Note: Spoilers up to present episodes.
Re-watching Mad Men, S01E05: “5G ”
Just when you thought it was safe to appear in Advertising Age, Adam Whitman shows up to open the floodgates of resentment Don Draper/Dick Whitman has been holding in towards Abigail and Uncle Mac. The uncomfortable scene at the coffee shop and later at the hotel smartly shows the differences between the two men, both physically and in attitude.
What was that about more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich? Cosgrove at least hasn’t failed, to the chagrin of Pete Campbell, who uses Trudy to forward his strange mixture of entitlement and ambition. At some point, I’m going to have a countdown of the Worst of Pete Campbell to see just which of his actions are the most odious.
Speaking of expectations gone awry, Midge is unhappy with Don, Betty is unhappy with Don’s office, Peggy is unhappy with Don’s office, Pete is unhappy with Boy’s Life. Most of the emphasis is placed on Don’s storyline with Adam. If Pete trying to pimp out Trudy to beat Cosgrove is terrible, how bad is Don chasing his own brother out of town with money? (I guess the fourth season reminds us that this is how Don smoothes things over.) There are many more examples of Don ignoring or trying to ignore his past throughout the series, but I forgot how really shocking and callous this one seems. It’s interesting, too, to think about Don Draper in light of his relationship with Anna Draper—when they’re together in California he’s free to be Dick Whitman. With both his parents dead and Adam just a well-meaning janitor, I can’t help but wonder what the harm would have been in keeping Adam around. Not that Don Draper always considers people’s feelings, but he’s almost goofy with Anna, giddy to leave the scowling and the presentations behind, or giddy with new love for Betty. Maybe Adam just isn’t far enough away from the farm, from the origins of Dick Whitman the scared little boy, and Anna knows just the Dick Whitman of the moment instead of the Dick Whitman of the hateful past.
I’d love to see how anything written by Kinsey would be received in literary circles.
This hour’s Tao of Draper
“I have a life and it only goes in one direction: forward.”