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5-3: "Tea Leaves" 2012.04.01


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#571

theponderer

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 8:57 PM

TC3200. Thanks on the link to the real place that is Betty's new house. I have been googling for days and came up with nothing. I live in L.A. and must admit, I have never seen a residence that grand, though there are former homes that have become something else, as mentioned in the story you link to.

#572

TC3200

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 11:18 AM

Ponderer: You're welcome. :-) I Googled Richardsonian Romanesque house museum California. Figured it had to be a museum, and not very far away to make filming there practical. There's a Wikipedia page for that mansion, too. The style was deliberately midwestern / Eastern but built in CA. Probably "local" was why it was picked, lol.

I said a bizarre choice, because it's just too huge. That type of house fell out of "practical" as of The Great Depression. Those homes required live-in staff to keep it clean, repaired, and running smoothly. Unless the Francises were duplexing it w/ Mamma, or closing off parts of it completely, it's far too much house for any family of 5 to occupy without at least having day help.

#573

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 1:23 PM

Someone found the cereal commercial that the Rolling Stones did in 1964.
So for your dining and dancing pleasure, here it is.
Rolling Stones for Rice Krispies!

#574

Elbaite

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 1:56 PM

Thanks to staveDarsky for Rolling Stones link.

Especial thanks to TC3200 for research and house link. I've been pondering that house too, since that was before the era when it was fashionable to restore Victorians.

My theories are:

Bang for the Buck. It would've been a way to get a lot of house for the money, since such mansions weren't desirable at the time.

Location, location, location. Although by the 60s, many of the neighborhoods those homes had been built in had "fallen on hard times," there were still some towns where the "wealthy section" of the 19th century was still the wealthy section of the 20th century.

Appearance is all. It's just the sort of place that an aspiring Republican couple could host political fundraisers. That's my leading theory. I had a distant relative who was an MD and hospital administrator. The job came with a "president's house" that was (IIRC) a Queen Anne Victorian. To a child, raised in a glass-filled contemporary, it seemed a haunted throwback, but to adults, it was the perfect "stately manor" for all the fund-raising and schmoozing the job required.

#575

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 2:02 PM

I've never really been clear on Henry's socioeconomic status....I mean, he's obviously not poor, but I don't think he came from money and Pauline doesn't seem particularly blue-blooded. Buying a house like that can be a way of trying to buy into old money--what I mean is that it is a house that looks like it should have been in the family for decades.

Is Henry in love with the past or a bit of a romantic? Or is it Betty? Betty doesn't seem particularly house-proud or attached to the house, at least not so I've noticed.

#576

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Posted Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

I don't know if anyone answered this in a later thread, but the 'Soap opera guy' that Ginsberg looks like is Stephen Schnetzer, who used to be in Another World. I see him on commercials fairly often.

#577

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Posted Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:02 PM

I don't know if anyone answered this in a later thread, but the 'Soap opera guy' that Ginsberg looks like is Stephen Schnetzer, who used to be in Another World. I see him on commercials fairly often.


Cass Winthrop! Man, that takes me back.

#578

peeayebee

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Posted Apr 24, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

That's him! That's him! That's him!

Thank you SO MUCH! I had wondered if it was Another World that he was in -- My MIL used to watch it, and sometimes I'd watch with her during visits. I even perused the lists of characters/actors for that show (as well as Santa Barbara (another show my MIL watched), and All My Children & Ryan's Hope (which I watched back in the 70's for a little while).

It's funny to me that he's such a familiar face, but his name does not strike a bell at all.

#579

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Posted Jun 25, 2012 @ 6:05 PM

“She just needs something to call you about”?? Get bent, Megan.

Seriously, Megan. It's not a broken nail; it's a fucking tumor.

Except that it wasn't really, it was a red herring. Megan expressed genuine concern when Don told her Betty might be "really sick." Her more flippant remark came after she and Don knew Betty was fine. And we know from episodes before and after this one that Betty is jealous and sometimes acts vindictively.

