After watching the "My Old Kentucky Home" rendition of Roger Sterling singing to his new bride in blackface; in Peggy hitting the town for some promiscuous sex; for Sal and his developing expressions in homosexuality, etc.; it seems to me that this season has been more about Don Draper trying to be good, (save the steward who decided she wanted to take a chance in Baltimore,) and that the opening bumper with Don free falling off the building should be revised to see some of the other characters reaching maximum velocity sooner than him.
The show ended last night with Don folding up the cot that Grandpa Gene had been using during his relatively short stay with the Drapers, thus closing what he thought was a chapter of life, not being aware of the influence his late father-in-law has had on Sally (Kiernan Shipka.) In the Facebook quotes today, fans of the show have repeatedly said that this young actor deserves an Emmy nomination for the way she's handled her young self so far this season.
And yet to check out the AMC Mad Men Web site, Sally isn't even included as a "character," and neither is Grandpa Gene, but Herman "Duck" Phillips remains.
My guess is what the writers are trying to show us is that while we may see one character clearly in a free fall, until we get to see what's happening in the lives of those around him, we see they're falling, too, but in different ways. And isn't that the way life really is?
I know I struggle each and every day. Some days I think I've got it harder than anyone else on the planet, and then I'm exposed to the grief and troubles of others around me, and some times, I don't think I've got it so bad after all.
Maybe that's what makes this show so interesting to watch. It's also a poke at the political correctness of our day when we see pregnant mothers drinking and smoking, kids driving Lincolns at age 10, drinking like a fish at the office, flying from NYC to Baltimore instead of taking the train, heck, families leaving all their trash from a picnic out on the grounds, and stirring us all watching to ask, could it really have been like that?
Betty Draper, though pregnant, long has been in a tailspin of her own. The woman clearly isn't happy, and we all know that goes beyond her pregnancy. From comments from Grandpa Gene to Sally, we see that he thinks she's been like this a long time. But as off the wall as most of what Betsey's father said while a part of the show, a grain of salt must be taken as one considers her position. And given her opportunity to spend the last days of his life with her dad in her own home, she missed out on so much of it. Was this because of her pregnancy? Where was she when Grandpa Gene had Sally Driving? Where was she when they were eating ice cream sprinkled with salt at the dinner table before dinner? Gene intimated she wasn't home by looking out into the yard.
Peggy clearly is interested in becoming "one of those girls." Which one of them she desires to become we will only have to wait to see.