Monday, November 09, 2020

Believe Care Invest: Mad Men

Why Don might be hard to identify with: 
  • We’re supposed to root for a guy to sell cigarettes??
  • The wealth of meticulous period detail creates a very believable world.
  • We don’t get much detail about Don’s life yet. The show is intentionally hiding the specifics of his life from us, which it can get away with to a certain extent by giving us a co-hero in the form of Peggy, introduced in her own storyline.
  • He doesn’t just drink, he likes old fashioneds and rye. He smokes Luckies. Everything is specific.
  • We love that he keeps a stack of pressed shirts in his desk for when he spends the night at a girl’s apartment.
  • He’s having a crisis of confidence, “Midge, I’m serious, I have nothing. I am over, and they’re finally gonna know it. Next time you see me, there’ll be a lot of young executives picking meat off my ribs.”
  • He’s got a deadline: “Sterling’s having the tobacco people in in nine hours, and I have nothing.”
  • We can tell when he quizzes the waiter that he’s good at his job. Later, when Midge jokingly says “Don Draper is the greatest ad an ever and his big, strong brain will find a way to lead the sheep to the slaughterhouse,” we can sense she kind of means it. ii. He pauses to look at his purple heart medal, and we don’t suspect yet that he’s an imposter.
Five Es
  • Eat: Well, he certainly drinks like a fish.
  • Exercise: He uses one of those bizarre chest stressing devices in his office (while smoking).
  • Economic Activity: He’s obsessed with his work problem, writing ideas on a napkin when we first see him.
  • Enjoy: He enjoys having sex with Midge, finally seeming relaxed afterwards, and asking her to marry him (We won’t find out until the end of the episode that he’s already married.)
  • Emulate: We will eventually learn that “Don’s” (which is to say Dick’s) life is all about emulation, but we don’t suspect that yet.
Rise above
  • Not yet
  • I’ve taken “high five a black guy” off the list, but this is a big example, which is very important for a period show. He chats up his black waiter, who instantly gets yelled at by his white boss, but Don shoos the boss away, then says to the waiter, “You obviously need to relax after working here all night.”

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