It’s in my nature to say something one week, and then say the exact opposite thing a few weeks later. So here I go again.
Last time I was the Betty cheerleader, and this time, I’m the Betty whah whah whah. Really? You can’t leave your marriage without jumping into another one immediately? Even for the early 60s, that’s kind of pathetic. That guy might be tall and handsome, but he’s so vapid I can’t stand to hear him talk. And when he does, I don’t listen to a word he says. Henry Francis? The fact that his name sounds like a Cabbage Patch doll’s should have been your first clue honey.
As for Don, I’m going to do another 180 turn. While I hated him last we spoke, now I want to join his renegade agency. (Just please don’t call it SCD&P) Because while there’s nothing that turns me off more than arrogance, there’s nothing more appealing to me than a man who can feel that comfortable while eating so many large helpings of humble pie.
He walked into room upon room in last night’s episode and basically said, “You’re right. I’m an ass. Everyone knows it. I’m the last to find out. But now I get it. I’m sorry. Let’s move on.”
That took a lot of courage. You have to respect that.
Speaking of courage, let’s talk about Peggy. In 2009, after being a female copywriter in the minority for 16 years, I would still find it difficult to tell a male superior that he was taking me for granted. I might have said the same thing that she did, and I would have been just as nervous, but to say it in 1963 was almost unheard of. She is so far ahead of her time it’s bordering on brilliance. No, she is brilliant. And then when Roger asks her to get him some coffee, and she doesn’t hesitate for a second to say No, it was the best line to me by far. One word. Two letters. But packed with the power of a song.
But aside from the great character development, dialogue and art direction that plops us so perfectly into the past, there was a spirit to last night’s episode that is universally appealing, for it captured the feeling of starting over, and what a liberating feeling that is.
Who doesn’t want to chuck it all and start over sometimes? Who isn’t longing for the opportunity to admit that things are not right for us, have not been right for us for some time, that we’ve been living a lie and trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t jibe with our true selves? How great does it feel to realize we don’t have to conform to another’s ideals anymore?
Yes, divorce is hard. The scene with the children was difficult for me to watch. And leaving a comfortable job with benefits takes an equally terrifying leap of faith. So it was a show about risk. It was about not knowing what lies ahead but diving into it anyway.
Last night’s show had that entrepreneurial spirit that was so perfect for our time, even while it was set in the early 60s.
I think that’s why we’re all enamored of this show. It’s visually retro but at heart, so timeless. It never fails to find that universal chord, and strike it.
Which is something that all good advertising should aspire to do, as well.