What are the political views of Don Drapers

The new episode of the drama series Mad Men focuses almost exclusively on the interpersonal relationships of the protagonists. Above all personal drama lies the earth-shattering question: butter or margarine?

It wasn't until about ten years after the plot of the current sixth season of Mad Men that a company from Baltimore invented a butter substitute and called it quite unusual: "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" In the new episode The Better Half everyone is now portrayed Narrative threads of the drama series examined under the light of a single metaphor: butter or margarine?

Butter is actually fresh. Margarine is indestructible.

At the beginning, the two creative heavyweights of the new agency, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm), argue about the right advertising strategy for their latest client, Fleischmann's. He makes margarine and wants to start a proper marketing campaign. Your discussion revolves around the question of whether the price sensitivity of the customer or the taste component - especially in contrast to real butter - should be considered.

Stranger in the Night: Betty (January Jones) returns to Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) life with a newfound self-confidence. © AMC

Don argues that consumers are relatively price elastic because margarine is a very cheap product anyway. Ted insists, however, that potential customers would very well factor a 50 percent price difference into their purchase decision. They bring in Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) as a mediator, who, however, expresses herself in an unusually diplomatic manner due to her sympathy for both alpha animals. This neutral point of view is later denounced by Don, he still values ​​Peggy's opinion: “Your opinion matters. I'm not paying you to be a diplomat. "

Peggy, however, does not want to stab Ted in the back, because she has feelings for him that go beyond business matters. He lays his for the first time at the end of the episode nice guy-Attitude off. After he confessed to Peggy that he was in love with her and that she reciprocated these feelings a little less clearly, he rejected her quite unequivocally when she announced the end of her relationship with Abe (Charlie Hofheimer). Her unconscious expressions of sympathy during a meeting with Fleischmann's are rigorously rejected by him, with the simple reference to his own relationship he returns to the professional relationship with Peggy.

The last shot symbolizes Peggy's loneliness at that moment. Standing between Ted's and Don's office, both doors close, leaving her alone. Before that, she had broken up with Abe in an extremely macabre way, or he had broken up with her. He couldn't have put it more drastically: “Your activities are offensive to my every moment.” The differences of opinion between the two, especially on political and social issues, pervaded their relationship from the start. It remains to be seen whether she deliberately stabbed him with her improvised bayonet or whether it was a real mistake. She was never happy with him or his left-wing extremist views.

All the teenagers in the world are in revolt

It is also characteristic of this episode that the aforementioned meeting with Fleischmann's takes place in the absence of the viewer. This illustrates the clear intention of series creator Matthew Weiner and colleagues to focus on the personal relationships of the protagonists in The Better Half. With the exception of the opening scene, business is dealt with in short subordinate clauses. The question “margarine or butter?” Rather relates to the characters and their search for real, true - and probably unattainable - fulfillment.

Desperate Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) seeks advice from the good soul of the office - Joan (Christina Hendricks) © AMC

Don has Megan (Jessica Parà ). In contrast to Butter-Betty (January Jones) and Butter-Sylvia (Linda Cardellini), however, it is only margarine: a cheap, bland, tasteless copy. Don, on the other hand, is and was only margarine for Betty and Sylvia. This has hardly ever been more evident than in this episode, with the exception of the break up-Scene between Don and Sylvia in Man with a Plan. After two seasons of glamorous absence, Betty finally gets a big gig again.

She manages to convince her husband Henry (Christopher Stanley) of her feminine qualities at the same time and to coax a sad confession from her ex-husband Don: Sex doesn't mean anything to him, he wants someone to lull him to sleep. She only has pity for Megan: “That poor girl. She doesn't know that loving you is the worst way to get to you.

So Don still gets his fat - or his margarine? - path. The sixth season portrays him almost continuously as a disoriented, constant seeker, who - no matter what he does - simply does not want to succeed in approaching his salvation even a little. His next victim on this perpetual search will probably be Megan, should she not make the jump herself in time. However, a first self-confident impulse towards Don's airs is revealed: "Something has to change."

In the shadow of the big storylines, Mad Men also focuses on the personal problems of its protagonists in the smaller stories. The Don Draper counterfeit Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) consults an old colleague ostensibly about a new job on the advice of Harry Crane (Rich Sommer), but primarily wants to talk about his private loneliness. The headhunter has a simple piece of advice for him: "You've got to spend less time in this place and more at home."

At home, however, Pete doesn't find peace either and so he trusts Joan (Christina Hendricks), who can help him out with at least one practical problem via Bob Benson (James Wolk). Roger Sterling (John Slattery) proves to be incapable of caring for his four-year-old grandson in a child-friendly manner, which immediately punishes his daughter with a ban on seeing each other again. The eternal child Roger only meant well.


Butter or margarine? The great metaphor for the end of the sixth season of Mad Men, which has been heralded for a few episodes, has already been practiced here using Don Drapers as an example. Certainly this can also be used with many other characters. Abe is margarine for Peggy, Ted Butter. Trudy Campbell is butter for Pete, but he cheated on her with a margarine lady.

However, the butter metaphor should not be overused at this point. Rather, the great Betty comeback should be discussed again. How January Jones' character was conjured up again after a season and a half in oblivion, with old glory and newfound self-confidence, is very remarkable. And although the reactivation of the Don-and-Betty sex drive was more about the nuances, her husband's less timid treatment was tantamount to a resounding slap in the face.

Although the episode was completely business-free, it was still very attractive. This was mainly due to the pointed and, for Mad Men level, rather breathless views of the individual characters on their private lives. Most of them stand in front of a pile of broken glass. But the American dream that was still alive at the time teaches us: Everyone gets a second chance. Or just: "I Can't Believe It's Butter!"

The article was published 8 years ago, on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Axel Schmitt under the URL https://www.serienjunkies.de/mad-men/6x09-the-better-half.html#review.

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