Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Is Don Draper really a vampire? and other depressing questions
It's not every day, well, it's almost every day but never mind, that we find, that I find I mean, uh. Let me start over again.
I don't even know how I YouTubed my way into this one. Every once in a while I profess my rabid, tree-scratching, hide-tearing, rubbing-salt-into-my-private-areas LUST for AMC's Mad Men. It's the smartest show I've ever seen, even though, at the base of it all, it's nothing more than a sexy and well-acted soap opera.
Angst rules supreme. Nobody is ever really happy. This makes us all feel better about ourselves, because, you see, WE'RE never really happy either. Or at least, I'm not.
Privately, I believe that happiness is for idiots, or at least for people who don't think or don't notice the intractible mess all around them. I have moments of it, of course. Even serious upgusts. But angst remains my prevailing mood, and that's when I am not downright depressed.
So Mad Men cheers me up. The way the characters hurl themselves at their fate, impaling themselves on ill fortune, screwing around madly just to forget. They beat their fists on reality. They don (!) mask after mask, phony disguise after phony disguise, hoping THIS one will be the charm, and it never is.
And saaaaaaaay, isn't that some coincidence that we have a character named Don (as in Don Quixote; as in Don Juan; as in The Godfather; as in "don we now our gay apparel") Draper, as in let's throw a tarp over all this mess before anyone sees it (too late!). And that's not even his real name: he has "donned" it like a "drape" over his somewhat vampirish personality. His real name, Dick (!) Whitman, does not need to be examined (though Walt Whitman may sneak in there somewhere: but hey, wasn't he queer or something?).
We could sit here and analyze every character's name - Jesus, Roger Sterling?? - Lane Pryce?? - but I'm getting very tired. I am so addicted now that even when whatsisname, that Weinerhead guy, spews out a substandard episode, I still watch it at least three times. Then I go on the message boards and see what arcane, cabalistic meanings the fans have squeaked out, adding a few of my own ("hey, Cool Whip isn't real whipped cream!"). When I found this video I thought, great, I get to see Don's new sexpot wife Megan make a total fool of herself (again) and be the only person in the room who doesn't know. But then. . .
Then I realized that my two greatest loves, Mad Men and Mr. Trololo, had somehow met and blended, had fused together and become one, and it was magical!
There is a certain affinity between the two songs, after all, a certain bouncy optimism. Surely Don needs this sort of frisson of joy, this gasping souffle, this seething birthday pie that he can stick his thumb in any time he wants to. Megan may have big scared eyes and teeth that are completely over the top, but she's HAPPY damn it, and is going to make DON happy ("yes, master!") too, even if she won't eat the orange sherbet at Howard Johnson's.
Ye-ye-ye-ye-ye, ye-ye-ye, ye-ye-ye, o-ho-ho-ho-ho!