Don Draper: Man, Myth, Mystery?

By December 21, 2016 Groovy Critic, Groovy Posts
Don Draper

As I begin to start my next binge-worthy Netflix series, it has me wondering if my next few weeks will include anything but bathroom breaks and chips.

‘Mad Men’ is the story of the elusiveness of the 1950’s advertising industry and everything that goes with it.

Although I have only had the time to engage in a few sittings and have only just begun the first season, it is clear to me that this show will soon become my next breaking bad.

The esque of Mad Men is established within seconds of the series pilot as a Don Cherry song plays in the background of a classic 1950’s bar scene with cigarette smoke filling the air.

Then you see it.

The Man

Don Draper, sitting alone at a table smoking a cigarette, just thinking. Draper is the main protagonist of the series, and is portrayed as the alpha-male that every woman wants to be with, and that every man wants to be like. The Don is what makes the show what it is. He is the atlas of Greek Mythology for Mad Men, and quite frankly he is what is so captivating about the show.

After seeing a few episodes and observing Draper in both home and work environments, it is clear he is the driving force of the plot. However, there is one question that has yet to be answered thus far.

We have no idea what he is about. Sure, he is a driven, influential, charismatic individual, but what is he about? Even his coworkers have noticed it. I have often seen him deliberately walk away mid conversation or simply stop responding. Does this create a sort of power Draper has over not only his clients and competitors, but even his coworkers?

The Mystery

This proves to show Draper is a man of mystery, with no real way for others to know what he is about. Simply put this entices others to magnetize towards him in a sense. Take this perfect example from early in season one. In the first episode Draper is in a meeting with Rachel Menken in hopes for her to gain wealthier customers at her department store. Mid meeting Draper calls her methods ‘perverse’ and also storms out in anger. Now normally this would end all future possible business endeavors, but just two episodes later you find Draper and Menken kissing on the top of her department store. This practically impossible endeavor was achieved through a series of power moves that Draper instigated throughout those episodes.

The Myth

Now normally being an advertising executive making clearly large sums of money, being a ladies’ man and alpha male, having a good work and home life would be the clear marker of a good and happy life, but I’m not sure that is the case with Draper. We have seen now (in just a few episodes) that Draper is happy, but that there is also something missing inside of him.

Look at the proof to get a better idea of this; Draper continuously cheats on his wife, and during episode three Draper even disappears from his daughter’s birthday party for hours on end, only to have the camera gaze upon his car parked under a highway bridge.

Could this odd behavior from a man like Draper be a hint at something greater? Maybe these subtle, or not so subtle behaviors have more than meets the eye. This is perhaps that silent force that is so enticing about Draper, and even the show. After all, Draper is the largest and most important part in the series, which would make sense as a definite possibility for a sub-plot.

-Nader