Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Christina Hendricks and the issue of role models

Last week UK Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone further fuelled the fire that role models when it comes to body type and image. In stating that she believed Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway from Mad Men) was a ‘fabulous role model’ for women I’m not sure she expected all the criticism that was to come from the British media who were claiming that Hendricks ‘perfect’ hourglass figure was just as ridiculous to achieve as a Kate Moss size zero body. This comment appears to be blown out of proportion with media institutions such as The Daily Mail jumping on the bandwagon to slate Featherstone for her remarks and papers such as this claiming that Featherstone is encouraging women to aspire to a size 14. If you actually look at what she said this is not the case, instead she is opposed to the over exposure of air brushing and photo shopping in magazines which could place unnecessary body confidence issues on young women. In regards to Hendricks she simply states that she thinks she is fabulous and that women who have a curvier figure should not just be celebrated as an anomaly in a field of slim models, it should be a normal occurrence. At no point does she say that we should try and change the body type we have, in fact I believe that she is saying that we should celebrate the body type we have and this should be represented in the mainstream media.

christina hendricks academy of magical arts awards 09

Hendricks has come under scrutiny, particularly in the US for being a curvier body type than is the norm in Hollywood; this was most evident at this year’s Golden Globes when a New York Times fashion journalist wrote that ‘you don't put a big girl in a big dress’ in regard to the Christian Siriano dress that she wore. This comment was met with the kind of derision that you would expect and hope for, especially because she really isn’t a ‘big girl’, except maybe by Hollywood standards. The point here being is that Hendricks has already been portrayed in way as the champion of the regular woman, an appointment that I would imagine comes with a lot of pressure and means that her excellent work in Mad Men is often overlooked to deal with issues such as this one. It is a catch 22 problem as her figure is different from what viewers are necessarily use to and that yes this is something that should be applauded but at the same time it would be great if there could be a conversation about Hendricks where weight and body type were not the focus and I think that that is the point that Featherstone was perhaps trying to make in her comments. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t mention her appearance and yes it should be celebrated, it should just not be the continued focus when discussing Hendricks and yes this piece is guilty of what I am complaining about (as are other pieces that I have written), and in fact is this the issue? That there are certain people that you can’t write about without mentioning certain aspects or qualities and is this a gender issue or one that happens to both sexes?
I don’t think that the debate regarding the portrayal of both women and male body ideals will die down and it is definitely a debate that appears to be pretty cyclical, it would be super  though if this debate did end up with a more healthy and obtainable image for people to strive toward. When thinking of the women of Mad Men it is actually Elisabeth Moss who probably has a healthy obtainable body shape if you are looking for someone ‘normal’ with January Jones meeting the slim end of the register. 

january jones elisabeth moss 10

Though Jones in a recent interview with Tatler magazine revealed that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner told them to not work out and to actually eat as women of the sixties didn’t use the gym, another great reason to be working on Mad Men.
Whilst this debate remains endless, I am glad that Christina Hendricks is now a household name on both sides of the Atlantic and that those curious by Featherstones comments may actually go and check out Mad Men and see how terrific she is as Joan. Though next time I write about Christina Hendricks I hope that it is about her portrayal of Joan or the she has won an Emmy on the 29thof August.

Photos courtesy of JustJared

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Mad Men season 4 premiere

With the premiere of Mad Men being this Sunday the publicity machine has gone in to full drive, with late night talk show appearances and a red carpet event for the new season. The red carpet had Mad Men cast and crew from the previous three seasons with the one notable absence being January Jones who was said to have had Mad Men work commitments (which seems a little mean when everyone else gets to party). The women looked lovely as ever, though I wasn't blown away by any of the dress choices, below are costume designer Janie Bryant, Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss:

Janie Bryant, Christina Hendricks, and Elisabeth Moss.

