Mad Men, Season 6

Is Henry Francis the Only Nice Guy on Mad Men?
Talking television.
April 9 2013 9:00 AM

Mad Men, Season 6

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Betty needs to rethink her boredom with Henry Francis, the only nice guy on Mad Men.

betty

Michael Yarish/AMC

Hanna, Paul:

Seth Stevenson Seth Stevenson

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

My vote for best updated 'do goes to Harry Crane, with his half-hearted mop and those burgeoning burns. But—furthering our semiotics-of-hair discussion, and regarding Betty’s newly ravened tresses—Hanna, I want to defend Henry Francis against your casual dismissals. Am I forgetting some major recent sin on his part? I feel like he might be the kindest, most morally centered, most mentally stable character on the show. And yet when he thoughtfully comforts Betty, you sniff at his “pallid compliments.”

What’s the poor guy gotta do? I acknowledge he could sprinkle a little more mischief into his mindset. But is it the nature of TV viewership, or simply human nature, that spurs us to root for Don’s putrid behavior while we find fault with Henry’s unimpeachable steadiness?

Advertisement

On the other hand, I’m all for hating on kiss-up Bob, the guy who doles out hot coffees to every higher-level executive he passes. We spent a lot of time with him this episode, without really understanding why. I’m keen to discover what sort of role he’ll play this season.

With all that talk about doorways, and Betty finding new paths: Did you notice that she shredded the shoulder of her coat as she stepped through that door on St. Marks Place? Has the experience torn an irreparable hole in her soul? Is she in for a little more wear and tear as she navigates the changing times?

Also, while Hanna and I loved Peggy’s executive mastery, our editor Dan Kois just sent me an email arguing that Peggy’s not really forging a new path at all—she’s becoming Don. Commenter “Larry” similarly noted, “You can hear Don perfectly clearly in Peggy's work voice. The scene was more to show how Don formed Peggy than to simply show that she was an adult amongst kids.” I’d add that Peggy’s creative breakthrough happened in one of those “cracks” you mentioned, Hanna. It wasn’t scotch and soda, but rather meatball subs and music, that led to her eureka.

Maybe Don’s Hawaii pitch was genius and the clients just didn’t get it. But Don once possessed a Steve Jobs-like reality distortion field that compelled everybody within a conference table’s radius to lap up every word he said. It seems that power may have faded a bit.

I’m fading a bit, too. Time to replenish in preparation for next week’s episode.

Soothe yourself,

Seth

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 8:38 AM An Implanted Wearable Gadget Isn’t as Crazy as You’d Think Products like New Deal Design’s UnderSkin may be the future.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.