Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Mad Men

Lately I've developed a real crush on Don Draper. I know. Strange, isn't it? I watched about half of series one, got hooked on series two, and bought myself series one on DVD for my birthday. Which I keep watching over and over.

The world of Mad Men is somehow contemporary, but just historical enough that I don't feel contempt for people who are superficial and glamorous. I have photographs of my parents and relatives in 1960's suits and dresses, and I can remember flicking through ancient Reader's Digest magazines full of adverts like Sterling Cooper make. (Did anybody else have a Reader's Digest childhood? There was always an article 'I Am John's Scrotum' or something.)

I'm fascinated by Don Draper's character. He reminds me of my father in my parents' wedding photographs. He's confident, and successful, and he's vulnerable. I like reading all the contradictions and nuances of the man, which I never could do with my real dad.

You can see that he has emotions, because he has brilliant ideas at work that come from the empathy he has for people. And Don likes women; he feels comfortable around women in a way that the other men don't (especially not the odious Pete Campbell).

My father used to talk about his childhood. It wasn't a happy childhood, and his stories used to scare the hell out of me. We don't hear Don Draper talking about his childhood, but we see the flashbacks.

I remember a scene from the end of Series Two when Don gets his tarot cards read, and the woman he's with (I think she might be the original Mrs Don Draper) tells him that the cards say he's connected to all the living things in the world.
"The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone."
That was a good statement for me. I wonder if it would have meant something to my father, as well?

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