Alarming News

August 2, 2010

The maddest of men

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.

Posted by Karol at 10:16 AM |

Great analysis, Karol. How’d you like that Don even pulled the “It never happened” magic trick with his secretary? There’s gotta be a limit to that and maybe that time is coming.

Henry seems to be in Betty’s thrall, but I have no idea why.

Posted by: Kate P at August 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

Thanks, Kate!

It’s funny because of all the things I criticize about Don, I don’t get why it was so wrong for him to ignore what happened with Allison. She’s his secretary, she knows you don’t sleep with the boss. Joan would’ve never made it awkward the next day by expecting anything from him.

About Henry, I agree with Alan Sepinwall ( “Henry seems to be growing understandably frustrated with her – he has to recreate their early kiss in the car to remind himself of why he chose to marry her – and even he doesn’t understand why she won’t look for another house already.” That is not a marriage that should last.

Posted by: Karol at August 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Ohhh yes, and we are eagerly awaiting the train wreck that’s gonna be when the marriage falls apart.

Posted by: Kate P at August 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Don already has a soul mate: unfortunately he and Peggy are too alike to actually get along together outside the office.

Better a loser than married to Betty.

Posted by: someone at August 4, 2010 at 12:40 am

I don’t see any attraction of frisson at all between Don and Peggy and ultimately, it’s a sexual connection that separates friends from couples.

Posted by: Karol at August 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm

And also, Betty is the best Don could ever do.

Posted by: Karol at August 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm
Post a comment