I'm rewatching the season to see if knowing what comes later changes my take on earlier episodes. I still found this one pretty flat and the Betty storyline unconvincing. Betty was ultra-slim when we last saw her in mid-Oct. 1965. She has been identically thin since the show opened in March 1960, except for her pregnancy with Gene, and she got back to her "fighting weight" mighty fast after that (cue the sexy black underwear in Rome, about two months post-birth). I simply do not find it realistic that Betty would allow herself to pack on that much poundage in 8 1/2 months, and that neither Henry nor Pauline nor even Sally, for freakin' out loud, would say something about it. Betty must have gone through 3 or 4 changes in clothing size over that time period, and was resorting to really dowdy stuff in this episode. I simply don't buy it.

I did like the Rolling Stone stuff, and the scenes involving Harry and his office (both with Roger and with Pete) were hilarious. As a whole, however, the episode still ranks near the bottom of the season (and the series) for me.

#580

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Posted Jun 25, 2012 @ 6:34 PM

I simply do not find it realistic that Betty would allow herself to pack on that much poundage in 8 1/2 months, and that neither Henry nor Pauline nor even Sally, for freakin' out loud, would say something about it. Betty must have gone through 3 or 4 changes in clothing size over that time period, and was resorting to really dowdy stuff in this episode. I simply don't buy it.


So glad to see someone else sharing my same opinion. Betty is far, far too Type-A to let herself go like that. She thrives on her looks and its seemingly the only thing that gets her through life. Emotional eating? Please. Mommy issues aside, that is a true eating disorder and it would have been building in previous seasons. This is hardly realistic considering we hardly ever saw Betty do anything but chain smoke at the dinner table. I think I've seen her eat a total of about 3 times including her post-dalliance chowdown in the Ossining kitchen in season 2. MW and Co. got lazy and decided to force JJ into a fat suit. Simple as that.

#581

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Posted Jun 25, 2012 @ 9:18 PM

Thanks, TC3200, for digging up the dirt on the House on Haunted Hill. I am completely obsessed with knowing why Henry and Betty bought that thing. I do think the interior decor of Pauline's house, from last season, when Henry helped her put away the dining table leaves before or after Thanksgiving, is somewhat similar to the HHH's. Just throwing that out in response to the upthread query about Henry's socioeconomic background. Man, no wonder Sally was so scared the night she read about the Richard Speck murders. I wonder who or what lives in the upper tower? Surely MW will talk about this house on the DVD commentary.

As for Betty, I certainly thought the amount of weight she gained in so little time was completely unrealistic, given that we haven't seen her turn to food like that for earlier stressses and unhappiness. I also think of her in earlier seasons as a chain smoker and heavy wine drinker, surely using both to curb her appetite. She rarely smoked in this season, which doesn't make sense at all. Back then the dieters I knew who were smokers smoked even more, to help them get through food cravings. It was pointed out to me on this blog that she might have stopped or cut down on her drinking because Weight Watchers' plan wouldn't have allowed it. That makes sense. But given how the wine glass and cigarette were appendanges in the previous four seasons, the wirters should have said something, made a reference to it. It would have made more sense to me if Henry had "forbidden" her to smoke and she agreed, but then put on some weight. But not that much.

Writing this comment now, after seeing her throughout the remainder of the series, I'd say Weight Watchers is working extraordinarily well. By the end of the season she is not nearly as heavy as in "Tea Leaves."

#582

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Posted Jun 25, 2012 @ 10:33 PM

Betty's weight gain is probably a stretch, but MW had JJ's baby belly to deal with and he chose that way. It jarred me at first,but I think he used it to bring out many issues bigger women face and to incorporate Weight Watchers, a new but real presence at the time into the mix.

#583

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 7:49 AM

MW had JJ's baby belly to deal with

I would have preferred he find just about ANY other way to deal with it. Limit her to telephone scenes, put her in bed with a broken leg...

I think he used it to bring out many issues bigger women face


But MM characters have always been CHARACTERS not stand-ins for "issues," so I don't think he was going for this. I think Matt Weiner honestly believed it was a plausible development for Betty, and I disagree, so different strokes. I generally like S5 quite a bit -- I found some episodes to be among MM's very best ever -- but this storyline had negative value for me. I'm sorry Jon Hamm was stuck directing this episode for his first time at the helm.

