Follow Friday: Don Draper in the ’80s

Slate's Culture Blog
June 21 2013 9:11 AM

Follow Friday: Don Draper in the ’80s

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Don Draper in Mad Men

Photo by Jamie Trueblood/AMC

Given his hallucinations, blackouts, and apparently worsening alcoholism, there’s no guarantee that Don Draper will make it to the 1980s. And of course, Matthew Weiner is likely to end Mad Men before the series gets to that decade anyway. Fortunately for us, John McNamee, a comedian and contributor to the Onion, has created the frequently hilarious Twitter parody account @80sDonDraper. Don is no longer contending with the arrival of be-ins or a hip-swiveling Ann-Margaret; he’s now trying to convince clients that “The sooner you realize this is a post-Paula Abdul world, the sooner we can sell some Casios.”

Aisha Harris Aisha Harris

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

Just as Weiner is obsessed with historically accurate details from the turbulent ’60s, so is McNamee intent on capturing the semi-forgotten ephemera of the ’80s—Draper-style. The account began back in April, with @80sDonDraper selling a client their next great ad slogan while simultaneously capturing some of the largest themes of Mad Men—typical Don. And while others have imagined what the show would look like in the ’70s (a decade that Season 7, which Weiner has said will be the last, may very well spill into), it’s even more fun to imagine that all the cheesy catchphrases and infamous products of the Reagan years might have been cooked up by still a morose, ever mysterious Don.

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Even in the 1980s, Draper knows what kids want:

He understands that consumerism is even easier to manipulate in a yuppie world:

He still manages to project world-weary profundity for his potential clients:

And he can still speak to a sincere desire for a kind of collective American identity,when necessary:

If you’re wondering if 1980s Don indulges in the decade’s favorite illegal stimulant, McNamee says ... a bit. “Drink will always be Don’s first love,” he told TV Guide. “Though he does coke the rim of his margaritas.”

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