In Which We Curb Your Enthusiasm For The Deceptive Façades Of Modern Day Living And Its Many Disappointingly Unkept Promises

You Let Pete Campbell Set You Up On A Blind Date?!?

by Molly Lambert

I don’t feel like doing this in paragraphs or real sentences, so in the style of a pitch meeting, get ready for BULLET POINTS!

– The funniest thing about Mad Men from a few weeks ago was that it was sponsored by Revolutionary Road, the Sam Mendes directed adaptation of the seminal Richard Yates tome about feeling bad in the suburbs in the early sixties, which is like 24 being sponsored by ads for the military (which it probably is).

Richard Yates Funfacts

Richard Yates Funfacts is almost certainly an oxymoron. There are facts, but not much in the way of fun. He is pretty therial.

a. From Wiki: “He is regarded as the foremost novelist of the post-WWII Age of Anxiety. Yates came from an unstable home. His parents divorced when he was three and much of his childhood was spent in many different towns and residences.

b. Yates’ first novel, Revolutionary Road, was a finalist for the National Book Award that year alongside Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

c. Yates was championed by writers as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker, William Styron, Tennessee Williams and John Cheever. Yates’ brand of realism directly influenced writers Andre Dubus Raymond Carver and Richard Ford.

d. Yates wrote acclaimed short stories. Despite this, only one of his stories appeared in the The New Yorker (after repeated rejections). This story, “The Canal,” was published in the magazine nine years after the author’s death to celebrate the release of The Collected Stories of Richard Yates .

e. For much of his life, Yates’ work met almost universal critical acclaim, yet not one of his books sold over 12,000 copies in hardcover first edition. All of his novels were out of print in the years after his death.

f. Yates was portrayed in an episode of Seinfeld as “Alton Benes”, Elaine’s taciturn and hard-driving father who has George and Jerry scared of him. Yates’ daughter, Monica, once dated Larry David, the show’s executive producer. Richard Yates intimidated Larry David. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

George is still singing “Master of the House” as they enter Alton Benes’s hotel. Elaine hasn’t arrived. They sit down with her father and nervously order drinks. George doesn’t order ice with his drink, which prompts a shocked Alton to order extra with his. The conversation gradually gets more and more awkward.

g. In Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, Lee (Barbara Hershey) thanks Elliott (Michael Caine) for lending her The Easter Parade, which she says was great.

Richard Yates in ’91

h. Tao Lin’s second novel is called Richard Yates. About this novel, Tao says “The main characters are Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning, maybe 40% of it is Gmail chats.” Lin wrote about “K-Mart Realism” on This Recording earlier this year.

Bullet Points On Mad Men Over The Last Few Weeks:

Hi my name’s Joy. I come from ‘reality movie’ The Real Cancun

1. The fact that nothing from last week’s weird Californian odyssey was alluded to at all is awesome and fairly realistic. Most people expatriating to Los Angeles have an early experience that is comlpletely bizarre, unlike anything from their old life. At the time it seems totally alien, but years later they are able to interpret it in context. It usually involves a hot tub.

2. I do really like how David Lynch/Twin Peaksy the Los Angeles stuff has been. Even as a native I still agree that L.A. is very often surreal, inexplicable, and deserving of a Martin Denny score. In a moment of pre-cognition I had a conversation about San Pedro on Saturday with a friend from there. San Pedro is the setting of the second leg of Don’s Californian odyssey.

Joan got draped in Drape’s office

2. The Joan plotline with her handsome but rapey jewish doctor fiancé is necessary for Joan’s presumably soon to be burgeoning feminism. Whoever puts Christina Hendricks on the cover of Esquire is going to be a wealthy individual, because people will buy that shit. They won’t care that they don’t know who she is or have never seen Mad Men. You could sell anything with a picture of Christina Hendricks.

Mad Men has a YouTube and so does This Recording

3. Yes I do think Anna Draper is a ridiculous deus ex machina that allows us to feel comfortable not thinking Don is such a bad guy. Honestly I think we all agree that the Dick Whitman/Don Draper thing is the weakest arc of the show. It is, like many other show mythologies, both the most important and least interesting thing going on. Seeing Sterling-Cooper operate without Don is more entertaining. Peggy Olson is the 1960s Liz Lemon, climbing the corporate ladder and accumulating gay boyfriends.

Geoffrey Arend and girlfriend Xtina Hendricks

4. Danish wants me to tell you that Christina Hendricks is dating a half-Pakistani guy who is, more importantly “The kid from Super Troopers who they force to eat the bag of weed and shrooms. The one who says ‘I’m freaking out man.'”

Geoffrey Arend, Christina’s boyfriend of 18 months also appreciates her killer curves. The two met through her Mad Men co-star Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell), and they’ve been smitten ever since. “He’s amazing,” she gushes. “He’s half Pakistani, and he has these thick, gorgeous curls that drive me crazy. He’s like, ‘My curls to you are like your boobs to me.’ ”

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording

Miserlou – Martin Denny: (mp3)

Quiet Village – Martin Denny: (mp3)

Jungle Madness – Martin Denny: (mp3)

Yesterday’s Dreams – The Four Tops: (mp3)

In My Dreams – The Action: (mp3)

It’s A Dream – Neil Young: (mp3)

California – Shocking Blue: (mp3)

California Blues – Merle Haggard: (mp3)

California – DJ Quik: (mp3)


Mary Tyler Moore

Tess’s Favorite TV Characters

Mad Men In Revue

Spoiler Alert! The American Dream Is A Big Empty Scam


4 thoughts on “In Which We Curb Your Enthusiasm For The Deceptive Façades Of Modern Day Living And Its Many Disappointingly Unkept Promises

  1. This is a bright and well-informed comparison of Weiner to Yates. My own sense of Weiner is that he is condescending to the “period” he portrays–a period just as he was born, and which represents an attempt to read his parents’ generation. Since I can’t hear Yates’s sure dismay, I would love to hear Dan Wakefield’s. MAD MEN is designed to produce self congratulation in its liberated audience, as if we are Soviets looking back at the Romanovs.

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