Thursday, 8 October 2009

Don Draper vs Jim Halpert

So in light of Don Draper topping the poll of 49 most influential men of 2009 I stumbled upon a Newsweek blog from August entitled 'Why the Ladies Love Jon Hamm of Mad Men' which upon reading raised an interesting topic that woman would rather fantasise about Don Draper from Mad Men than Jim Halpert from The Office. The article states that:

"Why are we so wild for Draper? By any measure, the character's a cad. He constantly cheats on his wife. He skips town for weeks and won't write or call. [...]  And yet he excites an attraction among women—particularly ones my age, women in their late '20s and '30s who were born after the era that Mad Men portrays—that seems unmatched by any leading man on television today, with the possible exception of Lost's con artist, Saywer (another strapping scoundrel with a deeply troubled soul)."


"After all, we don't believe in that evolutionary "me Tarzan, you Jane" nonsense anymore. We're supposed to want men who are sensitive and respectful; men who emote and help around the house, and talk openly about their feelings. And we do want these things. Don't we? So then why are we fantasizing about Draper rather than Jim from The Office?"

So where do I stand on these thoughts and why should they matter any way. Well firstly, yes Don Draper is a desirable character despite all of his many flaws, which is why it does matter that women are attracted to him in spite of these flaws and why it matters that he has been voted by men as the most influential man of 2009.  Does this in turn make the actions and behaviour of Don Draper considered acceptable by both men and women? I think the majority would still say what he does is deplorable and he is just a figure of fantasy, he is the kind of man that you would have an affair with rather than a relationship (the Newsweek article concludes with this summation as well "So we lay it out very clearly: we don't want to wed Don Draper. We know madness that way lies."). They also lay this out so men don't think that that is what women actually want, who wants a generation of men who think that it is ok to cheat your way through everything. 
So then comes the point as to why Jim from The Office would not be considered a figure of fantasy because he is what is considered to be an ideal modern man, someone who cares about his fiance (wife by tonight- hopefully) and is not ashamed to show these feelings, but this is one area of the article that I disagree with and it might be because in most TV shows it is always the slightly dorky characters that are my favourites, not the leading brooding man. Characters like Charlie in Lost, Dr Reid in Criminal Minds, I prefer Sylar when he is Gabriel glasses included, Will Tippin in Alias, Hodgins in Bones, Greg in CSI, I even have a weird thing for Andy 'the 'Nard Dog' in The Office and don't even get me started on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Now I know that these guys could be considered good looking in one manner or another but they are on programmes generally where there is an alpha male, who broods and gets the girl. So it would seem that I would definitely choose Jim over Don. Oh and in the debate of which Chuck I would choose between Chuck Bartowski (Chuck) and Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl) it would be Bartowski every time.
Even with Mad Men, I think Don Draper is great (but terrible at the same time) but I am actually a huge Pete Campbell fan (though not in the same way I think of Don), I just find his character so compelling because most of the time he can be a major douchebag but also because there is the conflicted side of him where he just doesn't know who he and how he should act. Although after last weeks episode I hope that we see some positive action from him, as he stepped way beyond the line of what is morally acceptable, but such is the power of the writing in Mad Men that there are no black and white characters.
At first when reading the article I was thinking 'Of course I would choose Jim over Don' but after writing this and thinking about it my answer becomes less certain, I know which one I would want a relationship with, that's easy but who would I choose (and the feminist in me is not happy that I am even asking that question)? 

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