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Mad Men’s Marital Problems
November 9th, 2009 by Christina
Being Mrs. Don Draper could turn anyone into a Mad Woman.

Being Mrs. Don Draper could turn anyone into a Mad Woman.

I’ve been toying with writing a Mad Men-inspired post for weeks, and now that the season finale has occurred (leaving so many of us questioning if life is worth living until the show resumes next summer), it’s time to get down to it. The show is so chock-full of marital woes that it would be irresponsible for me not to weigh in.

(Oh–here’s the part where I warn you that I will be revealing plot details–aka, “spoilers.” If that matters to you, stop reading, go back to whatever it was you were doing, and come back when you’re caught up.)

Cripes, could there be a more miserable portrayal of matrimony than the unions depicted on Mad Men? I mean, the writers won’t even pretend that there was such a thing as a happy, fulfilling marriage in the early 1960s. It’s just one smoky, alcohol-soaked, sexist nightmare after the next. Let’s have a look:

  • Joan and Greg. Supremely hot, always-aquiver, yet also smart-as-a-whip Joan weds moody, dull, self-centered Greg Harris just because he’s a doctor. Does this guy have any redeeming qualities, anything at all that makes him worthy of her? He rapes her, he’s needy and childish, and still she’s loving and supportive, sweet and sexy, and puts dinner on the table. How could you not think “yes!!” when she casually smashed a vase against her hubby’s head? He survived that, but now he’s joined the army and will most likely be shipped off to ‘Nam pretty soon. Oh well.
  • Roger and Jane. Roger is a snake, but he’s grown on me this season. He’s shown some vulnerability, what with the woman who resurfaced from his past, his enduring affection for Joanie, and his public praise of ex-wife Mona at their daughter’s wedding. He’s already done with tipsy trophy-wife Jane, that’s clear–but she’s even ickier than he is and I find myself not caring about her at all. Mona is obviously twice the woman Jane is and Roger knows it. But Jane is younger and prettier, so at least he has his priorities straight.
  • Pete and Trudi. Will cheerful, lovable Trudi, silly lampshade hats and all, come to her senses and realize that her husband is a slimy weasel? I doubt it. She’s a loyal wife, oblivious to the fact that Pete fooled around with the neighbor’s au pair and knocked-up Peggy in the first season. He showed a touch of broken-down sweetness in the finale, though, so just maybe there’s hope for them.
  • Peggy and Nobody. She’s the smart, ambitious career girl–too savvy for most guys her age and a threat to most men. She’s left to a life hooking up in hotel rooms with creepy guys named Duck–unless, maybe, she can hang in there until the 1970s.
  • Sal and Kitty. Poor Kitty doesn’t understand why her little negligees have no effect on her husband. Will someone please just tell her that it’s because he’s gay?
  • Don and Betty. Oh, what is there left to say about these two central characters, whose extreme physical beauty refuses to shield them from extreme mental misery? It was high time Betty got fed up with Don’s philandering ways and newly-discovered phony identity. Personally, I think boarding a plane to Reno with Henry Francis for six weeks was a big mistake (and wtf made her take baby Gene with them? There’s no way she’s breastfeeding).I think they’re doomed, but those were different times and she didn’t have many choices. She couldn’t, for example, start a blog about making over her life post-Don. In fact, she couldn’t even say the word blog, because it didn’t yet exist. What a concept.

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4 Responses  
Denise Schipani writes:
November 9th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Christina, we are so on the same page today, including spoiler warnings!
http://www.confessionsofameanmommy.com/im-no-betty-draper-my-mad-men-mom-musings/

PS: I feel the same way about Peggy — just hang on, honey, the next decade gets soooo much better. Relatively speaking.

Denise

Christina writes:
November 9th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Indeed we are!

I returned the link love, Denise (or whatever you call it…)

Jen Singer writes:
November 11th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Oh how I love this show. And you’re right: There are no happy marriages here. I’m looking forward to watching the mid-sixties turn all of their lives upside-down while the heyday of advertising starts to kick in.

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » It’s a Guy Thing writes:
November 24th, 2009 at 5:30 am

[...] Mad Men’s Marital Problems [...]

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