Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Notes on Pop Culture: Mad at 'Mad Men,' Don Draper & Co. in Cartoons, 'The Big C' Finally Comes Clean

Mad at Mad Men

After allowing myself to stew about the Mad Men season four finale for a few days, I wrote this piece over on Mommy Tracked. The more I thought about the fourth season in its entirety, the more I became annoyed with how Betty Draper Frances was depicted as a distinctly unlikeable, unsympathetic character, as well as with Don’s choice of a substitute mate.

Other critics, including New York Magazine’s Emily Nussbaum, likewise weren't overjoyed with what has become of Betty ("While the ladies around her bloom, Betty hardens. Her character . . . gets even icier, vainer, more alien – nearly camp at times") and the New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante observed, in light of Don’s proposal to Megan, that the show exacted “vengeance on Faye for her lack of maternal instinct” and that Betty was portrayed negatively because of “her horrific one.”

The most interesting thing I discovered while researching my column: In season one, Don told Betty that she was a better mother than “anyone else in the world,” adding, “I would’ve given anything to have had a mother like you, beautiful and kind and filled with love, like an angel.”

Don Draper & Co., Cartoon Style

I’m still trying to figure out if this is some kind of a joke . . . but the internet is buzzing about these picture books that the UK's The Poke has created based on chain-smoking, expletive-spewing Mad Men characters.

The Poke has posted images of "Mr. Draper," "Little Miss Joan," "Mr. Campbell," "Little Miss Betty" and "Little Miss Peggy," and has posted the complete 17-page version of a book called “Mr. Sterling Gets Angry” in which there’s a debate over who drinks more whiskey, smokes more cigarettes and has more “inappropriate sex,” Roger Sterling or Don “I’m a goddamn sex machine in a suit” Draper.

I’d love to get these in print.

The Big C Finally Comes Clean

It finally happened, 10 episodes into The Big C’s freshman season on Showtime. Laura Linney’s Cathy Jamison character, who has spent most of the season not telling her husband and son that she has a serious, fatal case of melanoma -- and instead of getting treatment she had an affair, got her first bikini wax, bought a red sports car, took Ecstasy and punished her husband to the point where he finally asked for a divorce – finally told her husband, in the closing seconds of the episode, that she has cancer. NOW, things are going to get interesting. I reviewed this episode, “Divine Intervention” on CliqueClack TV.

Image credits: The Poke.

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