the level of caricature seems just a smidge high, it's a good hour-long show that seems like it could be edited to an exceptional half-hour show, and (really, worst of all) there is no one to root for. They are all dismal people. I have a feeling (or a hope) that Don Draper's enigmatic secretary is a sleeping flower who will spring to life in 1966. It would be nice to see someone's story intersect even peripherally with some minority characters (other than the Jewish merchants) just to set the stage for the upcoming era of civil rights... because what we are likely to see coming out of these characters is just going to be unpleasant. I've thought about giving this series the heave-ho, but I'll see how the rest of Season One goes, I guess.