Mad Men's Betty Draper as of Season 4
I have been watching Mad Men over the past couple of months. The problem is, so have you. You, however, have just finished watching Season 6 and I just finished Season 4. Such is the problem in this new age of watch when you want television. As I have been catching up with Mad Men, I have had much to say. I have been keeping quiet because I know what ever speculation I make, you already know what happens. So I have watched this amazing show in silence. But future be damned. I just have to talk about the most amazing character on this show, Betty Draper Francis. After watching the season finale of season 4, Tomorrowland. I decided to look to see if January Jones had won any acting awards for her role. I was not surprised that she hadn't. Not that she doesn't deserve it, quite the contrary. I think she has created the single most amazing female character ever portrayed on television. Problem is she is totally unlikeable. Award show voters and TV critics, don't like that sort of behavior from women.
Betty Draper Francis is a woman who hates her children. She hates the gorgeous Don Draper. She even hates her new husband, a character so uninteresting I can't remember his name and don't care enough to Google it. Before you throw names at me like Roseanne Conner, Alexis Carrington or any role ever played by Heather Locklear, let me counter your argument. The women in the past who have been unlikeable characters or bad mothers, have always been over the top displays of an unrealistic woman. Or, they have been used for comedy purposes. Even worse, they have had some deep seated past that comes out to explain why they are this way. Not our Betty. She lives it up with tons of money, a story book life and still hates everyone around her. She just honestly is an awful human being. In the 4 seasons that I have watched, she has never done one nice thing for anyone and I love her for it. (Sometimes in my TV fantasies her and the equally awful Pete Campbell fall in love and torture each other for life.) In a TV age when Tony Soprano, Gregory House, Walter White and Dexter play out in over the top bad behavior, I have enjoyed watching an actress not put an ounce of kindness into the portrayal of a 60's alcoholic bad mother. There was a subtle scene in Tomorrowland that really displayed this feeling we have all had about her and she wasn't even in the scene. Don, Megan and the kids were out to eat. Sally spills her milk shake and everyone panics. Don is about to yell at her and looks to Megan who just smiles and says, It is just a milk shake. Everyone sort of exhales. It is at that moment you realize who truly has tortured this family.
Over the past 6 years, even though I never watched Mad Men, I had heard tons about the character of Don Draper: his womanizing, his drinking, his good looks. As a first time viewer of this show, it is Betty that I find most innovative. Do I like her? No. Do I want to see what happens next with her? You bet. I know that she will be redeemed cause that is what happens in all of television. My guess is, you already know what her redemption is. (I beg you not to spoil it for me. I am watching as fast as I can.) But sitting here at the end of season 4, I just wanted to give January Jones and Matthew Weiner a thank you for creating a very fascinating female in a very well thought out series.
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