Jane Mahlzeit of Duke University has released the unofficial tally of Don Draper Fan Club members ranking the ladies with whom Don has enjoyed conjugal relations in descending order of fugworthiness:
Megan Rachel Menkin the Jewish heiress (Bloomingdale's?) Suzanne Farrell (the schoolteacher not the dancer) Dr. Miller Betty (January Jones) the bohemian painter who becomes a smack addict the blonde rich girl in the back of the cab the prostitute who knew what he wanted the prostitute who cost $30 when Lane Pryce and Don were alone at Xmas the comedian's wife the secretary who quit
Note: Joan,Peggy, and Lois are not eligible as neither one of them has slept with DD (yet).
I rooted for the Jets to good effect
though I had to switch channels
when the score was 14-0
to learn that Don would tell
his secret to Fay after G-men
visit Betty on a routine security
check and the week's anxiety
is diminished only temporarily
when the two tickets for the
Beatles at Shea Stadium
on 15 August 1965
make him a hero again to
daughter Sally, who is just
like Don in crucial ways, and
meanwhile Joan (or her fictitious
daughter) has an abortion
and Roger loses the Lucky
account and Pete has to
give up the aviation account
and Pryce's girlfriend is
a black Playboy bunny and (listen
do you want to know a secret)
his father is a monstrous brute
so I found out only later that
the Jets won the Mets beat
the Phillies and the Yanks smote
the Red Sox at the last possible
moment, proving God exists -- DL
First of all, I would like you all to know that I keep putting my name in the heading titles not because I am an unrepentant narcissist (or at least, not just because) but as per Stacey's instructions. Stacey, if I'm allowed to stop doing this, or somehow misunderstood--which is possible, even probable--please let me know.
Bon. On y va.
I'm egregiously late in posting today. I wish I had a good excuse, but there's only one I can muster: it's that today is a Monday. Some of you may know what that means. It means that apart from my other commitments--eating, washing, therapy, Googling my own name, crushing the dreams of young actors trying out for my new play--I spent the entire day online, reading recaps of Mad Men. And reading the accompanying comment threads about Mad Men--sometimes several hundred comments long. And then watching the behind the scenes video about Mad Men. And communicating with other people about Mad Men And the rewatching last night's episode of Mad Men. And then reading yet more recaps of Mad Men.
In short, I spent my Monday, as I do many Mondays (ah, the aimless life of the freelancer!) engaging with Mad Men the way I once did with works of literature.
On its face, this isn't particularly surprising. I have written at length about my overidentification with Betty Draper, in styles both humorous and grave. I even wrote this, which I felt pretty damn smug about. So I'm definitely a little more invested than the average bear, or even the average New York City Media Professional who consumes the show the way she consumes vodka sodas at a Lower East Side one-hour open bar. And Mad Men, it has often been noted by cultural critics far more astute than I, seems to think it is a novel. The parallels and narrative threads, the long pauses before anybody speaks pregnant with unspoken prosaic description; the way everything is a symbol and nobody quite says what they mean.
It cries out for analysis. It fairly begs for it. If there's not a college course teaching it alongside Cheever and O'Hara, there will be soon.
Yet, I finish my day feeling empty. I'm not going to say cheaply snide things about how it's just a TV show, that these characters aren't real and it's stupid to care about them, because if that was true, then we would all be out of a job. Sometimes, the only things worth caring too much about aren't real. But it did leave me hungry for simpler days, before television got so ambitious and self-important and wonderful. When you didn't have to engage with things. When you could just watch Perfect Strangers after you finished your homework and not talk about it all fucking week. When the world looked perfect, with nothing to rearrange.
I urge you to watch tonight’s
episode of Breaking Bad, which finds Bryan Cranston’s Walter White adjusting to the
dissolution of his marriage while declining to abandon one big reason it
dissolved: He still wants/needs to make meth to pay the bills. He goes to a new
location to ply his chemistry-teacher skills and acquires a new assistant,
played by David Costabile (the scruffy villain from last season’s Damages,
among many other credits).
Assistant finds it comforting to quote Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard The Learn’d
Astronomer” to justify his illegal, and let’s face it, immoral ways to God and
to himself. Cut to our Walt sitting in his new cheap apartment, a copy of Leaves of Grass on his lap, poring over the pages silently.
a terrific moment in a terrific new season of Breaking Bad, which digs
deeper, with each succeeding episode into questions of what makes a man or
woman “bad,” what needs to be done to protect one’s loved ones, and constantly
asks the viewer: “How far would you go? Not here, you say? You’re lying to
Bad airs on AMC, home of Mad Men, which returns with a new season in July,
it was announced earlier this week. Me, I can easily await MM when there are
new hours of Breaking Bad to watch. The two shows could not be more different.
If Mad Men is a novel of manners for TV (John O’Hara meets Louis Auchincloss in
Updike/Cheeverville), Breaking Bad is working thriller territory mapped out by
the likes of Charles Willeford, David Goodis, and Jonathan Latimer.
mean (a cop takes an axe to the back of the head in the opening minutes
tonight), but thanks to the inspiration of creator Vince Gilligan to insert a
middle-class nebbish into the role usually occupied by the cynical sharpie in
most thrillers, it never lets ordinary folks like you or I to step back and
say, “Oh, I’d never do that.” Breaking Bad is all about what you’d do if you
were desperate enough. “And from time to time,” as Whitman writes, the show
makes sure that you have “look’d up in perfect silence at the stars,”
contemplating the full measure fate.