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Don Draper is Peer Gynt: Discuss

Let’s go a little Mad (Men) tonight:

Mad Men season 3 starts tonight at 10PM EST on AMC.  Last season left us with some sucker punching cliff hangers.

Its all Friedans fault

It's all Friedan's fault

Will Betty Draper figure out the Feminine Mystique before or after the birth of her third, not-really-planned-or-welcome baby?

Will Peggy write the real book on Sex and the Single Girl?

Helen Gurley Brown did Sex and the City in 1962

Helen Gurley Brown did Sex and the City in 1962?

Can Don go a whole season without cheating on his wife (and will it still be fun to watch if he does?)?

Will Pete become history’s first Angry White Male?

Will Roger figure out that to his hot, young fiance, the sexiest thing in his pants is his wallet?

Will Joan finally realize that she’s the bedrock person at the agency?

It’s 1963 and Camelot is about to end with a bang.

Mix a martini and loosen your garter belts.  The times they are a-changin’ on Mad Men.

42 Responses

  1. Ay-yay=yay! I have to pack for vacation. Must get a move on. Wil check back periodically.

  2. RD: Please think about what post you want in our Fantasy Government with HRC as Pres. I have nominated you for Sec. of HHS or Chief of Staff or WH Press Secretary. If those do not fit your boat, please reveal your dream job with the Hillster.

    • Um, I’d make a lousy Sec. Of State. I can’t help offending people. I want to direct the CIA, NSA or some scientific department.

      • Oh! I see that State wasn’t one of the offers. Well, I don’t like lying to reporters tho I have a sneaky suspicion i wouldn’t totally suck at it. I’d love to be chief of staff because I enjoy multitasking on hyperspeed. But I’m afraid I lack experience in the policy area. So, intelligence it is. I like the whole spy vs spy thing.

  3. I shall make sure to check back for your impressions as I am definitely watching.

  4. In the fantasy government I wanna be the faith based czar – and shovel money to little and unknown beliefs – the weirder and smaller, the better.

  5. RD: You can have whatever you want. I like the idea of you at CIA and NSA. Maybe we could combine them for you.

  6. This is from a tongue and cheek British article in the wsj on, of course, health care.

    ” I also want, wherever I am, the Americans to go on paying for the great majority of the world’s progress in medical research and technological innovation by the preposterous expense of their system: for it is a truth universally acknowledged that American clinical research has long reigned supreme, so overall, the American health-care system must have been doing something right. The rest of the world soon adopts the progress, without the pain of having had to pay for it.”

    We are such a generous nation and it is sweet of the Brits to acknowledge our special contribution.

  7. RD: One more thought before you fly away to that island in the sun.

    Do not forget how you threw down the gauntlet to SOD. We shall be awaiting your superb photos, standing at the ready to critique and compare. Remember, it’s the light.

  8. I think your “Feminine Mystique” prediction for Betty is spot on. And given that the book was published in 1963, I don’t think there is a chance that the script writers won’t use it this season. And I imagine that it will be passed around the office quite a bit as well.

    Of all the troubled marriages and soon-to-be marriages from last season, my bet is that Joan’s marriage to Dr. Kildare, or whatever his name is, will be the first to founder. Although, after the merger and divorce lawyers’ figures come in, it’s a pretty safe bet that Roger’s portfolio will be less appealing to the very unplain Jane, so there’s a chance that one may not even make it down the aisle. Hmm.

    Btw, RD, I’m almost done with “The Girl Who Played With Fire.” I’ve trying to sip rather than guzzle it, but that’s just about impossible. Thanks again for turning me on to Steig Larrson!

  9. It appears we already have an answer to question 3. That didn’t take long.

    • I’m jealous. I quit cable the day after Keith Blovermann spit forth his vile Hillary-RFK reference Special Comment, and I’m too darn stubborn to get it again while that asshat is still on the air. Most days I don’t miss it, but this is not one of those days.

      • There’s always iTunes. Download it

        • Season 3 episode 1 isn’t available yet. That’s okay–I have a good friend who’s following the series and has a DVR. I’ll see it sooner or later.

          But I never thought about downloading TV shows from iTunes (I’m very slow sometimes). Thanks for the suggestion!

          • I don’t have cable (and forget to watch the digital TV available via my converter).
            Have ordered MM Season 1, 2, and now 3 via iTunes. No commercials!

            I justify this treat by allowing myself to watch only while exercising on a machine. I double my time.

            Have also rewatched season 1 and most of 2.

            I love the show, although Don Draper’s infidelity is over the top! I am thinking that the “divorced woman”/single mother who went to the Seven Sisters’ school and studied abroad in Italy –the one who volunteered for the JFK campaign– is going to be the one who alerts the neighborhood women to the “Feminine Mystique.”

          • That is great news! I went to the iTunes store before and couldn’t find it–I just went back now and found something about a Season 3 pass That must be it.

