August 2, 2010
If you haven’t seen last night’s Mad Men, don’t click on.
Back in November of 2009, I wrote a defense of Betty Draper. My last paragraph:
Finally, let’s face it, a Don without a Betty is a loser. He’s a Roger Sterling chasing skirts and having everyone call him pathetic behind his back. Betty makes Don the man he is, she gives him his swagger. The defeated look on his face when she tells him she knows all of his secrets is proof that he needed her to love him and believe in him. Now that she doesn’t, he’s a deflated version of himself. What’s he going to do? Take up with the schoolteacher? Try to find Rachel? Go back to hippies and stewardesses and other men’s wives? Don has no respect for Roger and ultimately would have no respect for himself. Betty on his arm is the dream. And how can Don sell the dream unless he’s living it?
Can we just pause for a moment and celebrate my rightness? How pathetic is Don? He’s so pathetic that after being turned down by Jane’s friend, and then by the focus group lady, and then by the nurse next door, he makes a move on his secretary. Ick. Even Roger went after someone else’s secretary, pissing in your own chips being unadvisable and all that. He’s so pathetic that an employee of his firm, where he used to be king, where women wanted to sleep with him and men wanted to be him, calls him pathetic. He has everyone’s pity, even his cleaning lady. A woman may need a man like a fish needs a bicycle, but a man needs a woman like…a man.
I like the return of creepy Glenn, played by Marten Weiner, who I recently learned is the son of show creator Matthew Weiner. Are you sure, Matthew? Are you absolutely sure your wife didn’t know Alfred Molina at the time?
Anyway, Glenn is an equal-opportunity lover of Draper women and an aid to women in distress, which is almost cute. Almost. But mostly scary.
It was an episode of awkwardness. Roger’s humiliation, Peggy yelling at Freddie, Don’s rejections and worse, his success with Allison, it was the kind of show one watches with their hands over their eyes. Was it Mad Men or Curb Your Enthusiasm? Not sure.
With all my patting myself on the back for being right about Don’s descent, I admit I really didn’t think that Betty would go through with marrying Henry. Yes, even when Matthew Weiner spelled out that her marriage to Don really was over and no, they’re not kidding about that. It’s just, who does that? Who leaves their husband for a man they met like 3 times? (I don’t think she was wrong to leave, as I laid out in my defense of her, but to leave for Henry? That’s crazy!) She’s a silly woman, Henry’s mom got that right. And Don’s line from the first episode of the season was killer too: “Believe me, we all think this is temporary!” to Henry. Henry seems to know it too. How sad for Betty. Where does a beautiful woman of 1964, with 3 children and 2 (possibly) failed marriages, go? I guess we’ll find out.