Mad Men Midweek Fix: Dark Shadows

mad men midweek fix

The latest Mad Men episode primarily had the Feministing writers tearing their hair out over Betty’s weight gain storyline.

Betty joins Weight Watchers, tries to manipulate Sally to undermine Megan and Don.

I stayed awake through this episode. Barely.

Unsurprising–Betty has never been particularly mature. Also, her weight is the most annoying plotline because it’s not really making sense. Is she unhappy and got fat? Is she happy and got fat? Or did getting fat make her happy? Is being fat terrible? Is this a tragedy? Hella sloppy storyline and it’s a little boring. Sally’s mean streak was really intense right there tho–was she channeling Don or Betty? That scene was intense, but the way Megan ends up being the voice of reason in the end makes it clear she is way more keyed in to the family dynamics than anyone else. -Samhita

The whole Better Draper fat-shaming storyline is getting completely out of hand. It’s the most tired, sexist trope of all time. Being fat is not a tragedy. Let me say that again. Being fat is not a tragedy! Up until this season, Betty Draper represented the most idealized version of womanhood and femininity. I get that they’re trying to flip the switch and portray Betty in a completely new light. With that, they had so much potential to challenge viewers’ notions of women like Betty who appear to “have it all.” They had an opportunity to humanize Betty, but all they did was reinforce damaging stereotypes. Megan’s power lies in her taut figure while Betty’s downfall lies in her…late night whip cream binge?

C’mon, Mad Men! You’re insulting our intelligence. All you’re doing is regurgitating the message that’s shoved down our throats every other day of the week by every other media outlet: being fat is the worst possible crime a woman can commit. You eat too much ice cream, you become a sad, despairing lady. That’s some really lazy writing. -Anna

I hate this storyline. Seriously, it’s not smart enough for Mad Men. I’m sorry, but I have no interest in watching fat shaming for entertainment. It’s mean spirited towards the character of Betty, and just insulting to the audience. -Jos

Yeah, Samhita said it: This storyline is just boring. For a show that is so subtle in every other way, this heavy-handed storyline is just really odd. Whip cream?? For real? Like, we get it: She’s fat and sad. Seriously, is there anything else to get here? As we’ve said before, Betty’s weight gain has potential to be an interesting, complicated storyline. But so far the fact that she’s gained a few pound is literally the only thing we’ve learned about Betty all season. Well, that and that she thought she was gonna die for a second. -Maya

Michael Ginsburg is upstaging everybody.

Michael Ginsburg could get it. Also, Don’s feeble attempt at undermining him and Michael calling him out, but Don clearly lying since he spent all night figuring out a way to upstage Michael is showing Don’s declining influence and relevance. But if he upstages Peggy in the long run, I’ll hate him forever. #loyal -Samhita

Seconded. #TeamPeggy -Anna

I noticed in this episode that Peggy’s kind of old fashioned like Don. Are either of them really caught up with the cultural changes going on around them? Cause that’s kinda their job. I’m totally in the Michael Ginsburg can get it club – but also, I think it’s smart to have the character who’s work represents the future be so ignorantly sexist. The more things change… -Jos

Roger pitches Manischewitz.

No one on the corner has swagger like Roger. His borderline anti-Semitic jokes were annoying but era appropriate. Roger’s ability to appeal to the rich Jewish folks of Manhattan will keep the old man in the game. I mean–he’s gotta run out of money at some point right? -Samhita

Megan teaches Sally to fake cry.

Is Megan the best actor ever playing the role of her life or is she confused and all over the place? Every time I think we are seeing who she really is, we get another glimpse of how she can con people, including fake crying. Sally seems to be connecting to Megan on a real talk level, but is feeling sorry for mom and being protective of her. -Samhita

But not really! I was kind of surprised when Sally lied to Betty about everything being A-OK on the Anna Draper disclosure front back at Don’s place. Sally’s turning into a beast! She’s learning from all of the worst of them! Yikes! I’m kind of scared of her. That scene where Don tried to reprimand her and she screamed back at him? We’ll see what kind of 1960s/70s young adult she becomes. -Anna

Megan: “Some men are the kind of big, mean assholes who chase you around your apartment and throw you to the ground. But hey, you can totally manipulate them with your tears. Girl power!”

I actually enjoyed seeing Sally stand up for herself when all these adults are manipulating her. Yeah, she’s definitely learning some disturbing behaviors from her parentals, but she’s also learning to navigate these relationships, and frankly I think she’ll quickly learning to do that better than the adults. -Jos

Roger and Jane have sex, he pays for and “ruins” her new apartment

The clarity that Roger experienced post-LSD is clearly not shared and he is mucking this break-up up all over the place. And it’s costing him a fortune! Or…is she the one playing him? -Samhita

Ooooh, I really hope she’s playing him. -Maya

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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