“What Sally Sees”
I close out Dear Television’s coverage of Mad Men, Season Six at The New Republic with a close look at the season’s closing scene. All my pet theories—Don’s de-centering as protagonist, the ascendance of Sally and Peggy as the show’s primary points-of-view—come home to roost.
“As the song plays out and the last frame of the season shows Don and Sally looking ahead together, with Don’s face in focus and Sally’s blurred in the foreground, we mirror the camera’s priorities by wondering what Don is thinking, what kind of revelatory vision he’s had. But we know that’s not the point and now so does Don. It’s what Sally sees that matters.”
We’ll be back in the fall!
“Draper / Nixon”
For Dear Television at The New Republic, I argue that Mad Men‘s eleventh episode reveals Sally as the show’s secret protagonist and Don Draper as a certain disgraced ex-president.
“If Walter White is ‘the one who knocks,’ Don Draper is the one who watches. And, in this way, Don Draper’s particular kink becomes emblematic of the sexist and racist culture at Mad Men’s core. The ability of white men to lay claim to the position of the spectator, observer, and overseer—and thus to control the way they are themselves seen—is the key to their social dominance. And, of course, big things happen when that position is compromised. The founding crisis of Mad Men may well have been the moment Peggy Olson got to stand on the other side of the one-way mirror in the Sterling Cooper testing room.”
“Status Quo Ante Bellum”
Here’s my take on the ninth episode of Mad Men’s sixth season:
“Even Betty’s body became a (lecherous) object of nostalgia this episode. It’s hard to tell whether Matthew Weiner more enjoys punishing January Jones by putting her in that fat suit or leering at her after she’s allowed out of it.”