Big time Mad Men spoilers follow the sentence you’re reading now.
The season five premiere this past Sunday was, to the surprise of no one, absolutely awesome. We saw that Don did in fact end up marrying his former secretary Megan, choosing her young optimistic attitude over the safety of Faye. And we’ve seen that Pete Campbell is no longer a pee-on at the office, while Joanie misses the office more than ever while she pines away at home with her newborn. Somebody was missing, though. The former Mrs. Draper lost screen time to the new one (although that’s definitely not a complaint) and fans are wondering what’s going on.
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is notoriously prickly when it comes to discussing the direction the show will go in and the decisions he’s made in the past. Last week he sat down with the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan to discuss the upcoming season and, consequently, Betty’s place in the show.
So, Jon Hamm directing… how did that go?
It was great. It was annoying to me that he could do it so well [Laughs.] It was. And by the way, when I’m directing, I’m wearing a hoodie and yesterday’s underwear, and because he’s in the scene, he’s dressed as Don Draper and standing behind the camera… That’s why everyone thought [Jon’s episode] was the premiere, but we had to move things around because of January’s pregnancy. She was out for a chunk of the season, and she should be allowed to be. That’s not a scoop. I mean, I think people know that.
I am not sure they do.
Oh, okay. I haven’t been hiding it.
That was actually one thing I meant to ask about, how much she was in the season.
Yeah, she’s not in it that much, but you know, that’s biological reality.
Find that full interview here.
Uh oh, looks like it’s going to be a long season for Betty Francis fans. Given what happened during Mad Men’s layoff, I suppose it’s not really a surprise that Betty (played by January Jones) will have a decreased role on the show. She’s been in the tabloids quite a bit, most recently for eating her own placenta after giving birth to her child. Also, if you didn’t notice on Sunday there’s a new actor that plays the Draper’s son Bobby. The Bobby Draper that preceded him advised the new actor to “Be careful around January. She’s not as approachable as the others…”
Considering Weiner’s insistence that the show take precedence over everything (especially tabloid fodder) it’s obvious that Jones would have less of a part on the show. Actually, that’s too obvious. It speaks to the quality of Mad Men that such an important character would fade into the sunset as her role became less important. The fact is, Betty just doesn’t matter that much anymore. That isn’t much of a revelation now that Don has a new wife but we’re still not used to major characters on TV shows to go into the background. Instead of doing the easy thing and putting Don and Betty back together, Weiner has moved on. It’s the right thing to do. She’s an interesting character but when you think about what’d really happen in this world the two would never get back together, at least at this juncture of the show. Betty’s superficial, more concerned with her own image than the reality of her own life. That was clearer than ever once she found out Don wasn’t who he said he was. It’s natural that he’d want to be with someone who said he should “…be the person you always wanted to be.”
One storyline that’s sad to be over is the relationship between Betty and the vouyer-neighbor Glenn. We know that Glenn has moved his fixation to Sally (in an interview on Fresh Air Weiner said he sees Glenn as Sally’s “spiritual leader”), so he’ll still be around here and there but it’d be a shock if their relationship took a route similar to his and Betty’s. Betty’s vapidity was at it’s most evident when she became enamored with Glenn, seemingly unable to make the distinction that he’s a child. Then once Glenn moved onto Sally, Betty forbade her to see him partly out of being creeped out but partly out of jealousy. Yowza, that’s some deep stuff. Then again with the way this show has gone, she could be one of the main characters again and it’d somehow make just as much sense. Mad Men is that good.