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« Open Season | Main | Charlie Update: 14 Months (Adjusted) »

October 18, 2010


Very interesting subject, Danny. I'm glad to hear you speak up for Betty because I agree they haven't given her a fair shake, even though signs of her harshness towards the children have been there all along. The photo you show above emphasizes Betty's resemblance to Hitchcock's blonds, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedron and Kim Novak, making me wonder if the character of Betty is caught between stereotypes--the clean, wholesome mothers of 1950s TV, Donna Reed and June Cleaver, and the cool, doomed starlets of the era's movies. While the rest of the Mad Men cast is keeping up with the times, Betty still looks like she belongs in the 1950s.

Dear Danny,
I saw a lengthy interview of Barbara Billingsley from the Archive of Television, and she came across just as sweet, caring, and lovable as she did playing the part of June Cleaver. I agree with all of the people who wish that their own mother had been a lot more like her.

I too am delighted to read your take on Betty Draper. Her husband would have driven me to alcoholism post haste. I'm only on Season 1, Episode 7, over here in la belle France, and I'm regularly devastated by the savagery of the exceedingly well-written weekly screenplays. Betty also reminds me of the challenges that both my mother and my first stepmother encountered in life with my father. And, as the series puts into high relief, god help you if you were a person of color in that golden era...

Great post, Danny. I've always looked at Betty as the "anti-Cleaver", kind of the antimatter world version of her. She remindeds me more and more of "mommy dearest". I'll have to go back and read your defense article.

As this season of Mad Men progressed, I remembered your defense of Betty and how much I had agreed with you. And I agree with you now that it's become nearly impossible to defend her. I hope her character gets more screen time next season too. Different dynamics--maybe another divorce in her future?--would help us see another side of her.

My parents fought all the time except for when the whole family had to sit down to watch "Leave it to Beaver". They are both dead now and we never did ask them why the show was so important to them that they had to literally stop thowing garbage at each other to watch it. I will never forget the night Mother watched it with carrot peels and raw eggs falling off her. We just wished our family was not so dysfunctional and more like the Cleavers. The really funny part was that neither of them could stand Eddy Haskell.

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