TV

The Rundown: Happy 10th Anniversary To The ‘Mad Men’ Lawnmower Scene

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — A salute to one of the greats

It’s not always great to look back on the past. Sometimes you can get stuck there if you do, remembering things a little too fondly and ignoring things that are happening in the present. We all fall into this trap occasionally and it’s good to be aware of it. Other times, though, looking back can be useful. Some things are just so culturally important that we can’t risk forgetting them. It helps to bring them up every now and again so this doesn’t happen and anniversaries provide an easy tool to do so. One such anniversary is happening today. One of the most important moments in television history. Ten years ago, on September 20, 2009, during the sixth episode of the third season of Mad Men, a secretary named Lois drove over a man’s foot with a riding lawnmower inside of a Manhattan advertising agency office.

The whys and hows are notable here, so let’s start with those. In the episode, “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency,” office manager Joan Holloway was preparing to leave to become a housewife. The staff of Sterling Cooper was throwing her a going-away party. At the same time, the firm’s British ownership was in town with plans to shake things up. Beloved Operating Manager Lane Pryce was about to be sent off to Bombay and replaced by a young hotshot named Guy MacKendrick. Parts of the party were very somber. Other parts were celebratory, however, because an account manager had just landed the John Deere account and had brought a riding mower into the office for kicks. These are the ingredients — party, lawnmower, champagne, British people — in a stew that led to, well, this…

Young hotshot Guy MacKendrick gets his foot turned into confetti thanks to a drunken secretary named Lois. The British higher-ups toss him aside and decide to let Lane stay for reasons including, but not limited to, Guy’s future inability to play golf. The band is staying together. Everything is back normal. Everyone is happy. Except for Guy MacKendrick.

Those are the facts, in short, and they are quite wild. I really recommend watching that clip if you haven’t (the splattering itself is an all-time GIF Hall of Famer), and I really, really recommend watching the whole episode again. It’s one of the show’s best and, I mean, any legitimate excuse to watch Mad Men should be jumped on. But the real fun extends beyond the facts.

It’s the audacity of it all that gets me. Matthew Weiner and the writers of the show had painted themselves into a corner, on purpose, with corporate overlords descending and no immediately visible way out. Things looked bleak in the moment. Something needed to happen. Someone needed to come up with a solution. And the solution they came up with, the one that saved the day, didn’t involve a boardroom or a contract or any sort of corporate subterfuge, as it did at other points in the show’s run when things got dicey. No, this one went a different way, one involving a foot mangling as a result of a tipsy secretary and a riding lawnmower that was inside a Manhattan skyscraper.

Do you remember seeing this scene for the first time? I do. I remember gasping like an old woman who saw a ghost. I remember laughing. And laughing and laughing and laughing. I remember going online the next day and reading everything I could about it and watching GIFs and just soaking it all in. In was mindblowing to me, the idea that this critically-beloved, often very serious show could do something so purely chaotic. I think about the scene all the time, still, today.

Sometimes people will tell you that they couldn’t get into Mad Men because it was too slow or because “nothing happened.” You don’t have to bully them into watching. It’s their loss, really. But you are perfectly within your rights to casually mention that this claim of “nothing happened” doesn’t really fly. A man got his foot run over with a lawnmower inside a skyscraper. That’s not nothing. Not even close.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Peak-y Blind-ers, clap clap clapclapclap

There are a lot of shows returning in the very near future, a few of which we covered here. It’s all very exciting. The Good Place and Big Mouth alone have me all hot and bothered. But if I’m being truly honest (and why would I lie to the readers of this column, my closest friends in the world?), the one I’ve been thinking about the most this week is Peaky Blinders.

You watch Peaky Blinders, right? Oh man, you’ve gotta watch Peaky Blinders. It’s this crime show set in the early 1900s and it stars Cillian Murphy as the leader of the Shelby family and the aforementioned Peaky Blinders. He started season one as a mid-level local criminal and now, as season five begins, he’s in Parliament. It’s wild. The members of the gang have razor blades in their hats that they use to take out their enemies’ eyes. Everyone has British accents that are so thick you need to watch with subtitles on. Sometimes when you’re watching with the subtitles on, something like this will happen.

