Was the Mad Men Finale a Feminist Metaphor?
After weeks of speculation on how the TV series Mad Men would end—most of it glaringly wrong, some of it surprisingly close—those of us who have seen the actual finale are left to ponder the question: What did it all mean?
Here at BUST, however, the answer is pretty clear. The biggest difference from the '60s, when the show began, to the early '70s, where the show wraps up, can be summed up in a single word: Feminism. And the impact of that change was made abundantly clear in each of the closing stories for the three main female characters: Betty, Peggy, and Joan.
[CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD]
Betty: The most old-school of the group, Betty Francis (ex Draper) was, at the beginning of the show, a happy housewife -- of sorts, at least -- putting up with her husband's philandering ways and enjoying the benefits of his financial success. But throughout the series, there were hints that Betty was wrestling with a degree of dissatisfaction in that role. She was, it seems, the embodiment of Betty Friedan's "problem that has no name." And although she did, in the final season, decide to go back to school and get a degree, the death of Betty represents the death of the kind of traditional female role she lead, which was, for many years, the only role most women were offered. As a result of Betty Friedan and a raft of women, the 70s finally saw the death of the "feminine mystique," and if anyone embodied that mystique, it was Betty.
Peggy: A bit younger than Betty, Peggy always had her mind on her career and her career on her mind, which was a rarity for women when she started. In her progress up the corporate ladder she was continuously battling sexism, whether having her ideas belittled or outright stolen, or, more recently, being mistaken for a secretary and not even having an office at the new company. We've seen Peggy through a number of romances, but these were always just the B plots to a life that was all about being a financially independent woman, and making it in a man's world. In the end, she gets a man, yes, but it's clearly not for financial stability (her suiter is lower in rank than she is at the company), but purely for love. Will they get married? Who knows. Peggy needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, but she needs a career like a fish needs water. Her wrap-up embodies the goals of 70s feminism.
Joan: The female bombshell of the series, whose body seems to make men's eyes pop out like a wolf in a Warner Brothers cartoon, Joan was also very career-minded. Like Peggy, she, too, rose up the corporate ladder, but paused to get married and have a baby. And, like Peggy, she was constantly battling sexism, especially in the form of sexual harassment in the workplace (which mouse-y Peggy seemed to largely have escaped). Nevertheless, Joan had no intention of playing down her feminine assets (although that's just what feminists of the time might have recommended); and when it turned out that this was simply not compatible with the boy's club mentality of the corporate world at the time, she walked away from it all. In the end, she gave up a promising romance to start up her own business, becoming the "strong, independent" woman that the feminism of the 70s idealized, but on her own terms. Coupled with the cool million dollars she pocketed and a guaranteed large inheritance for her kid, Joan didn't need to depend on a man, and she didn't need to work. And yet she chose having a career over having a man, bringing home the message that for many women, as for many men, work is more than just a paycheck: just like Coca Cola, it satisfies.
Mad Men Finale: Here's How We Think It Will End
Here at BUST we have very important conversations; we question, we discuss, we argue, we throw things. But this week there was a doozy of a mystery; an anxiety-ridden, lip-biting, hair-tearing, earth-shattering question that has kept us all up at night. What will happen during tomorrow night's Mad Men finale? Here are a few of our theories.
Caution: SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Don Draper Really is D.B. Cooper, and Matthew Weiner is Fucking with Us
A couple of years ago, someone posited the very insightful theory that Don Draper may have been based on the real-life D.B. Cooper, a man who, in 1971, bought a one-way plane ticket to Portland. Once boarded, he smoked a cigarette and drank a whiskey, then told the stewardess he had a bomb in his briefcase and that the plane was being hijacked. When the plane landed, he let everyone off except the pilot and demanded $200,000 and four parachutes. Ransom received, he had the pilot fly up again, where he jumped out. He was never found. This truly happened. And of course, Donald Draper sounds like DB Cooper, there is the Cooper from the advertising agency, all those references to planes, etc etc. However, Matthew Weiner recently denied that this theory is correct. He could be fucking with us, though. There are just too many connections to this particular theory. I mean...Don has no car. He's waiting for a bus. He could take a plane. Really, Weiner, wtf?
