Hey, Don. May I call you Don? You’d better hope that I do, because “Donald” kind of strips away all that deep-seated mystery and seductive charm you’ve tried so hard to cultivate.
Speaking of which, Donald, we need to talk. I have one question: why? Why do you act this way, Don? No, not to your wife. Or your ex-wife. Or your lovers. I’m talking about me. You know, your viewer.
Look, I get it. You’ve created a certain image for yourself: brooding, secretive, compulsively self-destructive. And I know that is central to who you are, and part of what makes Mad Men so compelling. To a point. To a point, Don. You’re so relentless about it. Can’t you let up every so often? Maybe take a destroying-the-lives-of-those-around-you vacation? Because that stuff is really a bummer, and I don’t know how much more I can take.
Look, Don: there’s more to life than brooding, booty and self sabotage. Do you remember that one episode in which you had just gotten married and were happy and stuff? I sure as hell do, because I’ve had to repress every other episode. You probably don’t, because happiness means you have to feel something, and you’ve made it excessively clear to us all — episode after damn episode — that you don’t like doing that.
The problem is, you’re stressing me out. My finger hovers above the pause button for the entire episode, every episode, ready in case you commit adultery yet again. This is how carpal tunnel happens. I just can’t handle it. I’ve started mousing over the Netflix bar to preview little snippets of the episode, just so I know what Draper-esque assholery to mentally prepare myself for.
What I’m trying to say is that, when your personal life wasn’t in shambles, I really enjoyed watching you. How about just one episode that consists entirely of you pleasantly eating a casserole with your wife and laughing excitedly about your future together for an hour. I would watch that, and I would love that. You want some drama? Sure, maybe she wants to name your future child Rick, but you want to name him something equally as stupid as one of your names — Daffy, I guess. You could argue about that, but in a non-threatening way, because that shit doesn’t actually matter.
Although you’d probably find a way to make it matter.
Look, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the other drama in your life. Curb stomping clients, fighting your way to the top in a cutthroat advertising world, and developing a boldly alternative creative voice — all damn exciting. But after you do that, just come home to a loving wife and let her cook you some damned meatloaf, and like it. I’m even cool with side characters like Peggy having soap opera-like surprise pregnancies. Just rely on them for the drama in your life. You know those times you’re just sitting there with a glass of whiskey and the camera is slowly panning around your face and that’s all that’s happening? Those are my favorite times, because I get to pretend that the moment might actually just be about you relaxing and have a refreshing glass of whiskey to take the edge off. I know that shit’s really meant to be a subtle indication of your inner darkness or whatever, but at least I get to pretend.
Here, I looked up some existing episode titles, and I have ideas about how they should be renamed:
S4 E3: “The Good News” to “The Good News and That’s All the News”
S4 E9: “The Beautiful Girls” to “The Beautiful Girls and Their Beautiful, Committed Husbands”
S5 E9: “Dark Shadows” to “Man, Those Shadows Are Dark. That Looks Dangerous. Let’s Be Careful Not to Stray Into Them.”
S5 E11: “The Other Woman” to “The Other Woman at Speed Dating Also Said That It Was Stupid, But We’re Going to Get Drinks As Gal Pals And Still Enjoy the Night.”
S3 E5: “The Fog” to “The Fog is Hard to See Clearly In, So Let’s Find a Place Less Foggy, in Both a Real and a Metaphorical Sense, While We Reconsider Our Actions.”
S4 E10: “Hands and Knees” to “Hands and Knees Are Both Vital and Useful Parts of the Body, Let’s Use Them to Clap and Jump.”
Oh, and Jesse. Yeah, you, from Breaking Bad. Pick your nose up from those white lines and listen up: can’t your exciting secret life of drug dealing and production maybe…not have any repercussions on your personal life? I had to stop watching after the second season, because you and your girlfriend were giving me a heart attack with that whole ruining your lives over drug use and being in constant mortal danger thing. You know what drama goes on in my life?I forget to do laundry before work and wear an old shirt, then somebody mentions that the office smells funky, and I try to pretend like it’s not me. It’s not your drama, but it’s scary enough for me. I don’t know how you pack so much of it into your life. Except, of course, that you’re a fictional character.
I can’t be the only one who would be perfectly content with an episode of Breaking Bad in which Walt, without moral trepidation, shoots a couple of bad guys, and then comes home to an intact and loving family. I can’t be the only one who would love an episode of Mad Men in which Donald Draper kicks ass in the presentation room, and then gets some monogamous ass in his marriage bed.
I know you changed your name, but you’re being a real Dick, Don.