Like with many a quality show, I jumped on the MAD MEN bandwagon about six years late due to a combination of being behind on a million other quality shows and my well-documented distaste for women both big-breasted and loose.
I had of course heard of its protagonist Don Draper (Jon Hamm, someone I’d only seen in BRIDESMAIDS and superhero manips).
Draper is a polarizing figure. Some people think he’s awesome. Some think he’s terrible. Most have an opinion about him. Based on my hopelessly archaic findings after having seen the first season, the data I have acquired suggests that Don Draper is…
A WELL WRITTEN CHARACTER!
Which means that:
A) He is a cool guy sometimes.
B) He is an asshole sometimes.
He is not a cool guy because he smokes, drinks and womanizes. Pretty much everyone does that at Sterling Cooper, the fictional ad agency Mad Men is situated at. You might as well think he’s awesome for drinking water from the watercooler. In fact, I’m drinking some sweet ass SPA right now. Weak in the knees yet?
But why is Don a cool guy then?
He’s a classy guy, loves his kids, is slick as fuck and seems to treat people in weaker positions respectfully enough (as opposed to some of his coworkers).
But why is he terrible then?
See above picture.
Look, I understand Don’s deal. Death’s been haunting him all his life, ever since his WHORE MAMA died in childbirth. He needs to live like there’s no tomorrow to take his mind off the fact that one day there won’t be.
As he worked his way up in the New York advertising world, he was under the impression that having the perfect wife/house/family would distract him from this terrible fact. Having achieved this, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t having them, it was pursuing them. Building the idylle.
The moments where I dislike Don Draper are when he gets mad at his wife Betty for totally inconsequential shit. Don may be playing house when it suits him and getting his kicks elsewhere, Betty is living house sans additional kicks. You know shit is bad when a pushy AC salesman appears in the house and instead of being afraid the lonesome lady gets raped, you’re hoping she’ll enjoy some good ole Letter To Penthouse adultery. Seriously, if someone told me that season 1 was just the prolonged origin story of supervillain HOUSEWRAITH and her sidekick BOITAKU (secret identities: Betty Draper and Glenn Bishop) I’d buy it.
My conclusion must end in a COP OUT of Kevin Smith proportions.
A) Don mans the fuck up and starts respecting Betty as a person (the Bruce Willis option)
B) They stop the charade and divorce, disaster for all (the Tracy Morgan option)
C) They tacitly agree to stay out of each other’s way and keep living the Perfect Colgate & Coca Cola lie (the Seann William Scott option)
I’m not going to spoil myself, but I’m hoping for A since B would be too hard on poor Betty and… well… regarding option C…