Netflix

And the villains. My god, the villains. Sam Neil was their foil in the first couple seasons. Paddy Considine popped up as a crooked priest. Adrien Brody was in the most recent season as a mafia leader and he appeared to be doing a “Marlon Brando as Don Corleone” impression the whole time. Tom Hardy slips in every now and then as a mumble-mouthed Jewish bootlegger named Alfie who is half-friend, half-enemy, and I let out a little whoop every time he shows up because I know that scene is about to be awesome. You can have your Banes and Venoms. Give me this Tom Hardy every day.

It’s so good and so fun and occasionally features gypsies and Russian royalty and I can’t wait to have it back. You know who else can’t wait to have it back? Brad Pitt. And Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg loves Peaky Blinders, too. I desperately want to watch an episode with him. You can join us if you get caught up in time. Each season is only six episodes and they’re all on Netflix. You can do it. Watch Peaky Blinders.

Watch Peaky Blinders.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Fargo remains the champion

FX

This man in this picture is a character named Calamity Joe. He showed up in the first season of Fargo and sold everything from walkie talkies to police scanners to clean urine out of a crappy old van. He has nothing to do with what I’m about to say but I just remembered him while I started writing this section so, tada, in he goes. What I’m about to say is very important, though. In a recent post on Deadline, after a paragraph about the basic plot structure of the upcoming season, this sentence appeared and changed my entire life: “[Timothy] Olyphant plays a character named Dick ‘Deafy’ Wickware in a major recurring role.”

Dick “Deafy” Wickware.

Dick “Deafy” Wickware.

TIMOTHY OLYPHANT AS DICK “DEAFY” WICKWARE.

It’s like they’re making this show just for me. If you’re skeptical about this claim, please take a gander at some of the other character names in this upcoming season.
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  • Chris Rock as Loy Cannon
  • Uzo Aduba as Zelmare Roulette
  • Jack Huston as Odis Weff
  • Jason Schwartzman as Josto Fadda
  • Andrew Bird as Thurman Smutney
  • Jessie Buckley as Oraetta Mayflower
  • Amber Midthunder as Swanee Capps
  • Glynn Turman as Doctor Senator

Fargo has a long and storied tradition of having tremendous character names. Criminals named Lorne Malvo and Nikki Swango, cops named Molly Solverson and Gloria Burgle, a teenage butcher named Noreen Vanderslice. I think this new season might be their crowning achievement, though. I mean, Doctor Senator? Come on. Noah Hawley and company are having entirely too much fun and if anyone tries to stop them I will heave my body in the way like a limp and flailing human shield.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Oh look, it’s my new favorite movie

amc

Hey, do you like Bob Odenkirk and the films in the John Wick franchise? Would you like to see those two things combined into one project, possibly a movie titled Nobody that stars Odenkirk and is written by Derek Kolstad, the mind behind the Wick movies? Yeah, me too. And it looks like we’re both in luck, baby.

In the movie, Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a guy you don’t notice. “A suburban dad, overlooked husband, nothing neighbor. A nobody,” per the studio. “When two thieves break into his home one night, the incident ignites Hutch’s unknown long-simmering rage, propelling him on a brutal path that will uncover dark secrets he fought to leave behind.”

Two notes here:

– The description of this character sounds a lot like Cinnabon Gene, the guy who Saul Goodman becomes after Breaking Bad when he’s on the run in Nebraska. Am I implying this movie exists in the Breaking Bad universe and features Odenkirk reprising the role in a third project after Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul? No. Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. Am I kind of mapping that all out in my head as I’m typing this, though, just the idea of Saul Goodman on a John Wick rampage that may or may not feature horses and dogs and Halle Berry? Perhaps.

– Hutch Mansell is a real Fargo-ass name.

Give me this movie at once.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — “What’s up, cool breeze?”

