So Don Draper is back. I won’t get into the specifics of that just in case you have yet to see the Season 6 debut of Mad Men.
The show got me thinking, as it often does – that’s part of what sets it apart.
One of the most remarkable things about Draper is that he seems ideally suited for a specific era, the late 1950s to early 1960s. He’s just not in the prime of his life at that time, he IS that time. His clothes, his haircut, his age, his build. It’s mind boggling that someone on the planet fits that role so specifically and just happened to be in the right time and place to get the part.
As the years pass on the show, Draper – almost certainly by design – feels a bit like a fish out of water. Yes, he wears a green, checkered leisure suit while on vacation on Hawaii, but it doesn’t suit him. That is not his look or his era.
It got me to wondering … do most (or any) real people have a specific time that best fits them? If so, is that good or bad?
For example, we all know an old soul, someone who seems to have a demeanor or a sensibility that’s of an earlier period. On one hand, they might feel out of place (like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer). But it’s also possible they’re merely in possession of a sort of classic personality like a fashion that never goes out of style – Levi’s jeans.
I’m not talking about just being in peak condition physically or mentally, although that probably plays a part in the Draper story, too. Confidence and socioeconomic place factor in, too, I suppose. And I don’t mean hipsters, either.
Maybe the idea fit is easier to spot in Draper because, while he’s at least open to new ideas generated by the changing world, he’s not especially motivated to keep up with the times. When he’s the only person in the shot, it could still be 1962 from the way he looks and dresses to the way he thinks.
Of course, I’m analyzing make believe; logic doesn’t necessarily apply even if the show is one of the best of the expanded cable era. It’s just kind of a nice thought, to wonder if perhaps someday each of us will be in the zone, to use a sports terms, totally at ease in terms of our smarts, style and lot in life.
Better keep watching Mad Men, just in case.