October 26, 2009

Dissecting Mad Men: "The Gypsy and the Hobo"

So, Donald Draper's secret is out. The high-ups at Stirling Cooper know and Betty knows, and yet it's still an open secret. People want Don to be Don even though he's Dick. They need him to be Don just as much as this man needs to be Don. Anyway, today, I'm dissecting the moment where Joan hits her husband with a vase. Hot!

So, Joan's husband, who raped her in season two, is failing at everything. He failed at becoming a surgeon, and now he's failing at becoming a shrink. So, dude has a break-down, telling Joanie, "You don't know what it's like want something your whole life and not get it," or words to that effect. The look on Joan's face in the close-up that ensues is telling; Joan thought she wanted to be the wife of a professional man who could take care of her. She worked towards this her whole life, but now because of her husband's incompetence, everything she thought she had is gone and seems entirely out of reach. Joan's husband never considers that the death of his dream might also be the death of something for Joan. He is THAT self-centered. It's just like that he never considered that when he wanted to fuck her in her boss's office, that she might not want it too. It's not that he doesn't care about Joan's feelings, it's that he doesn't seem to think she HAS any. He assumes his failure is his alone, despite the fact taht she lives with him and is his wife. In protest to his self-absorption, Joan picks up her vase, which is full of flowers, and hits her husband on the head with it. If Joan's husband insists on concentrating only on his feelings, then Joan will make him feel pain BECAUSE of her. She'll infiltrate his selfish bubble by physically hurting him when he just wants to be left alone, just like he invaded her personal space and body when he raped her.

Joan's anger here isn't her first rebellion against her husband; she has told him off before, but she has never before seemed angry and out of control. Joan is consummately calm, and for the first time, she seems genuinely angry. Maybe her anger will be a productive force. Before, Joan was just frustrated with her husband, now she seems to realize her deserves for her to hurt him. Perhaps she'll leave him? I hope so!

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