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Michael Ginsberg: Original Copy


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#1

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 1:09 AM

For the first 2 minutes I wanted him off the screen. Now I just want him.

#2

Jenn

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 5:35 PM

I think I found his oddness attractive. I'm interested in his backstory. Why so many changes of job? And what was his dad doing after he told him he'd got the job?

#3

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 6:57 PM

I think he needs to buy an iron and learn how to use it.

#4

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Posted Apr 4, 2012 @ 2:45 PM

Ah, to each his own. See I lam a sucker for the disheveled scruffboy look. "I am too busy being an artist to worry about ironing!". And the love-him-or-hate-him reaction from the agency so far. His instinct trumps his social acumen. He is able to sense things others are not, and talk to the public out-of-the-box. And kneels looking out of the window, like a child.

I think I believe in him because of Peggy's acutely positive reaction to his talent. I think they are going to have to deal with accepting his eccentricity as part and parcel of a creative personality, the way Don's superpowers protected him from his other character defects. It seems they could have a lot of fun with people who want to defend and keep him versus those who he's rubbed the wrong way.

#5

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Posted Apr 4, 2012 @ 4:32 PM

I agree, repag. If he's really good, no one will mind his eccentricities. Don can disappear for weeks at a time with no consequences.

#6

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Posted Apr 4, 2012 @ 6:14 PM

I think I found his oddness attractive. I'm interested in his backstory. Why so many changes of job? And what was his dad doing after he told him he'd got the job?


Job jumping is usually a bad sign. Wondering where this is going to go...

#7

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Posted Apr 5, 2012 @ 2:16 PM

Ginsbergian resumes

And I like to believe that he went on to become Mike Salisbury or someone like that.

Edited by repag, Apr 7, 2012 @ 4:33 PM.


#8

Blue32

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

Tom and Lorenzo's recap at tomandlorenzo.com pointed out what should have been obvious to me: Michael is the male Peggy. Humble background? Check. Bad dresser? Check. Talented? Check. Socially awkward? Check. Religious parental figure? Check. It all seems dialed up a notch, though. Peggy was a bad dresser (she seems less awful lately), while Michael is a horrific dresser. Peggy had recognizable talent in Season 1, but Michael appears to be a genius (...although it's hard to tell, since men would be less likely to throw around the "genius" word where a woman is concerned). Peggy is socially awkward, but Michael's eccentric and inappropriate.

One interesting thing about Michael, though, is that he seems much less concerned with Don's reaction this episode than you would expect Peggy to be; Peggy never would have pulled the bait and switch with the Cinderella pitch that Michael did, either. He just shrugged off Don's reprimand, whereas Peggy has always taken Don's harsh comments quite personally. His lack of deference to Don was very interesting.

SueB, I agree that there is a lot about Michael's behaviour that is ambiguous (...or even schizophrenic, given his expressed aversion to the lurid photographs followed by his rape culture pitch), so time will tell where it's going. I saw one comment that Michael seems to be like a very bright teenager, in that he's testing boundaries to see what he can get away with. Your point about the writers making a Jewish character a "bad guy" was interesting; Jane and her cousin (Danny) haven't been presented in the most positive light, either, although Rachel from Season 1 came across as a very strong, positive character, her dalliance with Don notwithstanding.

I've seen the suggestion that Michael's father and/or Michael might be Holocaust survivors (Ben Feldman is close to 32, so if Michael's supposed to be 30 or so, he would have been born in 1936, so the math checks out), which might explain the missing mother. There's also the question of why the subject of women in his life seems to be a touchy one: he insists to Peggy unprompted that he doesn't have any girlfriends, he agrees that he doesn't know anything about women, his dad suggests ordering up two prostitutes to celebrate his new job, he has a strong reaction to the photos followed by the super creepy pitch, etc. I'm not saying he's Patrick Bateman or anything, but there's something going on there.

Edited by Blue32, Apr 9, 2012 @ 8:09 PM.


#9

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 7:39 PM

I'm going to play devil's advocate for a moment. Please note that I am NOT at all convinced that this perspective is right. I'll play "Good Ginzo" and "Bad Ginzo"

Good Ginzo:
- Good first-idea campaign. I wouldn't have called it "genius" but the Butler shoes guys really liked it and thought he got into a woman's head with it.
- Reasonable presentation skills. His "regional accent" did not get in the way.
- Reacted with disgust at what he thought were salacious photos of women
- Perhaps he saw the rest of the staff's reaction to the Life photos and that fueled his Cinderella pitch (shows quick on his feet and insightful)
- Perhaps his taking off after the presentation shows he's got the Don-genius thing going.

