Friday, July 6, 2012

Roger That

By J.S. Holland

A couple years ago, I spoke of how emulating Don Draper was a good move for any Transylvania Gentleman seeking to better himself. But though I still have utmost respect for ol' Don, my viewpoint has since been modified, in part because of Mr. Draper's erratic behavior on the show in the last couple seasons.

No, these days I've come to realize that I'm more of a Roger Sterling type than a Don Draper, and I'm okay with that.

Why Roger? Why, just look at him. I took an informal and unscientific poll amongst my gal-pals awhile back and the consensus was clear: Roger was way hotter, and in fact, Don can be pretty creepy. This vote was enough to make me think twice about brushing color into my greying temples. To paraphrase Dylan, I just wanna be on the side that's winning.

And while Don is a very decisive man (and his decisions often suck!), that's not the same thing as being calm, cool and collected. Don's always flying off the handle about something or other, always grimacing, frowning, sighing, mugging, brooding, bitching, sweating the small shit.

Not our man Roger. Whatever chaos surrounds him, he stays largely unflappable, with an almost buddhist-beatnik-like grace, smirking through his Smirnoff. Gorgeous women dumping him? Sure, he's hurtin', but he's still smokin' and smilin'. Havin' a heart attack? He's good - in fact, he'll still show up for meetings and still keep drinking vodka. Havin' another heart attack? Yeah, okay, fate, whatever. Roger's mellow.

(But that Pete Campbell, him we don't like.)

Is he a rake? Well, yeah. A drunk? Um, you might say that. A wag? For sure - most of the best lines on the show are his. What's not to love? When you really step back from Mad Men and look at it objectively, Roger is the super-suave cocktail-tippin' swinger that Don's been made out to be from day one of the show. It's like in high school when it gradually sunk in on us all that Mick Jagger was a jerk and Keith Richards was the coolest.

In fact, if only it were Roger and not Cosgrove who was a struggling writer of pulp fiction, my idolization of him would be complete.

Unfortunately, this satori about Sterling comes just as his character is threatening to jump the shark. A recent plotline on the show had him being coerced into dropping LSD, which at first seemed to have no effect on him. He lounged on the coach, lit a cig, and mumbled, "Mr. Leary, I find your product boring." I wish they'd left it at that, with Roger being seemingly impervious to LSD's effects thanks to a lifetime's protective coating of gin. But sadly, he did start tripping, and by season's end, was turning into a full-fledged acidhead.

I do not want to see Roger Sterling turn into an acidhead. For reasons I just elucidated, he already had an elevated consciousness and doesn't need soul-scrambling drugs.

Here's hoping the writers abandon this plotline next season with no further explanation, as they are often wont to do. Raise your glasses.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Roger accepts who he is and goes with the flow. He doesn't question himself or his life. Don, of course, is constantly questioning himself. It's the whole premise of who he is.

    I too dislike this LSD story line and don't really see where they are trying to go with that. Unfortunately, I doubt they will drop it since they wound down the season with that image of Roger in the hotel.