Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad Mentor: When Roger Met Don

On the eve of Don Draper's first Clio Award for television advertising excellence, Roger Sterling walks down memory lane to how it became possible. When he met Don, the fur guy. And it's kind of a hazy path considering how much they each drink along the way. Just consider Roger's ramblings in the dictation of his book.

And for Don the award is a culmination of his crooked path to the highest heights of his profession. And after the win, the calculated Draper lets his guard down. First comes the most exaggerated case of hubris, then the drunken blur.

Don still didn't pull a Duck Phillips, ranting out in a crowded banquet room, but his spouting at the mouth caused him to inadvertently steal a slogan from an idiot he interviewed earlier. Then naturally he winds up in bed with a waitress he doesn't remember.

For Roger, the alcohol reveals the truth in his feelings. He's jealous of Don, who always gets the credit and naturally he transfers his anger to any target he can find.

Ultimately, Roger's behavior is damaging his own company. Lane Pryce, the London corporate lackey who runs the nuts and bolts of the agency said so much calling him a "child" in his empowerment of Pete Campbell. This ultimately begs the question, "Who runs Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?"

1. Don Draper - He's the face of the firm, but ultimately a creative diva who goes off the reservation whenever he fells like it.

2. Roger Sterling - A buffoon who is tied to Lucky Strike, the company's biggest client. But he's a loose cannon (see what he did with the Japanese Honda people?) who isn't up to date in 1965.

3. Bert Cooper - Older than Sterling, his presence is mostly ceremonial.

4. Lane Pryce - He really is in control of everything with a dollar sign attached. But he's just an operational wizard who doesn't do accounts or creative, and is still an outsider.

5. Pete Campbell - This is the best character arc in the 4 seasons of the series. He went from a conniving kid to a savvy, confident exec who is well on his way to running the show.

Pete has been challenging Roger this season, and took the balls of his former colleague/competitor Ken Cosgrove while hiring him back.

The next generation is on the rise on the creative side as well with Peggy taking the balls of her creative cohort in the art department in a metaphorical game of strip poker. "Let's get liberated!"

When she "won," she was promptly tagged as "the smuggest bitch on the planet."

Just another major character evolution on a show where the kings are becoming the jesters, and their loyal servants are becoming enlightened.

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