Bad Ginzo:
- Trying to make Don his equal with his "I'll see you later" comment and always calling him "Don" versus Mr. Draper.
- Calls himself a genius. (arrogant)
- Premeditated the Cinderella pitch. Anyway you look at it, he planned this. They had said "sold" and when they complimented the him on understanding women and he responds that women confuse him and he keeps thinking about Cinderella. What kind of a natural transition is that. It was a pre-meditated sabatage of their own campaign. What the hell was his motivation? Don had disapproved it earlier and he wanted to go around him and go straight to the client? On his VERY FIRST PITCH? I can't find any benign rationale for this act. "In your heart you know it was good???" he said to Don later. Says he knows Don better than Don.
- He plays the shoe guys - constantly saying "no it's too dark" as he weaves his tale. Okay, maybe advertising wise this is morally-neutral but it's a wee disingenuous for my book.
- He said "in the end she wants to be caught". Hello rape culture. I rarely talk in feminist terms but this seems obvious to me. My apologies to those more familiar with the lingo. He had a sold ad that was good. He pitches a rape culture ad because it has more "juice". So...what exactly are his morals here? Real crime is despicable but rape fantasy is profitable? Really struggling with this. Micheal KNEW his idea was salacious. Even though he could culturally be immune to the plight of women in general, his earlier comments on the photos suggest he believes the that people are attracted to sexual violence so he could make money on that. That is not morally neutral IMO - it's morally bad. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't appreciate the impact advertising has on the culture of society but I have a hard time with his choice as "good" in anyway.
- He's either completely stupid about Don or playing stupid after the "or else" conversation. How could he be so insightful about the way the Butler shoe guys would react and miss Don's threat? If he's THAT people stupid, I'm going to say "not-good Ginzo" but it's a fault. If he understood it was a threat and tried to act like it was nothing then I'd say "Bad Ginzo" because he's playing Don for a fool.


So then, is he "Bad Ginzo", "Good Ginzo", "Stupid Ginzo", or "Morally Ambiguous Ginzo"? What part of "good" and "bad" have I got wrong? (not a hypothetical, really asking here).

On the one hand, making the first Jewish copywriter a bad guy seems highly unlikely to me. On the other hand, that whole Cinderella pitch was pre-meditated. Forgetting for a moment the moral issues with the campaign, he intentionally went around Don. If Don putting him in his place just flowed right off his back, then he's going to continue to mis-behave until Don truly fires him. Don's the 800lb gorilla in the office. If he can't make Ginzo heel-to, no one can.

Finally, let's say he got the threat but is so confident that his ideas sell that Don won't fire him. Then I'd expect him to pull back a bit and not put his toe over the line so far next time. But he WILL push the envelope in a different direction and soon.

The question I have, in that case, is WHY? What is motivating him? He's lucky he has a job. What is he trying to accomplish? Partner in a year? Replace Don as head of creative? Not on this show.

Edited by SueB, Apr 9, 2012 @ 7:40 PM.


#10

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 8:01 PM

Well, he's one of those characters where you wonder--Is he actually that stupid/naive/rough around the edges or is he just faking it as a way to get people to let their guard down around him?

#11

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 8:03 PM

I'm not sure I see him as either good or bad. I actually put him on par with Don as a creative genius and genius people march to the beat of their own drummer. How many clients did Don throw out of the office because they didn't like his ideas? Ginz actually SOLD his idea. Don hoodwinked Roger into giving him a job at SC in the first place. I'm sure he didn't start as creative director and I'm reasonably confident that he pulled many Ginz like moves. Ginsberg is Don in many ways, but withouth the twisted psyche and the constant philandering.

#12

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 9:51 PM

I love Ginsberg already, what a wardrobe!

One interesting thing about Michael, though, is that he seems much less concerned with Don's reaction this episode than you would expect Peggy to be; Peggy never would have pulled the bait and switch with the Cinderella pitch that Michael did, either. He just shrugged off Don's reprimand, whereas Peggy has always taken Don's harsh comments quite personally. His lack of deference to Don was very interesting.

