I’m watching the pilot of Mad Men as I write this and all I can think is…yes, he’s ruggedly handsome, and yes, he has a way with words, but god, Don Draper’s a bit of an idiot. He pointlessly takes offense at a woman-a Client– simply because he can’t bring his head around to the fact that she wants her store to appeal to a different clientele than it currently does, and because she doesn’t want them to just push out some tired old spiel (although he does reverse course, later). He rejects what is now seen to be perfectly good advertising strategy… I don’t even know why, maybe because of the source (a woman) or because it’s counterintuitive and “intellectual”. But then, what we see is… everyone else is the same way! He manages to work well with the tobacco company executives who come from the same background and with the same prejudices that he has. And since signaling common values is more effective and simpler than breakout theories, it still..works for him. This is a rather rushed hypothesis- it’s quite likely that I change my mind once I’ve watched more. And of course, he’s a very interesting character, not just a bluff stereotype- that much I can tell even from this much, even though his apparently Dark Mysterious Past is barely hinted.
I realize that this show is meant to be satire and social commentary rather than a model of a society to emulate, but I can’t help thinking that this is a show that’s very prone to Misaimed Fandom, and that really does seem to be the case. Subtlety is one thing, but maybe they should make their position a little more clear. I also realize that if I watch it the way I watch most TV series that I find interesting- I went through House episodes at the rate of 6 a day back in the summer after my second year- there is a serious risk of me taking up chain smoking.