All the Lonely People

GROUP - Mad Men _ Season 7, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCThe apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Not only do Donald and Sally Draper lie to each other, but they do so in the same manner—calm, cool, practically convincing themselves of the lie. They’d rather say less than more. The father doesn’t tell his family he’s on leave after his corporate meltdown. The daughter initially doesn’t tell her father that she went to a funeral just to go shopping in Greenwich Village. On the car ride back to boarding school, Don and Sally are angry at each other—until they reach that Connecticut diner. (At least I think it’s in Connecticut. Don orders a patty melt for Sally—the patty melt was formally invented at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven.) Don seems genuinely moved, however, when his daughter wishes him a happy Valentine’s Day. I guess that’s progress.

But is anyone happy in this episode? Lou Avery is upset with his secretary Dawn. Peggy is angry at Ted Chaough and then her own secretary. Lou, Peggy, and Bert Cooper force Joan into shifting these secretaries around like musical chairs (Dawn does seem happier in the end, having been reassigned to Peggy, who is basically Don with breasts). Pete has a gorgeous girlfriend and is living the life out West, but is upset about essentially losing a client to Bob Benson. (The situation of dealing with GM versus a GM dealership association reminds me of the Tesla problem.)

Don is largely unhappy about his forced exile, which has thrown off his game. He spends most of his day sleeping, watching television, and snacking, letting the apartment go—that German cockroach must’ve been eating crumbs of Ritz crackers. It takes effort to clean himself up, shave, and put on a suit, just to greet Dawn at the door. This reminds me of the months following my graduation, when I only had a part-time job. It was so casual I actually put on a tie and loosened it after work when I met up with friends, just to give the impression that I had a more serious job. Luckily my wilderness years turned out to be six months. When will it end for Don Draper? When will he put the D back in SCDP?

Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

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