It reminded me of series 1 Pete and the backbone of America idea he pitched off the record, except this time, highlighting the change in the agency's dynamic and perhaps also Don's power over his employees, he didn't fire Ginsberg as he did Pete, he just threatened to, before spluttering out some coughs, which rather took away any potential menace! The fact that Don said it twice, and the second time with added pointed emphasis, made me think he was aware it was a weakened threat because they actually need Ginsberg, and Ginsberg had done a good job regardless of whether it was a sly move. Pete's idea had been good too, but back then Don had a higher authority with his employees and he was still the resident creative genius. Now... not so much.

To me it seemed to parallel Peggy's casualness over Roger's ridiculous non-threat he could fire her, both Ginz and Peggy are secure that they're the talent bringing the agency work right now, Don and Roger aren't doing much of anything, and they aren't as up on what's trendy.

I think his respect for Don is genuine, but it's a bit like a new rock star paying homage and respect to those of the previous generation. He loved and has respect for Don's work... of the past, because what exactly has Don done recently, when was his last carousel speech or 'letter'. Ginz is very, very assured of his own talents, but he seems to have good reason to be. So perhaps his attitude towards all those previous short term employers has been, meh, I'll do what I think works best, fire me if you want because I have enough talent to just pick up another job. Obviously, it looks like he's supporting himself and his father and they clearly aren't wealthy, so perhaps he'll have to learn to temper his confidence a bit.

His casual treatment of Don is miles away form the nervy way Peggy and most of the ad guys used to pitch their ideas to him like SueB noted, the "see you later!!" thing, which Don seemed taken aback by but didn't know how to handle. In the past he might have slapped a newbie guy down for daring to be equal buddies with him, but I think Don knows there isn't the gulf there once was between the leaders and the workers. Times have changed, they're on the cusp of the creatives being the most important factor in ad agencies, and he's of the bubbling new generation. He doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks of him. We know he's creative, and eccentric, and with all he has going against him at that time (he has gender on his side, but other than that he is, as noted above, very like Peggy in terms of being an underdog) it could be a defensive strategy so that people can't easily victimize him.

There's also the question of why the subject of women in his life seems to be a touchy one: he insists to Peggy unprompted that he doesn't have any girlfriends, he agrees that he doesn't know anything about women, his dad suggests ordering up two prostitutes to celebrate his new job, he has a strong reaction to the photos followed by the super creepy pitch, etc. I'm not saying he's Patrick Bateman or anything, but there's something going on there.


I've seen a number of people about the net speculating he might be gay, I think there's something oddly asexual about the way they've characterised him so far, in contrast to the rest of the men at the agency. He doesn't seem to have that same blokey/jock facade most of them have, flirting wildly, but maybe that just comes from being an outsider. He ignored his dad's suggestion of ''getting girls'', but then, hey, who could blame him for finding that an awkward idea!

Cinderella pitch aside, I'm not sure I'm getting the same creepy vibes others are getting, or at least no more so than any of the other men on the show and their shares of general 60s male creepery. Using the Cinderella thing could go either way, it could be a Don-esque tapping into a part of human nature that's already there, which he witnessed with the photos. Once he'd gotten over his initial (and I thought genuine rather than ''doth protest too much'') disgust, he could have thought about it and seen it as something lucrative, as SueB said. There's already evidence he's listening for new trends, like his provocative ads. Or it could be that because it's an ad, or maybe art to him, he doesn't see it as the same thing, because it's fiction and romanticised - and people weren't looking out for what negative connotations you could construe from ads back then.

Micheal KNEW his idea was salacious. Even though he could culturally be immune to the plight of women in general, his earlier comments on the photos suggest he believes the that people are attracted to sexual violence so he could make money on that.

It could just be conveying how men at the time could actually hold both views - think real rape horrific but also not see a romanticised version as being as bad, not seeing it as the same thing. I say 'at the time' but really it could apply to many filmmakers today.


I do know I find him very funny, though. His random ''You could have TB'' to Don made me giggle.

Edited by Nyoko, Apr 9, 2012 @ 10:01 PM.


#13

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 10:20 PM

I agree that Michael's ad completely contributes to the rape culture, but I also believe he doesn't realize what he's doing, per se. Unfortunately, quite often these ads and pop culture entries are rarely done with the understanding of what they're really promoting. That just makes him complicit in being less than enlightened -- less than perfect -- just like everyone else on this show. But I feel like that shoe ad was a real one in the '80s. A woman in a dark parking lot, sort of looking back over her shoulder? Am I making that up?