            Given that my chosen exercise is swimming, your most excellent justification for the treat won’t work in my case. But I am going through chemo right now, so I’ll use that as my excuse. I’m about to purchase a netbook to allow myself to work while on chemo, but I figure I’ve earned a treat from time to time as well.

  10. The stewardess looks so much like Betty but I guess that’s the point.

  11. Oh, and by the way, riverdaughter, Ich liebe dich.

  12. Actually, I’m drinking Negronis tonight. That’s 1 oz gin, 1 oz, campari, 1 oz sweet vermouth. pour over ice and stir gently. garnish with orange slice. I wasn’t going to drink this until I got to Maui but I bought a new pair of jeans yesterday. I didn’t even try them on. Just bough my regular size. Took them home, crossed my fingers and …. zipped them up! No problemo. They fit like a fricking glove. The muffin top is now a mini muffin top. I could still stand to lose more weight but I have no qualms about wearing my clothes. They’ll be comfy and I won’t look like a beached whale.

    *Toast* Whole Wheat!

    • RD when are you going to do us all a favor and write a post about how to lose weight. Maybe it could be a co-post with KB.

      grazie. (just to get you in a holiday mood)

      • I think I’ve done weight loss posts. The trick is to:
        1.) Go to the gym on a regular basis. At least four times per week and more like 5. Make it a habit. Once you do it for about 6 weeks, it will get easier.
        2.) Mix up your workout routine. I do running, spinning, weight training and zumba on different days.
        3.) Never let more than 48 hours pass without a workout.
        4.) Drink 1 cup of skim milk after exercising. It helps your muscles recover faster and helps you lose weight. I thought this was just an urban myth until I tried it. It really works.
        5.) Don’t eat snacks from the vending machine. Drink only unsweetened beverages. Don’t drink diet soda. For the first month, don’t drink alcohol. No wine, beer or liquor. Reintroduce a glass of wine at dinner after the fifth week but only occasionally. Keep fresh fruit in your house at all times. Don’t have second helpings of anything but salad. Always eat breakfast. If you’re a bit hungry when you go to sleep, that’s OK. Otherwise, only eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
        6.) Watch portion size. A meat shouldn’t be bigger than a pack of cards. A helping shouldn’t be bigger than your fist.
        7.) Do not starve yourself. The goal is to keep your metabolism running at peak efficiency. Eating too little will defeat that purpose.
        8.) Be patient. We don’t get fat overnight and we won’t get skinny overnight either. Plan on losing only a couple of pounds per week. If you lose it slowly and sensibly, your chances of keeping it off are higher.

        That’s it. It’s taken me since March and to be honest, I thought it wasn’t working. I was about to give up but stuck it out and picked up my pace a little bit. That seems to have done it.

  13. Is there a whole lot of sexism in this show. I know I know there is no show on television or movies that are without sexism. But I just can’t stomach sexism in tv shows anymore.

    I boycotted Bill Maher’s show a long time ago. I recently stopped watching House because of something he said (written by the writers of course) about feminism, were he to say that about the civil rights movement or jewish groups, that is it hell would freeze over for the creators of the show.

    Also RD why is Don contstantly cheating on his wife funny, I mean really?

    Oh well I have not started watching the show, I guess I just want to find out how sexist it is.

    • Hmmm. I guess you have to watch the show to understand the context in which the sexism is portrayed. I don’t think the writers are condoning it in the least. They are documenting the social upheaval of the sixties in a very realistic fashion. The first show of season one followed Peggy, the smart new girl of the steno pool, as she goes to a gynecologist and gets a prescription for the pill. The doctor lectures her about how she shouldn’t sleep around, like it’s any of his business, and threatens to take the prescription away if he finds out she has been abusing it. Peggy has to listen to this crap but you can tell she’s going to do things her own way, with unexpected results.
      I think it is significant that the show started with a scene like this. The sexism is so offensive that it is not portrayed in a positive light in the least little bit. You really feel for each female character and come to understand, way before they realize it themselves, what motivates their behavior.
      Not like Bill Maher at all.
      As for Don’s cheating, Don doesn’t know who he is. If you haven’t been following the show, you wouldn’t understand why this is. He knows it is wrong to cheat on Betty and he regrets it but his, um, situation, gives him ample excuses to act out. When he does it, it isn’t Don Draper, Betty’s husband, who is sleeping around. It’s someone else. Literally. That is why i mention Peer Gynt. I believe the writers based the character of Don Draper on Gynt, a mischeivous con man in a seemingly endless series of adventures of self discovery. One of last season’s episodes was called “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, a direct reference to Gynt. But the series title, Mad Men, is also a reference to one of Gynt’s misadventures. Seen in that light, Don’s behavior starts to make sense. Gynt eventually comes to regret his behavior and in the end, he repents and begs Solveig for help, even though he knows he doesn’t deserve it. The question is, who is Solveig in this narrative? Is it Betty? Or is it someone else?

