“A Night to Remember”
September 14th, 2008
Describing Betty Draper to the representatives from Heineken, Duck Phillips identifies her as “well off and educated.” Now, in the context of the scene, we breeze right by it: they’re selling this pitch, so it’s not like anyone’s going to put on the brakes. However, let’s be frank: to this point, and even after the events of the episode, would anyone really consider Betty Draper to be educated?
This isn’t to say that she is not intelligent, or that she is not capable of achieving great things, but rather that her tragic flaw is her ignorance to the outside world, to the world that she is constantly being surrounded by. When she becomes the punchline of Don’s pitch to Heineken, she isn’t necessarily just reacting to Don’s use of her as a tool: rather, it’s that he knows better than she does what her role is, what demographic she’s in, and what she’s likely to buy when she goes to the grocery store.
But that’s Don’s job, as it is Peggy’s: it’s their job to tell people what they want. It’s just that, as both found out in this episode, you need to know your audience: whether your wife or the Catholic Church, there are certain rules that need to be followed if you’re going to let your role in the ad game dictate the rest of your life decisions. And, as seen with Don, Peggy and Joan, the balance between these two sides of one’s life, in whatever form they take, will eventually get the better of you.
And when that happens, as it did to Betty Draper who doesn’t even have a single role she could really latch onto in her lowest moments, it will serve as…well, you can read the title of the episode, you know where this is going.