So, finally, after a 14 month hiatus, AMC's Madmen is set to return to television screens on March 25. As a long time fan of the show (just call me a Maddict), I'm excited, of course, to see what Don Draper and company have been doing all this time. When we last saw the gang from Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, Don had just proposed to Megan (a huge surprise), Pete was gaining a conscience (it was inevitable), Peggy was coming into her own as a professional ad woman (it's been an uphill climb) and Betty was still unhappy (does the woman ever think of anything but herself?). And then there is Joan.
There are a lot of reasons to watch Mad Men. The exemplary writing, the painstaking attention to anachronistic detail, the clothes, the hair styles, the spot on depictions of political incorrectness, both socially and in the workplace. But, for my money, one of the best reasons is Joan Harris (nee Holloway), the redheaded office bombshell played to perfection by actress Christina Hendricks.
I know it probably says something about me that my favorite character on the show is also one of the most anachronistic. Women like Joan Harris don't really exist anymore. I mean, her obvious intelligence and social savvy aside, Joan really wants nothing more than to be happy with the man of her choosing. Never mind that she could probably run circles around any of the other women on the show when it comes to staying cool in the midst of a crisis, or handling herself with the necessary aplomb in an awkward social or workplace situation. Joan Harris may look like a sexpot from the 1950s, but she has the mind of a politician and the inborn smarts of a natural diplomat. But for all that, she is, without question, a woman of her time, even though that time is rapidly changing and taking the rest of the world with it. When we last saw Joan, she was pregnant by her longtime lover, Roger Sterling, after a spontaneous tryst in an alleyway following a late night mugging. Added to the troublesome fact that Roger is married, Joan's own spouse, a doctor, had just been dispatched to provide medical services to the troops in Viet Nam. What to do? Have an abortion, of course, and let Roger pay for it. But that would be too easy, and it wasn't, it turned out, what Joan wanted. Instead, our last glimpse of Joan was shadowed by perfidy as she decided to keep the baby (which she knew was Roger's) and do her best to convince her husband that it was actually his.
Oh, Joan. Big mistake. Not to mention uncharacteristically risky. But that's why I love her. For all of her workplace know-how and deceptively flattering ways (because that's how women get what they want in the world of Mad Men), Joan is a softie. She wants a baby, her maternal clock is ticking up a storm, and she's willing to risk it all to have that baby in her arms. I, personally, would not have made that choice, but I love Joan for being real and going after what she wants, even if what she wants isn't anywhere near as lofty as what the hard-driven Peggy or the pathologically selfish Betty want. Plus, when it comes to clock-stoppin' looks, there ain't nobody in the Mad Men universe like Joan. Peggy might look cute in her little office suits and Peter Pan collars. Betty might be the ice princess of Don Draper's former dreams in her stylish designer duds. But Joan has the curves and the strut that make men salivate. And in a world where making men drool is power, that's nothing to sneeze at.
If you're looking for a blog with meaningful content on the important issues of the day, you've come to the wrong place. This is the shallows, my friend. Nothing but shallowness as far as the eye can see. Let someone else make sense of things. I like it here.
- I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH COMPLEX POLITICAL ISSUES, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, AND FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY, I CONSIDER IT MY GIFT TO YOU, MY READER, TO OFFER THIS SHALLOW LITTLE HAVEN, WHERE NOTHING IS TOO SHALLOW, TOO INSIGNIFICANT, OR TOO RIDICULOUS TO JUSTIFY OUR ATTENTION. IN OTHER WORDS, IF IT'S NOT IMPORTANT....SO WHAT? NEITHER WAS MARILYN MONROE'S BRA SIZE. AND THAT STILL SELLS MAGAZINES, DOESN'T IT?