BUYER AND CELLAR REVIEW — If you haven’t seen Jonathan Tolins’ hit off-Broadway play Buyer and Cellar at the Mark Taper Forum in Downtown Los Angeles run—don’t walk (or, should I say, Google the show?)—to get tickets as fast as you can before the comedy concludes its LA run on on Sunday, August 17th.  You absolutely don’t want to miss Michael Urie’s laugh-out-loud, one-man show or his impeccable comedic timing. This spoof on Barbra Streisand’s famed shopping mall in her cellar (that part is truth not fiction) with Urie as “salesman” (the salesman part is fiction, at least we think so!) could easily have been a predictable story about excess, but thankfully...

Robin Williams’ heartbreaking suicide brings depression and suicide to the forefront of everyone’s mind, along with remembrances of his many film roles. Ironically, Williams won his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for his emotional performance as Sean Maguire, a gifted, underachieving therapist who’s challenged to reach an intellectually brilliant, yet deeply troubled young man in Good Will Hunting.  In real life, Williams’s decision to end his life leaves many unanswered questions as to why he was unable to get the kind of help he needed to go on. In the film, Sean’s treatment of Will Hunting (Matt Damon)...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 7 — Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) is a mad man full of envy. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be so bent on getting rid of Don Draper. And, he wouldn’t be making unilateral decisions to be sure no one gets in his way. Contrary to what the soon-to-be-deceased Bert Cooper suggests, Cutler’s not a leader, a team player, or anything like that.  Ultimately, he wants to be the very thing he accuses Roger of when he announces the McCann merger: King.  Anyone who gets in the way of a King? Well, it’s “off with their head”, so to speak. Like a ruthless dictator,...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 6 — Doing it her way has never been easy for Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss). For subtle but understandable reasons to me as a psychoanalyst, Peggy needs Don and yet hates herself (and him) for it. She’s just not as self-assured as she thinks she should be. Then, again, neither is Don Draper (Jon Hamm). They share this. Especially, where love comes into the picture. Episode 5 ended with Don triumphantly flagging down a cab … the line “everybody knows you’ve been stepping on my toes” from Waylon Jennings’s song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” playing...

MAD MEN REVIEW: SEASON 7 EPISODE 5 — Jealousy can do it. Megan (Jessica Paré ) is taking matters into her own hands. It’s now tit for tat. She’s decided if she’s going to be with Don (Jon Hamm), she’ll be the one with the power. She’s done with being pushed aside and left out. In fact, she’ll make Don feel exactly the way she’s felt since she married him – a beautiful accessory but ultimately inconsequential. Yet, is she successful? The jury’s out on that one – at least for me as a psychoanalyst. But she’s certainly trying. As soon as...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 4 — The 60’s were the era of re-defining what tells us who we are. The country was at war in more ways than Vietnam. Women fought stereotypes at home and in the workplace. The Black Panther movement empowered marginalized citizens. This country’s cultural revolution was a sign of just how much oppressive status quos would be challenged. People like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) live under similar but internal oppressive beliefs originating from childhood trauma. Don’s is the dark specter of “the unwanted boy”, now being repeated at Sterling Cooper and Partners. Will Don survive being...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 5 — Could there be a more gruesomely horrifying image than Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) presenting his severed and bloodied nipple in a box as a gift to Peggy? As the paramedics are carting him off, he yells: “Get out while you can!” What’s gotten into Ginsberg? The new computer isn’t what’s really driving him crazy. But, his fantasies about it are certainly a place to start. In Ginsberg’s mind, the computer is imbued with special humanoid qualities; anthropomorphized, we could say. The computer is making people do things. For example – trying to make men turn homosexual and...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — It could have been the perfect day. For the first time in his young life, Bobby has his mom along for a field trip and he couldn’t be more excited.  It’s all going so well, too. “Me and my mom are having a conversation,” Bobby tells his teacher on the bus. He’s a very happy little boy. He’s staking out a special spot for just the two of them (“No you can’t sit here. That’s my mom’s spot.”). All Bobby wants is a special place in Betty’s heart and today he thinks he just...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 5 — Betty Draper Francis (January Jones) finally takes a stand in Episode 5 – and weren’t we all cheering? It’s 1969, after all, and the Women’s Movement is in full swing. Betty’s finally sick and tired of living under society’s expectations (not to mention her mother’s) of just what kind of woman and wife she’s supposed to be. She isn’t much happier about being Henry Francis’ surrogate Emily Post, either. Go girl! Or, should I say – woman … because at the height of the feminism of the late 60’s and 70’s none of us would...