HBO

Most of the chatter about the most recent episode of The Righteous Gemstones has focused on the song “Misbehavin,” performed by Walton Goggins and Jennifer Nettles. This is understandable. The song is diabolically catchy and the performance features Cloggin’ Goggins. The whole thing is enough to block out the sun let alone other plot points from the same 30-minute episode. I would like to highlight one other thing from this week, though.

While approaching his nephew with intentions of getting him drunk on Coors Light at a child’s birthday party, Goggins — as Baby Billy Freeman, a man his nephews and nieces call “Uncle Baby Billy” — addresses the young man by saying “What’s up, cool breeze?”

If we live in anything resembling a just world, this will catch on. Maybe you and I will bump into each other sometime at any outdoor mall near the Old Navy and we’ll lock eyes and you’ll just smile and drop a “What’s up, cool breeze?” on me. I am barely joking when I say it would be the happiest moment of my whole life.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at brian.grubb@uproxx.com (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

Derek:

I refuse to believe Blood & Treasure is a real show. I know you tweeted about it and posted screencaps, but there’s no way you didn’t make up a show about, in your own words, “an FBI agent and a master thief trying to catch a terrorist who finds his organization with historical artifact heists.” This is all a deep troll job. I won’t stand for it.

Derek, I promise the show is real. I can see why you might question me, though. I have, for almost two years now, been trying to convince people that David Schwimmer is starring in a streaming series titled Sunbathers as a man named Dale Sunbather. This is a real “boy who cried wolf” situation. (Boy who cried Sunbathers?) But I promise Blood & Treasure is real. You can look it up and everything.

I do have some bad news, though. The show is not quite all it seems to be based on that description. It’s still a fun and stress-free watch about very attractive people — everyone on this show is absolutely smoldering — flying around the world looking for Cleopatra’s casket. In one episode alone, they were in St. Petersburg, Venice, and Bermuda. But it leaves a lot on the table. It could be so much more. Maybe I just built it up too much in my head, like I did with the show Deception, which, as we all recall, was about a disgraced magician who started working with the FBI. I can’t help it. You can’t give me summaries like that. I’m entirely too excitable.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To South Florida!

Thieves hit Prime Trading Hair and Wigs, at around 2:30 a.m., located in the area of Northwest 48th Avenue, taking about $70,000 to $80,000 worth of merchandise, according to the business owner.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a wig heist.

Surveillance video shows a truck backing in to the front door and ramming it at least three times. They tried three times to smash it. They knew exactly what they were doing. They knew where the expensive products were and they knew everything about the stock room.

Correction. We have a highly organized wig heist!

The crime is similar to a burglary right across from Hossain’s business. The owner of Subi Training Inc. at 4726 NW. 165th St. says just 2 weeks ago, thieves broke in and stole up to $100,000 worth of products including many wigs.

A second correction: We have, if I am reading this correctly, a South Florida wig heist epidemic!

Wow. This is all quite a lot to process. Two large-scale wig heists in the same state in the span of a few months. I really don’t see how this can get any weirder.

Authorities have accused ex-Disney employee Patricks Spikes and his cousin, Blaytin Taunton, of sneaking into the Magic Kingdom and stealing costumes and wigs worth $7,200 from the Haunted Mansion while the ride was still running with visitors.

Okay, this is my fault. I should have known. You don’t tempt the Florida Gods — Burt Reynolds and a one-eyed alligator named Hank, I assume — with a statement like “I don’t see how this can get any weirder” because, if you do, they’ll come back with “Haunted Mansion wig and costume heist by guys named Patricks and Blaytin.” I’ve seen it a million times. I’m so disappointed in myself.

Records outline how investigators believe Spikes and Taunton pretended to be working in order to gain access to the Haunted Mansion and used secret underground tunnels for employees only.

Taunton wore a fake employee ID for “Jack D. Marrow” – which Disney says no such employee exists. Spikes wore his employee ID even though he was not scheduled to work that day.

I would give any amount of money — blank check, empty me out — to know what the “D” in their Jack D. Marrow cover identity stands for.

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