Sunday, May 6, 2012

Are we still Mad for Don Draper?

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Chiseled jaw. Check.Ferocious libido. Check. Man of few words. Check. And he smokes and drinks with reckless abandon, which, in a fictional character, can be pretty darn sexy. What's not to like about Don Draper (aka Dick Whitman)the tortured soul at the heart of Mad Men?

I came for the clothes but stayed for the characters. (I suppose the same could be said of my addiction to Downton Abbey, which btw got me a nod from the folks at this week.) Those dresses, those hats. And Joan, who is every full-figured gal's poster girl. But Mad Men belongs to Don.

At first, I shared his Something Happened/Man in the Gray Flannel suit pain. I understood his deception and saw how he got caught up in living a lie. He was hot, he was brilliant and he didn't play by anyone else's rules.

But has he turned into a little bit of a jerk? Why did he ever marry Zou Bisou Bisou? And now that he has,despite his declarations to Pete and anyone else who'll listen as to how much he's changed, why is he treating her like just another hookup? Does anyone else think he should have stayed with the big blonde whose name I've forgotten?

On another note how much do you love not-so-little-anymore Sally? Is she getting an education this season, or what?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I sang Zou Bisou Bisou for DAYS after that episode. Not as well as ..what's her name? But it was SUCH a disturbing scene.

Now they're making her a brilliant ad person and a team player, which is fun.) Yeah, I agree, I liked Don at the beginning, when he was And creative. Then they made him downright creepy and even abusive.
Sally is my candidate for serial killer--selfish and calculating and self-centered. Lies at the drop of a...babysitter. Didn't you love that she said the sitter (Who is she again?) tripped over her brother's toy--when it was really over Sally's phone cord?
Finally--the conversation between Peggy and her mother when she announced she and the beau were going to live together--perfect! I had EXACTLY the same conversation. Word. For. Word.

JAN BROGAN: Wow, Hank, you sang that song for days?  It made me wildly uncomfortable, I felt so embarrassed for poor Megan. But I still root for Betty, which I can't understand because she is so unlikeable.

I actually think Don Draper is improving because he's trying to stay faithful to Megan. At this point in the series, I think he's  truly falling for her and that she is going to dump him as she becomes liberated with the changing times.  But I may be deceiving myself. I saw an interview with Jon Hamm and the cast on Charlie Rose where Jon said the biggest viewer misconception about Don Draper was that "he has redeeming characteristics."  In essence, Jon said, viewers keep ascribing better motives to Don than he really has. (Maybe because he is so good looking? Or because he is the protagonist?)  So that should take us on a wild ride this season.
And I think we should give Sally a break. She's been through a lot and oh, with that mother of hers.  What creeps me out most is her relationship with that kid from the neighborhood. And where is he living now when we see him on the end of that phone? Reform school?

ROSEMARY: That kid is SO CREEPY! He's even hard to look at. If Hank thinks Sally is a potential serial killer (I thought future bra-burner) what does she think of weirdo boy? I see the creator of a Phone Sex empire. Babysitter is Betty's mother-in-law!

HALLIE EPHRON: (Fingers in my ears, humming!) ACK! I have not seen the new episodes! Waiting, waiting -- I get the episodes off Netflix after the season ends and can hardly wait!
But I have to say I never "liked" DD. He's a consummate narcissist, cold, only interested in the quest. And for me the draws of the show are the women, most especially Christina Hendricks/Joan and Elisabeth Moss/Peggy, surviving in a man's world. Yes, and "poor little Sally" who gives as good as she gets--anyone remember The Bad Seed with Patty McCormack? But with parents like that, she's learned from the pros.

ROSEMARY: Hallie don't read this......Have to say I'm curious as to whether or not Skinny Betty will make an appearance this season. Don't especially like (or get the attraction of) Henry but he earned points for telling Chubby Betty she was beautiful.

What do the rest of you think? And pass me that shaker of martinis....


  1. You can't get mad at a fish for swimming. It's his purpose. And seducing women is Draper's entire purpose, hardly an heroic pastime but certainly entertaining to watch. That the rest of his life crumbles as he does so is the purpose and meaning of the show, I think. The opening credits say it all. Draper falling past scads of pretty woman toward his inevitable crash.

  2. Yes, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly - but why marry again so soon? I think NOT screwing around this season has made him a little cranky!

  3. I don't watch MM (can't take one more time sink) but my hub does. He brought me in to see the Zu Bisou Bisou scene because he thought it was so remarkable. So I sang it for a few days too. BTW, John was an advertising man back in the day, but this doesn't remind him much of real life:).

  4. I was hiding quietly in my corner waiting for someone
    else to say they didn't watch Mad Men. Now I can chime in and say
    that I've never seen it. Heard about it. Been recommended to watch
    it. But I've learned that I can't watch TV later than around 9 p.m.
    or my brain will not slow down enough to fall asleep. And we no
    longer have Netflix--I'm simplifying my life and frankly I'd rather
    read. Since I went through life without seeing Dallas once you can
    tell I'm a hopeless case!