Don Draper Will Drive Off into the Sunset, Literally
In the poster for this season, we have Don in his convertible, top down, driving along, sun in the windshield. And, in fact, we know that Don is driving West. And as you remember, the sun sets in the West. He is therefore, literally driving off into the sunset. And that will be the end of Don Draper. He will return to being Dick Whitman, possibly restarting his life in California, and taking the kids out there with him, or just leaving them for Francis to deal with. He's definitely going to give up the con, though. He was a conman when he took Draper's identity; his life in ad sales was as a con man; as a '60s-era womanizing cad he is also a con man. Con men were revered then, but in the '70s, their heyday is over. He will leave the con behind to enter this new era of greater openness.
Don + Peggy, Sittin' In a Tree
This one is pretty farfetched at this point, but there is a true story about a woman in the early ad days who started as a junior copywriter and rose to the top of the ad pile, and she also had a romance with the owner of the agency. Wiener sometimes bases his characters or stories on real life, and this theory did seem very plausible from the beginning. However, Weiner has publicly negged this one as well, and it seems difficult to imageine it coming together in the last episode. Nevertheless, in this last season, Diana was wearing a brown uniform with giant white collar, and in the next episode, Peggy was wearing a brown dress with a large white kerchief, creating a compelling (if odd) comparison. It made us think that if Don is going after plainer Janes these days, and Peggy is moving up, too, they might meet somewhere in the middle.
Our Hero's Journey
Don hops on a bus back toward home and calls Sally on the way. She tells her dad that Betty is dying, and he returns home to take responsibility for his kids and for the struggle he's put his family to, deciding not to go back into advertising for the time being. Betty's illness forces him to finally tell the kids the truth about who he is and where they came from, and the series ends with father and daughter finally seeing one another for themselves for the first time — and that's how they can begin all over again.
Happily Ever After
Don goes back to NYC, says goodbye to Betty, and decides to make a new agency with Peggy. Joan moves to San Francisco and becomes a lesbian.
Not So Happily Ever After
Guys, the Intro to the show has been a man falling, silhouetted against the ads that both created (or re-created) and destroyed him. What, you thought it was a metaphor?
Don Draper's real name is not Dick Whitman, but Jonathan Daniel Hamm
He tries to break the news lightly to Sally while hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live. When she Googles his name after the show, she's a little disturbed by what she finds in recent news. But after some digging around, she stumbles across a sketch of him playing Dr. Drew Baird on 30 Rock, and she laughs so hard that all is forgiven. They live happily ever after, without any secrets. Until the next issue of Us Weekly.
Images via huffington post, wgsn, new york magazine, amc, abc
Kristen Wiig Impersonating Khaleesi Might Be The Best Game Of Thrones Moment Ever
“From the forest… out of dirt and sticks” emerged Khaleesi dressed as Kristen Wiig. Wait, it's actually Kristen Wiig dressed as Khaleesi on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon—and it couldn't have been more hilarious.
Neither Fallon nor Wiig—who have unparalleled platonic chemistry—were able to hold it together during last night's seven minute segment. And between the newest hit “Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful” and Rapid Fire Questions, it’s easy to see why. Wiig couldn't stay in character as the Game of Thrones favorite, but she did manage to give us some insight into who Daenerys Targaryen is IRL: her favorite vacation spot is “the west elm of the shore,” she plays the mandolin, and is currently doing stand up with a focus in geology.
Watch Kristen Wiig as the Mother of Dragons below:
Samantha Bee Leaves The Daily Show In Tears | The Number One Reason We'll Miss Her
Last Thursday night, The Daily Show's Samantha Bee bid a tearful goodbye to the Comedy Central show. Bee, who became the longest serving Daily Show correspondent in 2012, is leaving to start her own satirical news show on TBS with her husband, fellow correspondent Jason Jones. Bee will serve as the host and executive producer of the show, which is about a family road trip to Florida and will feature her “smart and satirical point of view (on) current and relevant issues,” according to the cable network. Bee’s departure comes after the exits of Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Larry Wilmore, who also left to develop their own comedy shows.
