Joan and Peggy.
I love them both. You can take Betty Draper and leave her in Reno till 1982 for all I care. But Joan and Peggy, they're the heart of Mad Men. They're the depth that Betty, as hard and cold as unbreakable ice, wishes she could somehow conjure up.
When I look in the mirror or read my bio it's Peggy I see, no doubt about it. But what a sigh that leaves. It's Joanie who has my heart.
She gets everything, everyone, without saying a word.
She's utterly brilliant and utterly overlooked because she's so brazenly and unapologetically Va-Va-Va-Voom, like Marilyn co-joined with Liz Taylor, and so what if it's 1963, nothing's changed. We still equate beauty with stupidity. We still grade on a vicious curve, your IQ dropping with every B, C, DD cup.
So it was a little sublime Sunday night, Mad Men finale, when Joan and Peggy got a bit of what they deserve.
Has the word 'No' as uttered by Peggy ever been so long in coming?
Has a refusal to acquiesce ever felt so morally assured?
And when Joan finally came striding into the room head high and heels on - has any entrance been so welcome? We all she was coming. We knew Sterling Cooper etc. etc. couldn't function without her. The difference is now she knew as well. She holds the power not in her hips but in her hands, her head.
What I love about these characters isn't that they're women, isn't that they work in a fictional ad agency, but that they're women as compelling, complex, and utterly individual as any man on TV. Two entities who haven't much in common besides gender, and besides this: they've both been taken for granted their entire lives, their entire careers. Not simply by the men who employ them and romance them, but by the women around them. Their families. Society. And most egregiously, by themselves. I laughed out loud when Joanie smashed that vase against her husband's head as if she were christening a ship. The SSS Good Doctor.
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. It's a start. But why not Olson + Holloway instead?