      • I lived through that era and didn’t find it very interesting then –

        OT – on another note we took Friday afternoon off and went to see Julie & Julia – I just loved Julia Child, her book is amazing and she was a very interesting woman – the movie is funny and poignant – and as my husband said – “they said it was a chick-flick – it was good – that wasn’t just a chick-flick”

        Hubby says we gotta make some Boef Bourguignon this week. 😕 we’ll see.

    • Sabina —

      What RD said. What I love about this show is it portrays the whole development of social awareness of the 60’s from feminism to homosexuality to just about every stereotype you can think of, including the desire to live irresponsibly as a form of freedom (is that really freedom?). I also think the sexism is in the context of Susan Faludi’s book “Stiffed.” Don is doing what he believes and is told a man in his position should be doing, that is to say, he is doing what he should be doing, not what he wants to do for himself. This is an excellent parallel to the other social constructs women went through. Don’s interaction with these women provides interesting insight to how America was at that time, observing, experimenting, and choosing for itself the lifestyles and roles it wants to continue into the next decade.

      I was reluctant to watch the show at first for the same reason — sick of sexism on TV and thought, oh here’s just another opportunity to exploit women — but it really isn’t like that. You can watch the pilot in full on the AMC webpage to see what you think. I’ll be curious to hear your opinion.

      RD — please do more postings on the show too!

  14. http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/08/administration_official_sebelius_misspoke.php
    Another one under the bus.

    I have very mixed feelings when I watch Mad Men. I was an office worker during those years. A lot of what they show is really what it was like then. Women did not wear slacks to work. Most women if they were bosses were over the typing pool. Marriage and working were frowned upon for women. Once excuse used not to hire married women was that they would be trained then get pregnant and leave or if they had children they would be absent more due to family.
    There were some affairs between bosses and the women who worked for them but it was frowned upon. Dating a co-worker was also frowned upon.
    I do have a problem with the character Betty she acts like she hates her kids. I do not remember too many mothers who treated their children that way. I do not like her. Don is wrong for cheating. She is snide and superior and unlikeable She is not a woman I would trust as a friend.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Betty has always seemed very depressed – not much time for kids, etc. Going through the motions, robotic – trying to hold everything together.

      • right, perfect Feminine Mystique material. And her induction to her role in life was set by her parents; her mother’s admonition of getting too fat — how that plays on her and society which is manipulated by the very industry for whom Don works. She gave up a modeling career for marriage. I can’t wait to see what happens later in the season to her.

  15. There were some affairs between bosses and the women who worked for them but it was frowned upon. Dating a co-worker was also frowned upon.

    Yes, things were safer then.

    You know what the Italian equivalent of the Supreme Court, decided about a week or two ago?
    That touching a woman at work is OK, as long as it isn’t libidinous.

    Another decision by the same court, that hit the news a few years ago was that a woman wearing blue jeans could not have been raped. Since tight jeans are too difficult to get out of, her consent was there.

    • Um, I’m a feminist and obviously don’t approve of harrassment at work but I strenuously object to categorizing all touching between men and women at work as being harrassing, sexual or threatening. It doesn’t have to be.
      Let’s not go there, people. You will find that I am not very sympathetic to blanket condemnation of such things. Sometimes, I see the comments headed in that direction and I just have to say that if anyone is coming here for regulation of or standards of acceptable behavior between the sexes, you’re really in the wrong place. I don’t want to chase anyone away but you will be more comfortable in my threads if you maintain a degree of flexibility and comfort with ambiguity.

  16. I love the show because it gives me a window into a world I was too young to understand and it really helps me understand why my parents’ generation said some of the things they did and acted the way they did. I have pictures of my father dressed up in a suit and he looks amazingly like Don Draper. I remember those cigarette lighters, they were everywhere. Sure there is sexism in the show because it was commonplace then and nobody even thought of it as sexism.

    It was interesting to me that the two stewardesses said that they were not allowed to smoke because they were in their uniforms. I worked in an office in the eighties, when people still smoked in offices, and one woman told me that up until 1970, women were not allowed to smoke in the office. The men could smoke but it was thought that the women would be careless and empty hot ashtrays into the trash and start a fire. That was 1970!!

    Before we can understand sexism today, we need to understand where some of these people started out. Thats another of the reasons I think the Clintons are remarkable people, because they grew up in the midst of institutional sexism and r@cism, and rose far above it all.

  17. Last night was my first episode.

    …it was okay. I guess I’ll have to watch more to get into it.

    Hung was on as well and I flipped back and forth.

    • Thinker — Last night’s episode was a bit confusing at first, since it was showing where Don really came from. This is part of the mystique of Don Draper, he is a self-made man in its truest form which is what the first two seasons explored. So how can a self-made man be sucked into the roles and stereotypes society puts on him? I feel this is where the direction of the show has been going all along.

      I’d take a look at the pilot and other clips on the AMC website.

      I also heard that Hung is pretty good, but I don’t have that channel. Please do inform us.

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