Also, I'm firmly in the Holocaust connection camp. He's worn short sleeves though, so if he had been in the camps, he'd have a number, and he doesn't. But I wouldn't be surprised if some family had ended up there.

#14

Blue32

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 10:36 PM

My favourite thing about Ginsberg so far is the reaction faces he gets from Stan and Don. Don's "..." after Ginsberg's "I'll see you later!" was awesome.

I've seen a number of people about the net speculating he might be gay, I think there's something oddly asexual about the way they've characterised him so far, in contrast to the rest of the men at the agency. He doesn't seem to have that same blokey/jock facade most of them have, flirting wildly, but maybe that just comes from being an outsider.

It's possible he might be gay. I'd dismissed it, because we already had the super-closeted gay character (Sal), and the openly gay guy and lesbian characters (Smeeth and Joyce, respectively), so the writers have already played around with those dynamics, but maybe Michael's somewhere in between the two. There is something different about the way he presents himself, though, compared to the other guys in the office (Stan in particular). He doesn't come across as particularly sexual in his manner, but super-brainy types often don't. The glimpses we saw of his portfolio, however, in 5x03 were very sexual stuff. The winking woman and "Would you blow your Half and Half at me?" and the ad with the tagline "Right there on the Bigelow. We don't know what came over us" (!!!). "Provocative" is an understatement. (He did mention that he was at a peep show in 5x03, but the way he said it, he could have been lying, since he originally said he was at the movies.)

Rewatching the scene with the photos, he did seem genuinely disturbed and even upset by the others' reactions, not just assuming a snotty and morally superior position...at least that's the way the actor played it. It made it that much stranger when he took the creepy pitch and ran with it.

But I feel like that shoe ad was a real one in the '80s. A woman in a dark parking lot, sort of looking back over her shoulder? Am I making that up?

Probably not. Jean Kilbourne did a series of films on the image of women in advertising (entitled Killing Us Softly). The first one came out in 1979 and there was some truly creepy shit depicted.

Edited by Blue32, Apr 9, 2012 @ 11:10 PM.


#15

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Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 11:05 PM

I agree that he wasn't aware of the conflict between his commercial and his horror over the photos. I think both his reactions were genuine and just not very well-examined. Lots of people react to things like crime photos or gory movies by accusing other people with different reactions of being morally depraved. He didn't feel that way about his own feelings.

I'm not sure how to understand his ad in terms of trends. On one hand it's very trendy in that the late 60s is the birth of "new horror"--horror movies that capitalize on the fear of the unknown, the fear that the world is a chaotic, dangerous place. But it sounded like Ginsberg was just tapping into a more conservative, old-fashioned romantic view that women want to be overpowered by a handsome man. It was the exact same view put forth by Pauline and Greg. The real view of the future on that score came from Joan!

#16

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Posted Apr 10, 2012 @ 4:37 AM

Perhaps the reason they haven't imbued Michael with any sexuality is so that he could be such a perfect stand-in for the woman in Don's dream.

In his interview, Michael seduced Don with compliments when Don was already intrigued with his assets. Don's relationship with the women he beds and discards is largely one of establishing and playing with notions of power. Don fought off an intruder who tried to rape him. An intruder he actually pulled in, then tried to persuade to go out another direction.

The shoe in Don's dream reflected his moment at the agency when he felt threatened with exposure - as no longer the man of his reputation, as well as never the man he pretends to be.

#17

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Posted Apr 10, 2012 @ 8:45 AM

I hope this character pays off because so far, I'm finding him boring as hell.

A neurotic, socially anxious Jewish New Yorker who is nevertheless a "genius".

Yawn.

#18

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Posted Apr 10, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

I hope this character pays off because so far, I'm finding him boring as hell.

A neurotic, socially anxious Jewish New Yorker who is nevertheless a "genius".

Yawn.

With you there. And I don't enjoy the actor. I can handle Megan better, by far, and I'm not a Megan fan either.

#19

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 4:30 PM

I was confused by the difference between Ginsberg being disturbed by the murder scene photos and the other getting all excited over them vs Ginsberg's skeevy Cinderella pitch. I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to think that Ginsberg manipulated the clients using the fascination he saw his colleagues had with fear/sex - or whether he was genuinely clueless that these issues are related. Or whether there's some issues with him regarding sex and morality that are a little Norman Bates-ish in their execution (wants sex, feels guilty about it).