#584

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 8:05 AM

I would have preferred he find just about ANY other way to deal with it. Limit her to telephone scenes, put her in bed with a broken leg...


On one hand, we've had hints and acknowledgments of Betty's food issues over the years. But OTOH, knowing how tightly wound she is, it is kind of hard to believe that she would just let go and gain a ton of weight like that. In the Inside Episode commentary, MW said or implied that Betty was depressed. I guess you can trace it back to that episode at the end of S4 when she and Don met at the house in Osining (sp?) and she acknowledged that things weren't 'perfect' with Henry, and then Don dropped the bomb that he was engaged to Megan. So if you put all that together, maybe it's believable. But I'm with you, it was a storyline that didn't really go anywhere for me.

I'm just not feeling the idea of Betty being that depressed. It will be interesting to see how she's doing when S6 starts.

#585

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 8:54 AM

Betty is a former fat kid (who once took up therapy time reminscing about how much she loved hot dogs and burgers) who no longer has a distant, extremely handsome husband she feels she has to stay perfect for. Instead, Henry will love her the same no matter what and his much less glamorous. I thought her storyline made perfect sense for the character.

given that we haven't seen her turn to food like that for earlier stressses and unhappiness


What about in Season 3 when she was unhappy in her marriage and had the Henry situation and we had the shot of her in the middle of the night at the refridgerator eating cold chicken as a stress relief?

Prior to that she cared too much about being Don's perfect companion to let it happen.

Edited by Cherith, Jun 26, 2012 @ 9:01 AM.


#586

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

I think another important element when thinking about Betty's weight is her possibly changing feelings towards her mother. That was the person that was the hardest on Betty about her weight growing up. When we first met Betty her mother had just died and it was a big issue for her, though Don didn't give her an outlet to talk about it until he sent her to the psychiatrist (a poisoned well since the two men were basically conspiring against her).

Last season she spoke to Sally's psychiatrist and while she didn't have any big breakthroughs about her mother there or anything I tend to imagine her new life with Henry etc. maybe bringing her to another stage in dealing with the relationship she had with her mother. So I imagine her acting out against her mother as much or more than not being worried about being perfect for Don (though "testing" Henry could be part of that too).

#587

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 9:42 AM

Taking thoughts on Betty's weight to the Betty thread...

Edited by rogaine2233, Jun 26, 2012 @ 9:55 AM.


#588

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Posted Jun 26, 2012 @ 4:12 PM

What about in Season 3 when she was unhappy in her marriage and had the Henry situation and we had the shot of her in the middle of the night at the refridgerator eating cold chicken as a stress relief?

I think you may be confusing episodes. The only cold chicken scene I recall is in Ep. 2-13, after she came home from her encounter with Captain Awesome. And I think her stress had already been relieved. ;-)

#589

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Posted Jul 3, 2012 @ 11:35 PM

I packed on 50 pounds in one year -- it just started snowballing. Betty was depressed but rather than face her leap from the frying pan into Henry's loving arms, she let herself go.

But I don't get the point of the cancer scare. It only lasted for the one episode, and had no lasting effect in the story. The whole thing was odd.

#590

peeayebee

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Posted Jul 4, 2012 @ 8:52 AM

I like that MW chose to deal with JJ's pregnancy this way. I always find it amusing and distracting when a pregnant actress in scenes is carrying big purses or standing behind various obstructions or sitting on the couch with pillows on her lap. Betty's weight issues played a part in her jealousy toward Megan and wanting to poison the well, using Sally to do so. If Betty had been as slim and gorgeous as usual, her jealousy wouldn't have made as much sense. Yes, there's the age difference, which is highlighted by clothing and hairstyles, but I think it would have been more difficult for audiences to understand Betty's insecurity had she looked the same.

I suppose one reason for the cancer scare was to give Betty motivation for losing weight. At first she thought she could blame her weight gain on issues with her thyroid or whatever, but when that turned out to be benign, she realized that she had only herself to blame. It was a jarring experience for her.

