The Failure of Don Draper

by GK on October 20, 2010 · 3 comments

Before I start kvetching over the season finale of “Mad Men,” I just wanted to follow up my wedding post by saying I had a truly memorable time watching Rob get married last weekend. I’ll never forget golfing with the guys on Wedding Eve, fist-pumping with Eastside Mike in the car after the wedding, and tearing up the dance floor at the reception.

I was especially flattered that Rob trusted me enough to have me read a short sermon from the altar during the wedding, which was far from my comfort zone. It was a great honor, and I’m thankful to have not screwed it up (no, I didn’t read it in the voice of the “Princess Bride” priest). For all my criticisms of marriage, I have no doubt Rob will be happy for a lifetime in his.

Now, on to the show Rob addicted me to. This season of “Mad Men” has had me captivated because of the highs and lows of Don Draper, and when I wrote my previous post about him, he was on a notable high. It appeared, and I hoped, that he was on the way to making significant improvements in his life and having a transformative relationship with Dr. Faye Miller. I’ve rooted so much for Don to end up with her that I’ve felt like her pimp.

The coach in me was optimistic about Don’s potential for change, even though I’ve seen firsthand how tough it is for people to break old, self-destructive habits. Finally, he seemed prepared to stop running away from his past and grow from it.

Then the “Tomorrowland” episode happened, and I was just as bummed out watching it as when I saw Anakin Skywalker turn into Darth Vader. Don was so close, but he failed.

Why do I say he failed? After all, he ended up getting engaged to the younger, hotter girl who’s smitten with Don, claims to have copywriting aspirations (though I think she just said that to get in his pants) and seems far better with his kids than Faye. Hell, she seems absolutely perfect.

And that’s the problem. In keeping with his visit to Disneyland, Don impulsively chooses the fantasy woman who will do whatever he says over the real woman who would have challenged him. Faye and Don were equals who understood each other; Megan is a fuckable Mary Poppins. Like Betty, she doesn’t know Don, and Don knows Megan even less. It’s ironic and sad that Don can have affairs with strong, independent women, but he can only marry the ones who are beneath him.

So many of us choose the relationships or careers that make us look better over the ones that make us better people. I figured Don would learn his lesson after Betty, but it looks like he has years of pain and therapy ahead of him. Faye was right about two things: Don would remarry in a year (though not with her) because that’s the type he is, and he only likes the beginnings of things. Megan is sure to find that out.

The only enjoyable part of the episode was watching Peggy and Joan snicker at Don and the cliche he has become (see the above clip). Then again, seeing Don reduced to a punchline like Roger Sterling shows you how far he’s falling.

Boy, I think I sound more bitter than Faye right now. Don, you’ve broken my heart.


1 Erich October 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

“Megan is a fuckable Mary Poppins.”

That my friend is the best line I’ve heard in awhile. And I was so sad as a child when Mary Poppins left at the end of that movie. Boo hoo. :))

“So many of us choose the relationships or careers that make us look better over the ones that make us better people. ”

I’ve noticed this before. I have had a tendency to date, or have sexual relations with women who I thought I was superior to, or had an edge over. Money advice.


2 Dirkmanley October 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I think it’s more about how someone makes you feel. Don likely enjoys feeling powerful and in control than challenged and girls who give him that feeling of control easily win his favor. It’s what he’s used to.

Does that mean what he wants is the same as what he needs? No.

3 RC October 26, 2010 at 2:37 am

He is marrying the calm woman who is great with his kids. I think he made the right decision. She happens to be young and beautiful.

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