Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Christina Hendricks

Agent DVD kindly gave Triple P a copy of Season 1 of Mad Men on Blu-ray for his birthday (we think- it could have been Christmas). Agent DVD (perhaps we should change his name to Agent Blu-ray) has, on several occasions remarked on the fact that I would enjoy it and how right he is! We have to give special mention to one of the greatest TV show title sequences ever which deservedly won an Emmy for best main title design.

Agent Triple P thinks that it is the most consistently enjoyable US drama series he has seen since The West Wing. Indeed, Elizabeth Moss, who played Zoe Bartlett in the latter series has a prominent role in this one. To say it has won a lot of awards is an understatement; around forty so far. We enjoyed it so much that we have already watched the second and third series as well. HMS, it seems did not enjoy it, believing that it was a "soap-opera". In fact, as the show evolved I did actually see what he meant. This tied in with an increasing irritation with the character of Betty, the "hero", Don Draper's wife. It is a tribute to the completely lovely January Jones that she can build a character out of a varied collection of pouts, frowns and scowls. But she is such an annoying character that we actually enjoy her being miserable!

This is an unusual period for a retro-set show. Usually when producers go back to the Sixties it is to the mini-skirted Swinging Sixties or the late sixties of the hippies not the first few years of the decade. These were, in many ways, almost like a few extra years of the fifties before the decade developed its own character later.

Apart from the drama itself, Agent Triple P is very much enjoying the cars, the interiors and clothing (especially the lingerie) of this period, which have been beautifully realised by the, rightly, award winning art, hair and costume departments. Its not entirely perfect. Some of the fonts used are anachronistic (yes, there are websites devoted to looking at the use of fonts in film and TV!) as are the typewriters (from rather later than 1960) and some of the magazines and books the characters read look fifty years old. Nevertheless, its a great achievement for a TV show.

The music is equally distinctive being a mixture of period pieces (largely avoiding the usual rock and roll for a jazzier sound) and very good pastiche "lounge" music by David Carbonara. A musical highlight for Triple P was Gordon Jenkins' haunting version of Juan Tizol's Caravan (from Jenkins' not very imaginatively titled 196o album Gordon Jenkins presents Marshall Royal), featuring Marshall Royal on alto saxaphone, played over the end titles of the opening episode.

However, the finest thing in the show is Christina Hendricks as bitchy uber-secretary Joan. We hate to say it but there was a woman just like her in Agent Triple P's previous office. New secretaries coming into the office who didn't meet with her approval usually left in despair a few weeks later after a smilingly delivered barrage of the most surgical of cutting comments. Triple P liked her a great deal!

Christina Hendricks in the much missed Firefly

Miss Hendricks, sadly, is not a real red-head (otherwise she would have appeared on red-head of the week on Venus Observations) but rather a natural blonde. Born in Tennessee but raised in Idaho she was thirty-five on Monday! She has appeared in many TV shows but Triple P remembers her from a recurring role in, the sadly terminated after one season, Science Fiction show, Firefly where she played arch con-artist Saffron. We suspect that her appearance in Mad Men (for which she has won several awards) will make her a bigger star but, hopefully, not so big that she isn't in series four of which starts being shown in the US in July.

In her role as Joan she gives one of the most physically studied performances Triple P has seen since Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. From her head to her feet each movement is presented rather than just happening. We also have to say that her ability to sashay away from the camera is unmatched on modern TV or film. Monica Bellucci in the second Matrix film, Joan Chen in The Last Emperor or Ornella Muti in Flash Gordon are the only ones who are in the same league. Partly, she claims, this is because of the fact that the producers of the show make the female cast wear authentic period style lingerie while on set.

Last month Christina was voted the sexiest woman alive by the readers of Esquire Magazine joining an illustrious series of A-list stars who have held the title previously. Interestingly 30% of women contributing to their annual woman's attitudes survey also voted her the most attractive clebrity.

There has been much discussion of her awesome bust with suggestions that she is a 38DDD. In fact, she is a more believable but still impressive 38D, it seems. Nevertheless, photographers at Hollywood events flock to her like moths to two flames and she does not seem particularly shy about her assets.

Rather the opposite, in fact!

Labels: ,