#591

Lollia Pollina

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Posted Jul 4, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

Betty's weight issues played a part in her jealousy toward Megan and wanting to poison the well, using Sally to do so. If Betty had been as slim and gorgeous as usual, her jealousy wouldn't have made as much sense.


Jealousy need not always be directed toward a person of the same sex. IMO, Betty is envious of Don's happiness and sucess in the face of her own lingering discontent. He was the guilty party in their marriage and he's thriving, and the unfairness of that rankles.

But I don't get the point of the cancer scare. It only lasted for the one episode, and had no lasting effect in the story. The whole thing was odd.


I think the point was to make Betty more sympathetic. Every scene of Betty being an absolute bitch (like using her daughter to attack Don and Megan) is balanced by one that shows her humanity, and vice versa. This arc generated a lot of sympathy for Betty. Look at last season's comments vs this season's, and there are a lot more positive comments about the character this season. The storyline really earned her a lot of audience goodwill.

Edited by Lollia Pollina, Jul 4, 2012 @ 10:00 AM.


#592

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Posted Jul 4, 2012 @ 8:19 PM

It also showed how much feeling there still is between Don and Betty. She called him immediately when Henry wasn't available, and he was really worried for her and wanted to make it all better. He called her "Birdie," which he's never used on anyone else.

It gave Betty a chance to take stock of herself and her life as well. In the scene where she held Baby Gene, you could almost hear her wondering if she'll live to see him grow up.

It was in keeping with the themes of the season that our principal characters are getting older and many are showing signs of age. Other than the problem with her hands (was that ever explained, or do we just assume it was nerves?), this is Betty's first big health issue.

Edited by GreekGeek, Jul 4, 2012 @ 8:22 PM.


#593

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 8:00 AM

I think another important element when thinking about Betty's weight is her possibly changing feelings towards her mother. That was the person that was the hardest on Betty about her weight growing up.


Indeed. Although we didn't see Betty's mother she was clearly "the voice in her head" and we heard her channeling her mother's thoughts all throughout the series. Of course we hear Sally doing the same thing. The expression that we all turn into our parents is not far off the mark. You have to make a conscious effort to avoid certain behaviors to change some of the deeper in-grained patterns.

But I don't get the point of the cancer scare. It only lasted for the one episode, and had no lasting effect in the story. The whole thing was odd.


I'm a bit torn on this. Certainly, of all the episodes, Tea Leaves seems the least connected. I loved the "say what you always say" bit -- it immediately reconnected me to Betty. I also thought the whole unhappy middle age woman who is struggling with her weight fit in with the seasonal themes and was very relevant. So the cancer aspect was slightly odd because it came and went. OTOH, it served to get Betty to deal with her weight. It's a completely common occurrence to have a cancer scare. It also showed how stupid doctor's treated women and how the "c" word was considered an imminent death sentence. And from Don/Megan it showed their age differences, his worries about his children ("we're worried about you" to the stranger was spot on) and of course the whole generational theme of the season. But never mentioning it again was less than ideal.

So, I think that they could have done something like have Betty do a follow-up or at least talk about her cancer-scare later on with Henry to at least let us know that the "c" word had an effect on her. IF they had shown Betty struggling with mortality as well as weight loss a bit, then the cancer scare would have had a greater pay-off.

IDK. I guess as a stand-alone episode and a particular plot it worked fine. In context with the rest of the season, I think a single scene later on in the year (where Betty's actions or words reflect on what the scare did to her perspective) would have really made it better.

Then again, with MW redefining glacial pace, it's possible it'll pop up again in S6. But I'm not holding out hope. The photo of Delores for Lane's story was ultimately just a bitter reality check for Rebecca post-mortem and nothing more.

#594

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

IDK. I guess as a stand-alone episode and a particular plot it worked fine. In context with the rest of the season, I think a single scene later on in the year (where Betty's actions or words reflect on what the scare did to her perspective) would have really made it better.


