Grab your most cherished JC Penney bag, down a case of cheap beer, and try to be open to the final episode of Smoke Gets in Your Ears. For the last time, AJ, Kenn, and Joe set their sights on our favorite Madison Avenue advertising executives and all their assorted hopes and dreams. In discussing the Mad Men series finale “Person to Person,” the boys talk about everyone’s attempts to break the cycle, the ever-present theme of renewal, and whether or not Dick Whitman’s final epiphany is a cynical one. It’s been a long ride; hopefully, we found our waitress. Thank you for listening. Plus, don’t miss the series finale of Hamm Watch!
Not much in this world is surprising. The irony of this statement is that in order to tell you about how Paul surprises AJ in this episode, we have to give away said surprise: this is the one where Paul finally watches Breaking Bad. AJ remained in the dark the whole time, misled by Paul to think some ominous present was on its way; turns out the present is a discussion of Vince Gilligan’s acclaimed morality tale, which long-time listeners will remember Paul refused to watch for years. What did he think of it? You’ll have to listen for yourself. Featuring surprise guests K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey, authors of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad!
Next: The Debatable Podcast host Greg Sahadachny joins Paul and AJ continue their Four-Color Flashback look at Jeff Smith’s Bone with Vol. III: Eyes of the Storm.
For the penultimate installment of Smoke Gets in Your Ears, AJ, Kenn, and Joe take “The Milk and Honey Route,” on which our characters begin to find themselves. Pete takes a job interview and gets more than he expected. Betty goes to class and learns more than she bargained for. Don stops in Kansas and gets to teach a lesson. It’s as if, with only one episode left, the confused and frustrated citizens of Mad Men are inching nearer and nearer to something like self-acceptance. It’s about time. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!
Killer robots. Mind-controlling witches. Suits of armor from space. Dudes with frosted tips. All of this and so! much! more! is contained within Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly anticipated sequel to Joss Whedon’s 2012 extravaganza. The reception has been decidedly less rapturous than that which accompanied the first film, so Paul and AJ dig into what works about the movie, what doesn’t, whether or not Whedon goofed up Black Widow, and just how much creative control a filmmaker can have over one of these things. Plus, AJ makes a case for a much smaller film, Seymour: An Introduction.
Next: Paul got AJ a present. Ominous!
In the pre-penultimate (?) episode of Mad Men, “Lost Horizon,” Don takes a ride, Peggy rollerskates to Roger’s organ accompaniment, and Joan attempts to burn it all down. AJ, Kenn, and Joe discuss the SC&P gang’s anonymity at McCann, whether or not we’ve seen certain of our characters take their curtain calls, and just where the hell Don thinks he’s going. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!
Our month-long celebration of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki reaches its bittersweet conclusion with a look at Miyazaki’s purported final film, 2013’s The Wind Rises; and Mami Sunada’s documentary about its making, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Joining Paul and AJ for their final descent into the world of Studio Ghibli is Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast co-hosts Kenn Edwards and Joseph Lewis. The gang discusses the parallels between Miyazaki and The Wind Rises‘ aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, Miyazaki’s surprisingly fatalistic outlook on life, and–naturally–the grand folly of art. Plus, Joe makes an exciting announcement!
Next: leaping from one Disney-distributed universe to another, Paul and AJ enter The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Like “Shut the Door. Have a Seat” and “For Immediate Release” before it, “Time & Life” signals a time of great change in the lives of the Sterling Cooper gang. Can Don and the others pull off yet another gambit to save the agency? Why does this feel so familiar and yet so different? AJ, Kenn, and Joe explore these questions and what they mean at this point in the show’s life. Meanwhile, Peggy and Stan have a heart-to-heart, and Pete deals with a weird old money blood feud. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!