Episode 354: Don Draper’s Seppuku

The Overthinkers tackle the new season of Mad Men, the folly of learning history from TV shows, and Hillary Clinton’s playlist for 2016.

otip-logo-podcastonePeter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich, and Matthew Wrather overthink the start of the final half of the final season of Mad Men, the crisis of American Masculinity as epitomized in Jon Hamm and Vin Diesel, the folly of learning history from TV shows, and Hillary Clinton’s playlist for 2016.


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8 Comments on “Episode 354: Don Draper’s Seppuku”

  1. Adrian #

    It seems less like Mad Men is “about” either Don or Sally, than that it is about a time period. Every time period that has ever been was at some point the present, and then subsequently became the past. Don Draper began Mad Men as the man of the Present, but time is always transitional, it moved on without him, and we are watching him become the Past. That necessitates someone else moving in to become the Present, and Sally is one of many young people poised to do that. Don also thought he was going to be the Future of course, but it’s been pretty clear to the viewer, who exists there currently, that that was never going to be his fate.

    I do really like the reading that it is about the distance between the imagined and the actual, though. I’m going to have to think about that for a while.


  2. Margo #

    ….And the whole series took place on the Holodeck.


  3. Peter Tupper #

    I’ll concede that Mad Men sometimes takes cheap and easy shots at the past, engaging in what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”. It’s become a bit more nuanced in later seasons.

    I would also point out that a big part of Mad Men’s project is anti-nostalgia, against the kind of fetishization and historicization we see of the era today. People dressed better but they weren’t better people. It’s not so much an attack on the people back then as it is on the people now who look back fondly.

    I’ve also wondered what the future version of Mad Men would be like, looking backwards through 50 years to the 2010s.


    • Margo #

      I have wondered the same thing. Such a show would be an exploration of :”What was up with all the income inequality and fossil fuel use?”


      • clayschuldt #

        I would watch that show.


      • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

        But the thing is it won’t be income inequality and fossil fuel use that we get knocked for. The received wisdom of the future won’t align with our own—that’s the thing that ought to be a little humbling when we’re tempted to celebrate our enlightenment in comparison to those sexist/racist/whatever yobs on Mad Men. (I’d never heard “chronological snobbery” before. That’s good.)

        It’s gonna be something like, “Didn’t those idiots know all that kale would kill them?”


        • fenzel OTI Staff #

          They slept with _cell phones_ next to their _heads_?

          They went to a _separate building_ for work, and while there, they _used the Internet while working_?

          They _all_ used air conditioning???


        • clayschuldt #

          They “Binge Watched” entire T.V. Shows….

          Eurovision WASN’T popular in America…


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