  5. Rhys, I hated Dallas. Just hated it. I was living in the UK when it was very big there, and that's all anyone ever asked me about. They thought we all wore cowboy hats and talked like hicks. Grrr. Interestingly, though, we live about ten miles from the set of Southfork Ranch (it was only a set, never a real house) and my daughter had her high school prom there:-)

  6. Lucy and Rhys, thank you. I also don't watch Mad Men.

    Gave up TV years ago, not for cultural reasons but as a time sink. I wanted that time for writing. So when they made everyone get the box for when it all went to HD (or whatever), we just didn't bother. This year when my youngest hooked us on Downton Abbey with the 1st season box set, we had to wait until Mondays and watch it on my laptop.

    Off to my double life today--book signing for EVERY LAST SECRET in the middle of the day, then this evening a book launch for a a great poetry anthology I edited that weaves together the poems of three generations of women from a very gifted family, WOVEN VOICES. See y'all later. xoxo

  7. My husband and I love Mad Men. It's interesting to see how the different characters evolve from episode to episode. They all have their own special personalities and demons. Keep an eye on Megan. I think her father has put her and her mother down during their lives. That's why Mom is giving BJ's to strangers. People may think that Megan's ideas are winners because she's married to Don. However, she's smart in her own right. This is a series that makes people think. Only thing that's difficult is watching the characters smoke. I cringe because it's almost as if they're in the same room with me. Ugh!

  8. Well..I think Sunday night has been television night for me since The Wonderful World of Disney. Thank goodness the three television shows I'm currently hooked on - Mad Men, Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead - are all on at different times of the year. I think I'm allowed to veg for one hour a week!

  9. Rhys and Linda:

    I have never watched Mad Men, so you're not alone! Like Linda, I stopped watching TV when our local cable company required people without HD Sets to get that special thingy; I am all thumbs and I knew I would never be able to set it up on my own, despite their assurances that it was "so easy". (The fact that lots of people I know had no idea how to set up theirs made me feel better about not even trying!) As far as I know, only one person in my life watches MM. I vaguely remember hearing consternation about "disordered lives and all the smoking!"

    (I just looked up and realized I never put the groceries away. I may not be glued to the TV. I am, however, a JRW addict! I DO watch programs on DVD, and most recently purchased Downton Abbey. I also watch some that I borrow from family or the library. I just do not currently subscribe to any TV service.)

    Linda...I finished reading Every Last Secret yesterday morning. I am at such loose ends now! When can we expect the next book?

    (Does anyone have a virtual hangover from the virtual Cinco de Mayo party?)

  10. I don't watch Mad Men because in some ways I lived it,yes I'm that old. It was a very strange time for women. Nor did I watch Dallas because it made me dizzy. I tend toward crime shows just as I do in my reading crime stories. And I'm not so hungover, as i am full :)

  11. I stuck with the mint virtual hangover here! But I'm worn out! What a party!

  12. Ok,Lil, do watch Mad Men (though we've missed a number of episodes) because I also lived it The series starts when I was barely in high school. I notice every phrase that's off. And sometimes their interpretation of the fashions jars me. I still adore the '60s/'70s clothes, and were I svelte, I'd be wearing them still. Betty's weight gain must have been devastating for January Jones, who was once Miss South Dakota, my home state. I still sit shaking my head through her scenes -- who thought she could act? I, too, would rather read!

  13. OOOOOH, Jack,

    I really like that! I hadn't thought of the show that way, but OF COURSE!

    And Debs, I was so INTO DALLAS, I actually tried to watch it as I was giving birth to my daughter. Could NOT focus between contractions, but I like to think that J.R distracted me from a t least some of the pain.

    Ann - I think the writers were working around January Jone's pregnancy, so I'm guessing she was grateful that instead of hiding it, they played it up.

  14. Still need addresses for this week's winners - Skipperhammond, Lynda, Lora, Jan J, Mar (annabelle jacob)Brenda, Storage Units,Deb Romano, DebbieRH and Storyteller Mary
    And Saturday's winner is Dru! Email me at

    Congrats to all

  15. Ro, you're allowed to veg whenever and however you want! That's why I added the explanation that my not watching TV wasn't a cultural thing. I don't have a problem with anyone else watching the way some folks do who like to say it to prove how high-brow they are. It was simply a practical thing for me to find time. I'm the one whose son hooked her on Buffy on DVDs, so I'm hardly going to look down on anyone else for watching anything.

    DebR, I'm sooo glad you liked EVERY LAST SECRET. The second one's with my editor. They're planning on another spring release. Skeet's best friend is suspected of murder so Skeet has to save her from herself.