I agree. I think it would have worked better if the thread was gently pulled through the rest of the episodes, but I imagine that was due to JJ's schedule as much as anything else.

The way the storyline was handled really exemplifies for me the good and bad about S5--some great individual episodes, but then not enough follow through, and too much time spent on some storylines (especially one *cough*) and not enough on others. I'm going to try to go back and appreciate the individual episodes more.

#595

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

It also showed how stupid doctor's treated women and how the "c" word was considered an imminent death sentence.


I didn't think Betty's doctor treated her stupidly. He was less than perfectly tactful, but he did take her weight problem seriously and examine her. Then and now, a lot of doctors just prescribe pills and go on to the next patient, but he didn't do that.

I've been to doctors who strictly ration their patients to ten minutes and one complaint to maximize billings. I've been to doctors who use their g.p. practice as a means of touting their more lucrative trade in botox injections and cosmetic procedures. Compared to these exemplars of 21st Century medicine, Betty's 1960s doctor holds his end up pretty well.

#596

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

Betty's 1960s doctor holds his end up pretty well.


You're right! I stand corrected. I re-watched the scene and he was really good for his era. I guess I was remembering Betty saying they don't say anything but I don't think she was a reliable witness in this case.

I also watched the scene with her former neighbor. Heartbreaking!

#597

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 7:47 PM

You're right! I stand corrected. I re-watched the scene and he was really good for his era. I guess I was remembering Betty saying they don't say anything but I don't think she was a reliable witness in this case.


He was pretty dismissive, at first, basically called her a bored housewife. But he seemed more annoyed that she was asking for diet pills for a situation where diet and exercise would work than dismissive of the complaints of a woman.Basically, he saw through her. So, it isn't a wrong impression to have. But then he got right to work and seemed quite competent and respectful. And acted quickly.

Edited by Cherith, Jul 5, 2012 @ 7:50 PM.


#598

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Posted Jul 5, 2012 @ 11:45 PM

I agree. I think it would have worked better if the thread was gently pulled through the rest of the episodes, but I imagine that was due to JJ's schedule as much as anything else.

I think it was as much a thematic issue as a practical one. This season wasn't really about people struggling with life-altering drama. It was about what happens when the drama is over -- when people think they've surmounted whatever obstacle was in their path and they don't have to dig deep or pull together to accomplish their goals anymore.

From that perspective, it sort of makes sense that Betty's cancer scare would be raised and dismissed in the course of one episode. The point was to present this tragedy that instantly gives Betty's life more meaning -- a lame fortune teller reads your tea leaves, and suddenly her platitudinous words seem deep and tragic; your ex-husband didn't care about anything but his new child bride, and suddenly he's deeply concerned for your well-being -- and then to snatch it all away again. How do you deal with not being tragic? How do you cope if you're just fat because you're fat?

For someone like Betty, who spent years in a legitimately tragic situation, forced to fight to stay beautiful to hold Don's wandering eye, it's quite an unfamiliar and difficult situation.

Edited by Dev F, Jul 5, 2012 @ 11:47 PM.


#599

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Posted Jul 6, 2012 @ 6:35 AM

It was about what happens when the drama is over -- when people think they've surmounted whatever obstacle was in their path and they don't have to dig deep or pull together to accomplish their goals anymore.


Isn't that the truth! It also directly translates to "x will make me happy" and then when you achieve "x" and are not 'happy' then you look for "y" to make you happy.

I'm going to pop over to "All Seasons" as I'm starting to drift from Tea Leaves.

#600

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Posted Jul 8, 2012 @ 11:06 PM

It wasn't that common for doctors to mention exercise in addition to diet for overweight women. My mother was on all kinds of diets throughout her life, but no one ever prescribed exercise for her. And in early 1967, as a high school student I went to my doctor about my weight problem -- at 5' tall, I was 122 lbs, and needed to drop about 15 pounds. My doctor put me on a very strict diet, but never mentioned exercise (being young and relatively healthy, I lost them quickly).

I know their were people like Jack Lalanne and Bonnie Prudden, but the majority of overweight women were usually just put on strict, restrictive diets.