Edited by Jenn, Apr 11, 2012 @ 4:38 PM.


#20

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:24 PM

I just took it as him getting excited about the pitch he's making because he knows it's a good one and because he knows speaking with conviction sells the product. It's all part of what makes him a genius at his job. I don't think it has to be evidence of his sexual proclivities/hang-ups.

#21

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Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 4:03 PM

I like him. I want to see more of him. I want he and Peggy to get together because I think they are very similar, and I can't stand Abe. That's all for now.

#22

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 1:58 AM

He's Matthew Weiner playing the, "If I were a character on Mad Men" game. With what's meant to come across as cunning self-awareness, and may well be.

A second draft of Glen: just as uncanny though not meant to be unsettling. This time, the disguise between creator and creation is not a precocious neurosis but a safer, far less original schtick and cultural baggage. But look for Ginsberg to drop some devastating insight on a par with Glen's, "Just because you're sad, doesn't mean everyone else has to be."

#23

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 4:38 PM

A second draft of Glen: just as uncanny though not meant to be unsettling.

I never thought of Glen that way. He comes across as such a creepy little guy that he didn't strike me as a self-insert character (unless MW is so lacking in self-awareness).

Now that I think about it, Ginsberg kind of looks like a grown-up version of Glen, though, minus the baby fat.

Interesting that Ginsberg lied to Peggy twice about his father. He said he had "no family," when his father is quite clearly still alive and even lives with him, and when he got the job, he told her to be happy for him, since no one else would be (or something that implied that he didn't have anybody else). Is he ashamed of his father? Is he just desperate to get ahead? Is he lying about other things? It just seemed curious to me.

Edited by Blue32, Apr 14, 2012 @ 4:39 PM.


#24

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 11:48 PM

Interesting that Ginsberg lied to Peggy twice about his father. He said he had "no family," when his father is quite clearly still alive and even lives with him, and when he got the job, he told her to be happy for him, since no one else would be (or something that implied that he didn't have anybody else). Is he ashamed of his father? Is he just desperate to get ahead? Is he lying about other things? It just seemed curious to me.


I won't be surprised if Michael is ashamed of his father - this feeling isn't uncommon for children of immigrants who are trying hard to culturally integrate with the so-called "mainstream." They find their parents an embarrassment because they don't fit what is often considered "appropriate" whether it's language/accent, behaviour, interests, etc...

#25

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 1:22 PM

His Cinderella pitch reminds me of the movie "The Graduate". It plays into the same theme of the woman "secretly wanting it". I recently watched that movie, and I cringed at the last half. Seen in today's time, the main character was a straight up stalker.

#26

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 4:00 PM

Watching s2 again, it sounds to me like Michael has much the same accent as Peggy's mum and sister. Are they from the same area, or is my ear wrong?

#27

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 5:20 PM

I will say, I found his word choice as he defended himself to Don very interesting. He was telling Don basically, "C'mon, you know you wanted it. Really, deep down, that's what you wanted. Don't be mad, I just gave you what you needed," etc. That certainly played into the themes of the episode.

Also, while I do like Ginsberg, I immediately thought of him as a self-insertion character. Which, if he triumphs over Peggy somehow, will be a very interesting thing to take away from it, indeed. And not too flattering to MW.

#28

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

I would have loved to see them cast someone like Robert Downey Jr for this role. He could pull it off, though he's probably too old now. He'd certainly be a great mini-Don though..at least in the looks department.

#29

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

Robert Downey Jr

is 6 years older than Jon Hamm. :-)

I immediately thought of him as a self-insertion character.

I'm not sure what this means. Could you elaborate?

This character was introduced in a very different way than anyone else on the series. Think back to the first appearances of Henry Francis, Conrad Hilton, Megan, even Dr. Faye -- there was no indication they would necessarily be major players in the rest of the story. In contrast, Michael Ginsberg came in under a huge spotlight and with a veritable megaphone in his hand. Another unsettling thing about Season 5. (Not saying that's bad, just different.)

#30

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 6:16 PM

LOL Inquisionist. I know he's too old. He's just always been so great at playing that sardonic, smart-ass character who makes up his own rules in life. Come to think of it, maybe he would have made a good Don Draper, too. Not that I am complaining about Jon Hamm.