I didn’t used to.
She was one of my favorite MAD MEN characters season one. I loved that she shot the neighbors pigeons, and how ingeniously she got back at Don for being in cahoots with her therapist. (I’d say what that was but I’d get a hundred spoiler alert complaints even though it was three seasons ago. Netflix the DVD’s people!)
I also felt sorry for her. She was this trapped 60s housewife dependent on a man who cheated on her constantly. Bohemian women, her kids’ teacher, even a Jew! Yes, she flirted with a nine-year-old creepy neighbor boy but that’s still not sleeping with a Red Sea Pedestrian. Her father had dementia and she had to constantly look at really bad wallpaper in the breakfast nook – so the woman did have heavy crosses to bear.
But starting last season when she took Don back (“She took Don back? Damn! Why don’t you have spoiler alerts?!”) she has morphed into an insufferable frigid bitch. It's hard to get it up when you're afraid it's going to break off.
At first I tried. Every character in MAD MEN is deliciously complex. There are flaws, ugly traits, and weaknesses in all of them. Sometimes the big surprise is when you learn they have good qualities.
But Betty has gone from classic tragic figure to Ann Coulter. Now granted my feelings have been colored by the actress herself who plays Betty Draper. When January Jones allegedly slammed into three parked cars last June and fled the scene, saying, "I can't deal with this commotion" that took away some of her girlish charm for me.
And maybe series creator Matt Weiner wants me to now hate her. If so, he’s done a great job because Betty has become Mary Tyler Moore in ORDINARY PEOPLE but without the warmth and whimsy of that character.
You just KNOW that Betty’s kids – especially Sally – are going to hate her forever. They will both be in therapy for the rest of their natural Lexapro guzzling lives. What does it say about how fucked up a family is when Don Draper (who’s assuming the identity of a dead man) is the most well adjusted? Sally is destined for every eating disorder possible.
Side trip: Pat McCormick, one of the funniest and sickest human beings of all time once told this joke: “Just got back from the Bulimic’s Convention. The highlight was when the cake came out of the girl.” But I digress…
Now Betty’s making someone else’s life miserable. It’s only a matter of time before he’s in bed with a shana meydele.
And all that’s fine except… I don’t want to see it. Whenever the show goes away from Don or the agency to a Betty scene I zone out. Sorry but I’d rather watch the preview for the new RUBICON series or even the BMW commercial than follow the Wicked Witch of Westchester County. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care that she’s unhappy. I don’t care that she’s unfulfilled. I just want her to wake up one morning, look in the mirror and there is Bette Davis from HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE staring back at her.
I will say this though, she does serve a function. With Betty Draper around you now KNOW why the men are mad.
Let's see more of Don or Roger or Pete or Peggy or Joan or Trudy. Hell, Trudy can bring along some of her friends from COMMUNITY, I don't care. Anyone but Betty!