Unlike these previous farewells, Bee did not address the audience. After a six-minute heartfelt montage delivered by Stewart which covered the highlights of her impressive 12 year run at The Daily Show, including her interviews from the 2004 Republican National Convention—where she asked attendees, “Have you had your picture taken with a black person yet?” and her coverage of Sarah Palin, a tearful Bee stepped out on stage for one last goodbye to the sound of the audience’s thunderous applause.
Bee’s emotional exit inspired to look back at her illustrious career thus far. She was born in Toronto, Ontario, where she served as one of the founding members of a sketch comedy troupe called The Atomic Fireballs, with whom she performed before being hired by The Daily Show in 2003.Bee quickly became known for her impressive ability to convince people into caricaturing themselves, as seen in segments like “Kill Drill”, on hunters and fossil fuel executives claiming to be environmentalists and “They So Horny,” on the scarcity of Asian men in U.S. pornography.
Bee also gained popularity with her segment entitled "NILFs" ("News I'd Like to Fuck"), particularly while discussing the sexiness of news anchors: "CNN has the wholesome girl-next-door NILFs, the kind you can bring home to meet your mother. MSNBC has the dirty-over-30 NILFs. Fox has the filthy NILFs who will report anything. They're the Hustler of NILFs." As evidenced by these segments, Bee has the impressive ability to fearlessly ask the controversial questions that need to be asked while remaining both professional and hilarious—and that’s what we’ll miss most from her.
On The Daily Show, Bee served as the sole female correspondent from 2006 until Kristen Schaal’s appearance in the spring of 2008. She was also the show’s first non-U.S. citizen correspondent. Bee’s book I Know I Am, But What Are You? was published in 2010. While we’re sad to see her go, we can’t wait to see what this inspiring woman will accomplish next. Watch her tearful goodbye below:
Image via: Mashable.
Amy Schumer Crushes It Again With 'Girl, You Don't Need Makeup'
Amy Schumer killed it again in episode two of Inside Amy Schumer's third season, with the satirical music video and social media movement “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup.”
The song opens with adoring lines reminiscent of boy-band pop sensations like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” insisting that the Schumer doesn’t “need” makeup. But when Schumer washes her face clean, the boy-band’s shock at the result transforms their compliments to harsh criticism, and they quickly start encouraging her to put it all back on: “Wipe it off” becomes “girl I can’t be seen with the ghost from The Ring.” It's brutal, and it's hilarious.
As usual, Schumer’s face through the video says it all. Flattered then perplexed, and finally totally fed up with the clown face she's donning by the end, Schumer perfectly captures the confusion women feel as they're bombarded with conflicting expectations about the way they should look. Like every other girl, Schumer can’t figure out what she’s supposed to do. Makeup or no makeup? All natural or just natural makeup? WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY MEAN, WORLD?! And why does it even matter?
The video highlights what's wrong with the abundance of pop songs telling young girls that they don’t know how beautiful they are. One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” begins with the lyrics “You’re insecure / Don’t know what for.” Well, first of all, let’s not assume that wearing makeup means we’re insecure. And second of all, if we are insecure, it’s because we’re living in a culture obsessed with narrow, unattainable standards of beauty. It’s no wonder that in a society plastered with photoshopped images pushing products, makeup is the norm.
But Schumer's video does what every great satire should: critiques culture in the hope of transformation. Maybe if we acknowledge how ridiculous the expectations for women are, we can all begin to take them a little less seriously. And the good news is, the overwhelming amount of make-up free selfies posted on Twitter and Instagram in support of the video indicates we're on track.
And as huge Schumer fans, here's one of our own, straight from the BUST headquarters. Upload one of your own, because #girlyoudontneedmakeup!
Image via BuzzFeed
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