Tuesday, 6 March 2012
The Problem I Have With Mad Men
So, there's one fairly important element of Mad Men that I deliberately haven't mentioned, and that's, obviously, Don Draper. I mean, what can you say about him? I've honestly spent the last four seasons (all watched over summer 2010, hence why I am gagging for the new season to start later on this month) being confused about whether I'm supposed to love him or hate him, want to slap him for feel sorry for him. He's far too complex a character to say that he's wholly evil, but there's very little confusion over the way he treats women- he has no respect for his wife, he's interested only in affairs with 'the smart ones', and when it comes time to marry again, well, rather than asking the woman he's actually been seeing for almost a whole series, he's basically going to ask a secretary. Who he doesn't know. Who we don't know. I can't lie, it was an interesting (although not, I suppose, wholly unexpected) plot twist, but it spoke volumes about the way Don Draper lives his life. Undemanding women are the only ones he'll make a commitment to, and that commitment won't really mean much anyway.
So here's the thing. I think Don Draper can just go about and do his own thing, and I'll watch it and roll my eyes and dream of much better men that probably exist in the world somewhere (it not being the sixties anymore, I have to hope there are more men that aren't like Don Draper than that are). But here's the other thing. In this month's Cosmo (why I'm reading Cosmo again even though I hate it is a whole other issue, but let's just say that my sister bought it, and I was bored for like the ten minutes it took to read it...) there was a little section about TV shows that are coming back and what they thought might happen in them (Cosmo: bringing you the really important information) and for Mad Men, it said 'Don Draper comes to London and goes out with us. In our dreams!' or some words to that effect. And I realise that this is Cosmo saying these things and not really any publication I have to worry about, but still, I was like 'HUH?!'
Because really? Do you really want to go out with someone who basically hates women? I mean, it's like he likes them, but to be honest, the way he treats them is not something that anyone should look for in a relationship. If you're smart and interesting and amazing, he'll sleep with you, obviously, but when it comes to actually having a relationship with you, he'll run away back to some really really boring girl. And hey, boring girls! Even if he asks you to marry him (which he will, because you're unthreatening to his disgusting masculinity) it's not like that actually means anything, because as soon as the opportunity presents itself, he'll be between the legs of another interesting woman. God, what a dreamboat! Sure, he's really really really good looking (and actually I have a lot of time for Jon Hamm, and he seems like a really nice guy in real life, who isn't afraid to take the piss out of himself) and you know, he has money and status and all, but is it really worth living a life of quiet desperation in the suburbs; or being used and abused by, basically, a giant dirtbag?
I realise that I'm definitely taking this too seriously, and this is, after all, just a tv programme, but it just worries me that there are women who might think that Don Draper would be a good person to have a relationship with. In the whole of tv, I can hardly think of a character who would be a worse partner, other than, possibly, Tony Soprano; but he's essentially a sociopath- what's Don's excuse? Maybe he's too drunk and smoke filled all the time to think clearly about what he wants, or maybe he's just a prick- who can say? All I can say is, I doubt that a relationship with him could ever be fulfilling in the way anyone would want a relationship to be, and so, can we please all stop fancying Don Draper?