Meditations on Don Draper (Part 2)

One sign of mental health – mine, not any of the characters – is that I did not know January Jones was pregnant and that Matt Weiner had to write “Fat Betty” around the real-life circumstances of the actress’ life. This admission of ignorance might place me in the “devoted fan” category and disqualify me from the “obsessed fan” category. Yeah for me!

Yes, I gasped audibly when Betty first appeared on screen. At first, I thought Betty was pregnant because she was so huge. Then I thought she was dying. Now we know that she is simply in stasis: unhappy with the way her life has turned out and severely missing Don. I do not see any way possible for she and Don to reunite, but there is plenty of opportunity for sparks of conflict in two marriages over the bond-that-cannot-be-killed between Betty and Don.

Poor momma’s boy Henry Francis. The guy seems to be a paragon of righteous manhood, someone you would want your son to grow up like…except then you remember how he seduced a married woman, pushed her divorce her husband, and married Betty based on her looks. You gotta think that Henry is getting what he deserves.

The more we see the new Mrs. Draper in action, the more we like her. She may not be smarter than Betty, but she sure knows how to use her smarts better. She is so confident that she can joke about how Betty will use any excuse to call Don. She is protective of Don as well as diplomatic at a client dinner. She is so freakin’ perfect, that we will absolutely hate it more than ever when Don cheats on her.

At least one commentator seems to think that Peggy is getting screwed over in the hiring of Mike Ginsberg and his assignment to Mohawk Airlines. I do not agree because Mohawk is a big account only for appearances and the work will be tedious – as waste of Peggy’s talents. Also, Don put her in charge of the hiring process and she made what appears to be a good decision (despite Stan’s advice; note to Matt Weiner: please fire Stan and hire Sal).

Roger, Roger, Roger. He wants to figure out a way to become relevant again, but he misses one crucial point: he was never relevant. His father – and then Bert Cooper – handed him everything. He never had to scratch and claw for anything, the way Pete has. And now Pete is treating him the way he used to treat Pete. This may be a way to set Roger up for redemption (or his fifth heart attack).

Another commentator claimed that Don was flirting with the teenage girls at the Rolling Stones concert and another claimed that Don was a “fogey.” Though I believe Don to be a dinosaur, I disagree with both assessments. Fogies cannot hold the attention of young people and Don clearly showed himself to be a capable cross-generational communicator. Also, though the girl was flirting with Don, he was doing several things for more subtle. He was: 1) assessing the cultural distance between himself and the girl; 2) conducting market research; and 3) preparing himself for Sally’s coming of age.

Oh, and that house! Now we know why Don referred to Betty and Henry as “Morticia and Lurch.” How will Sally, Bobby, and Baby Draper survive living like the Addams family?

Now for the questions:

Question #1: what is going on with the guy from Heinz? He is not supposed to be “creative,” but he has come up with two great ideas: 1) remaking the image of beans for a younger generation; and 2) getting the Rolling Stones song in a TV commercial. What will be his next idea? And why isn’t Don coming up with these ideas?

Question #2: OK, SCDP has diversified its staff, but what role did Joan play in any of this? If she was not part of the hiring of Don’s new secretary, Dawn, how is she going to feel when she returns to work?

Question #3: that teenage girl from the concert has Don’s business card. Is she going to re-appear?


About Stephen Dedalus, Jr.

I am trying to awaken from the history of my ancestor's nightmare to comment on my Holy Trinity of Interests: art, literature, and music. Oh, and thoughts on dysfunctional families, which is to say families.
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