Jon Hamm looked as fetching as he always does in a suit, he really does look charming all the time and I could totally understand if he lived in the bubble (I also find it astounding that it has taken this long in his career to become the success that he is):

jon hamm season 4 premiere mad men 08

Jon Hamm was on the Jimmy Kimmel show to promote the new season and as ever he came across as charming and friendly telling a great story about his first residence in LA when he moved there to become an actor. Also during the interview there is a short scene from Sundays episode that further raised my anticipation for this new season (didn't think that was possible but evidently it is). There has been a lot of mentions of Jon Hamm in the past week in the entertainment press not just for Mad Men; the trailer for his new film The Town  (directed by Ben Affleck) was released last week, he is staring in the Alan Ginsberg centric film Howl that will hit cinemas in September and it has just been announced that he will be a guest star in a new episode of The Simpsons. Along with his two Emmy nominations this really is an excellent time to be Jon Hamm and he really deserves the glory. Here is his interview on Kimmel:

Photos courtesy of NYMag and JustJared

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Emmy nominations snap judgement


The 2010 Emmy nominations have just been announced and there were some excellent surprises and some not so surprising omissions (it's still annoying even if it isn't a surprise). Here is a list of who and what I am happy with being nominated, the snubs that sting and the 'huh' they were nominated thoughts:

What I am happy about:

-Finally Friday Night Lights gets some love with both Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler getting nominations (Actress and Actor in a drama), these are long overdue and well deserved, they really are the heart and soul of this fabulous show. Very glad that 'The Son' has got a writing nomination, one of the best episodes of FNL.
-The final season of Lost being a nomination success; Matthew Fox (Actor in a Drama), Michael Emerson, Terry O'Quinn (Best Supporting in a Drama) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Guest Actress in a Drama) all getting acting nods. The writing and directing of the finale featuring, as well as a nod for Michael Giacchino for his score for 'The End' which made the show and the finale all the more emotional.
-The Pacific getting the most nominations with 24, though it not being included in the acting categories is a disappointment.
-Unsurprisingly Mad Men bagged itself 17 nominations and deservedly so. Those up for the acting gongs are Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss and Robert Morse (for actor/actress, supporting actor/actress and guest actor). Shame that Vincent Kartheiser and Jared Harris can't be included but I guess I can't be greedy. And whilst I'm surprised that 'The Gypsy and the Hobo' wasn't nominated in the writing category I'm pleased that both 'Guy Walks in to an Advertising Agency' and 'Shut the Door. Have a Seat' are nominated
-The Good Wife also favouring well in the acting categories with the both the women and the men being well represented: Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick), Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma), Christine Baranski (Diane Lockhart), Alan Cumming (Eli Gold) and Dylan Baker (Colin Sweeney). I've really enjoyed this new show and after Margulies Golden Globes success it is great to see that her cast mates are also sharing in the award lime light, though it is a shame to see that Chris Noth (Peter Florrick) was overlooked.
-It's also not a surprise that Glee received 19 nominations, some more deserved than others, I was happy for Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) and one of the best father son combos on TV Chris Colfor (Kurt Hummel) and Mike O'Malley (Burt Hummel). Also nominated in the guest actor in a comedy category for Glee was Neil Patrick Harris who has two nominations (the other for How I Met Your Mother), Jon Hamm and Tina Fey both also share in the double nominations, Hamm for Mad Men and 30 Rock, Fey for SNL and 30 Rock.
-The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien getting the nod over Jay Leno, Team Coco all the way, loved the reaction in the room to this one when it was announced as well as the fact that the Emmys will be broadcast on NBC. Though The Daily Show normally wins this one, so it's a win/win really for me.
-Other shows that got some love that I love include; The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Dexter, 30 Rock, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Nurse Jackie and Damages.

What nominations (or lack of nominations) made me go grr and huh?:

-Zach Gilford not getting nominated for the FNL episode 'The Son'. It was a long shot but after hearing Connie Britton and Kyle Chandlers nominations I was hopeful that he would be recognised as well, but alas. At least the episode got the writing nod.
-Tony Shaloub for Monk and Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men just makes me say why?
-Even though he was presenting the nominations Joel McHale and Community came up with nothing, this was annoying, though he did a good job with the nominations. Loved when he jumped in to pronounce Mariska Hargitay.
-There seems to be a lot of unhappy writers out there about the lack of Parks and Rec nominations which has reminded me that I really need to get that show on DVD. I also need to watch my Breaking Bad DVDs before August 29th.
-Other long shots I would have loved to see but am not surprised by there omissions; Chuck, John Noble in Fringe and The Vampire Diaries. If I had an award show all of these would win.

