Is Don Draper Mad Men’s Resident Vampire?
Like the rest of the Mad Men-watching universe, I’ve spent the last 10 days with Megan Draper/Jessica Paré’s rendition of Gillian Hill’s nugget “Zou Bisou Bisou” stuck in my head like an earwig—or shrapnel. As my friends would say, I got song-fucked. (Only Weather Report’s “Birdland” and Deee Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart” have provided even the briefest reprieves.)
As notable as “Zou Bisou Bisou”’s complete undeniability was the lack of almost anything even vaguely memorable in season five’s two-hour premiere. While it remains to be seen what later machinations the writers were setting up, what’s clear is that they meant us to pay attention to Paré’s tramped-up version of Hill’s ingenue ditty. It’s as if to say this season will be about Don Draper, dirty aging man, ruining ever-younger girls.
Thankfully things got a little more interesting on Sunday with the introduction of [SPOILER ALERT!] the Fat Betty storyline, “The Jew” storyline, and the icky continuation of Don’s slide down the age scale. Here, six questions melting my brain like a Jessica Paré yéyé number through butter.
Is Mad Men turning into a (figurative) vampire show?
Draper burning through women has been a hallmark of the show to this point. But now he’s literally sucking the life out of them. You’ve got your bloated, lifeless, post-Don Betty. And you can see him slurping the fight out of Megan. As he almost reluctantly glamoured Rolling Stones groupie Bonnie (Hayley McFarland) on Sunday, you couldn’t help but wonder: Is the increasingly rote nature of Don Draper getting his girl by design (the intentional creepifying of Don Draper), or a warning sign that this character’s appeal is turning to dust, like a blood-sucker in the midday sun? If I wanted to watch True Blood … well, if I ever want to watch True Blood, I trust you’ll have the good nature to drive a stake through my heart and put me out my misery.
Will this season tackle that last great taboo: Weight discrimination?
Season five is already clearly taking on the issues of racial and ethnic discrimination in the workplace with both African Americans (the result of the “Equal Opportunity Employer” ad/prank) and Jews (hiring, gasp, a Ginsberg). How will the writers use a portly Betty Draper (and a fuller-figured Joan to boot) to, as they’ve always done, teach us a thing about ourselves now by showing it happen in the 1960s?
Will Don Draper just cheat on Megan already?
My editor gets the credit here: When I pitched a Mad Men follow, Janine White offered this suggested burning question: “I want Don to cheat on Megan THIS week. I know he’s going to, and I can’t STAND the tension. I just want to get it over with, have my/Megan’s heart broken, and move on.” I remain unclear whether she was positing the question herself or pretending to be writing as me (I find both scenarios amusing), but it’s a point well taken: Don can’t NOT cheat, right? It’s just in his nature. Or have the writers found the perfect inverse of the “will they/won’t they” gambit?
To that end: Will Don cheat with Bonnie the Rolling Stones groupie?
Bonnie, who Don meets backstage at a Rolling Stones gig, is played by Hayley McFarland, a 21-year-old actress best known as Dr. Cal Lightman’s teenage daughter Emily on Lie To Me. There’s obvious icky tension: Bonnie removes Don’s tie and drapes it around her neck; Don is aroused by the the idea that the Rolling Stones make Bonnie feel “romantic”; and Bonnie has Don’s business card, which means it’s more or less a done deal. Is the nature of trophy wives such that you upgrade to younger and younger models until you get your card in the mail?
Now that there are African-American secretaries at Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce, which character will “break the color barrier”?
With Peggy, Joan and Megan as proof, secretaries are more than fair game—they’re prey. With the exception of long-absent Paul Kinsey, none of the philandering ad men have, to our knowledge, engaged in extra-curricular activities of a pigmentally blended nature. Who will be the first? The smart money is on Don (as always), but I’m gonna go with Lane Pryce.
How many White Castle burgers can Harry Crane eat?
The slimmed-down media buyer downed a sack of 20 after getting duped on the Rolling Stones negotiation. And he looked ready for more.