Don Draper Fades to Black

Mad Men just wrapped its penultimate season having spent a notable amount of screen time fleshing out the story of Don Draper’s coming of age. The show has always been premised in part on Draper’s need to hide his true past, still the convention of his dark secret has perhaps never been so visually explored as in this past season. Light and dark “twins” abounded: there were two Dons on this season’s promotional art, two wigs for Don’s wife Megan’s soap opera role playing twins, and even two creative directors at the office—figured as doppelgangers by fair-haired, former rival Ted Chaough and the darker Don. This season the dark past returned in frequent flashbacks of Don as an adolescent named Dick Whitman growing in a whorehouse. When Don’s past caught up with him in the present, however, it was embodied by black characters.

This begs the question, Why is Dick Whitman haunting Don Draper in blackface? Continue reading Don Draper Fades to Black

Can We Get Don Draper Off the Couch?

I used to watch Mad Men for its fascinating study of Don Draper secretly working to maintain his image. But this season, I am watching Mad Men only to maintain mine. I continue to dutifully tune in because cultural cool kids watch Mad Men. Apparently, we watch it even when it starts to unhinge into Freudian flashback-ridden chaos. Continue reading Can We Get Don Draper Off the Couch?