For a full list of nominations head to the official Emmys site here

All photos courtesy of NBC

Daily dose of Mad Men

More new promotional pictures and video this way, first up the pictures. The group shots have been released and one has a person in that you might not expect. First up the group in a typical shot in a bar, all looking exquisite:

madmenseason4.png picture by emskilou

The perhaps surprising inclusion on the other cast shot is Kenny Cosgrove and his hair and what could this mean? Has he got a job at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce? Does this spell the end for Kinsey, Kurt and Smitty? Peggy, Joan and Betty all look amazing in their dresses with Peggy this time wearing my favourite, her hair also looks less like a helmet in this shot. I'm also a fan of the bare background being just a sheet, further suggesting the re-building motif of this seasons theme. As I've said before I love how Mad Men is similar to Lost in how rife the speculation is pre season especially as so little information is available:

A few black and white portraits have been released as well that if nothing else make the men look pretty dapper:

A couple of John Slattery (Roger Sterling):

John Slattery of "Mad Men"

John Slattery of "Mad Men," pt. 2

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell):

Vincent Kartheiser of "Mad Men"

Jared Harris (Lane Pryce):

Jared Harris of "Mad Men"

Robert Morse (Bert Cooper):

Robert Morse of "Mad Men"

More videos from the AMC promo department include this fabulous one with the women discussing how they feel about where their characters were at the end of last season, their favourite costumes and other related questions to the show, there are some really nice moments between Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss here and it is nice to see them together outside of the characters:

The second video is a 'look at season four' and by a look they just say that they can't reveal too much which is fine by me, the less actual information I have about the new season the better. Matthew Weiner reinforces the idea that he won't do the same material again and the first episode is referred to by Jared Harris (Pryce) that it is like another pilot, enjoy:

Photos and video courtesy of AMC

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

More Mad Men pictures, video

This blog is definitely Mad Men centric at the moment and with just over two weeks till its return it will be this way until then I would expect. Over at Zap2it they have got some more promo shots from season 4 that once again don't really reveal much of anything but let us speculate on all kinds of things like what year is it? Is Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce a success? Has Betty married Henry? And it allows me to rejoice in the fact that Bobby Draper remains as the same actor this year unlike the previous three seasons. Here are a selection of these photos:

'Mad Men' Season 4: Jon Hamm, Aaron Hart and Kiernan Shipka

'Mad Men' Season 4: Vincent Kartheiser and John Slattery

'Mad Men' Season 4: Jared Harris and Christina Hendricks

'Mad Men' Season 4: January Jones

Here is also an excellent video that compiles some of the really awful chat up lines that have been used by many of the characters including the lovely "You should do something with that sour puss, you're very beautiful" and "Are you Amish or something?" (both courtesy of Pete Campbell):

Monday, 5 July 2010

Not too long till Mad Men season 4...

So in the meantime you can go and Mad Men yourself again over on the AMC site, where there are new clothes, hair and accessories to play with, here is my new version and I decided to go for a leisurely look this time around:

madmen_fullbody.jpg picture by emskilou

This is good fun and reminds me of the paper dolls that I had when I was a kid, whilst on holiday my boyfriend was sweet enough to buy me a Kennedy family paper dolls book, which fits in nicely with the time and fashion of Mad Men. The designer of these Mad Men illustrations Dyna Moe has a great site that I have mentioned before but if you need a reminder it is here and should be checked out.
More Mad Men promotional videos have been released by AMC, including one with one of my favourite creative faces from Mad Men; Janie Bryant and she is showing us a peak at some of the wardrobe of season 4. I got excited by the glimpse that we saw of some of the costumes of season 4 in the last promo video so this is definitely a treat and that truck looks like heaven:

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Lost: How it should have ended video

There has been many a reaction to the season finale of Lost, some positive, some negative (Emily Nussbaum for New York Magazine has an interesting and excellent take on this, that whilst I personally don't agree on can see where her frustrations come from) and the most recent is an animated response from the guys at How It Should Have Ended. This is a pretty awesome video and is well worth a watch: