I know this is a blog about investing, planning, and trying to live simply, but from time to time I will go off the rails—hopefully never completely off the rails but just lifted slightly off the tracks. I am a big fan of Mad Men. Everyone knows about how great the design and look of the show is, how they have captured advertising and life of ad men in the ’50s, ’60s, and now ’70s. But I am a big Don Draper fan, and the beginning of season 6 has me asking a lot questions.
Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, has been nothing short of awesome. Draper’s character is a dark, complicated man who drinks, smokes, and womanizes better than anyone I’ve ever met. Looking into the soul of Draper is like looking into the abyss. It is a black hole filled with a wide range of emotions. What exactly is going on in that mind of his? He is a very talented and successful creative, but he, too, went off the rails at the end of last season. During his pitch to Hershey’s, the venerable chocolate bar company, Draper unravels a disturbing story about his early life, growing up in an orphanage and stealing money from a prostitute’s john, then using that money to buy candy bars. Hershey’s hightailed it out of the meeting, and Draper was put on a leave of absence from his own firm.
Fast-forward to this season: it is the 1970s, and the opening scene has a cleaned-up Draper arriving in Los Angeles to meet his wife, who has moved out there to further her acting career. Draper is cool as he kisses his beautiful wife, gets into her convertible, and they drive off. That is the last of the cool, brilliant, and diabolical Draper we have seen this year. The new Draper has his tail between his legs—making up with his daughter, going to movies during the day, and not responding to interludes with beautiful woman.
In last week’s episode Draper realizes it is time to get back to work. He receives an offer from a competing agency and uses it as leverage to get his job back with his old firm. After a lot of debate among his former partners, they agree to allow Draper back but with a list of binding terms and having to report to the new head of creative, who is as bland as white toast and mayo.
This all leads to my question: why? Why is Draper acting like a puppy with his ears pulled back? What has happened to the brash Don Draper we all love? Why would he agree to these belittling terms? I guess we could assume he is setting the table for his comeback or a chance at revenge. Or is this Don 2.0, a family man, a corporate man? Please say it ain’t so. What do you think?
For those of you who don’t care or don’t watch Mad Men, we’ll get back to finances next post.