Mad Men Season 4 – second view – what would Don Draper do?

Posted on 16 September 2010
By Andy Johnson
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Opening the series with the well-worn ‘who is Don Draper?’

The rhetoric must now be ‘what would Don Draper do?’

This is the unique selling point of Mad Men, the show constantly re-invents itself and evolves while exploring what it was like for people living through the life-changing events of the 1960s.

A one-legged reporter from Ad Age has captured Don’s essence.

He alludes to Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, claiming Don must have a secret painting, ageing rapidly in the attic – grasping at once the moral decay of the character Don Draper, so deftly created.

But this is a side of the ad man we haven’t seen before. Divorced and down at heel – Don is no longer the catch and all his moves on the opposite sex are rejected like an awkward pitch.

No longer the successful married man, he is the pitiful divorced father of two and feeling guilty, now taken to paying hookers to slap him about in his seedy Manhattan apartment.

But Don is the living embodiment of his advertising genius, able to adapt and change for a new audience. Don is ready to re-invent his brand.

Roger Sterling has told him he ‘sounds like a prick’ and his Mid-Western modesty is no longer acceptable. But will Don go too far?

He tells the Wall Street Journal a very different story of their agency take over, which will make Don the star of this new agency.

The world has turned and now wants to reconcile: ‘What I want versus what is expected of me.’

The second episode nods to the onslaught of Beatlemania and their ’45s’ which Don orders his secretary to buy for daughter Sally before giving his desk dolly the wrong kind of Christmas bonus.

We witnessed the return of two characters. Sinister Glen, who is making a play for Sally and ‘Ready’ Freddy Rumsfeld who begins a battle of old against new world views with Peggy Olsen.

Mostly, the other characters are in limbo, we have enjoyed only a glimpse of glamourpuss Jane Holloway and the ticking timebomb friction between Peggy and Pete Campbell.

Copy writer Peggy is more assured following the success of her Sugarberry ham fight PR stunt, the best idea of the current campaign, she could soon be leaving Don in her creative wake.

Mad Men fans’ answers are being answered so far this season as silver fox and hard-drinking legend Roger and his killer one-liners are playing a bigger part, even stepping into Santa’s shoes to give Lucky Strike’s wayward child Lee Gardner all he wants.

Compelling viewing, without adverts. Wednesday and Sunday nights BBC 4.