Don has ALWAYS been a monster, and I don't know whether to shrug off the suggestion that people seem to just now be noticing or to rant about what the hell have people being paying attention to if they didn't see that well before now.
I also take issue with what he was finally called a monster for doing. Yeah, it was jacked up that he stole the credit for the idea out from under Peggy, and she was definitely right to confront him--it's one of the main things I love about her lately. But this isn't new Don. It's the same Don we've always seen. Why was this recent lying and recreating a false backstory any different than all the other times before?
Again, Don has always been a monster. A perpetual philanderer, an absent dad (yeah, it was the era, but still), an alcoholic who typically could hold his liquor, but sometimes not, an extreme alpha male who always had to win, a sexist (again, the era), a liar, an identify thief, and did I mention an alcoholic and philanderer? I'm sure I could list more, but it's been a lot of episodes.
Perhaps it's only because he is spiraling slowly out of control is why people seem to just now be noticing or are just now caring. Perhaps it's because I joined the Mad Men fandom late and watched three full seasons of the show back to back on Netflix in a few months time. Perhaps we were just so enthralled with the show and Don to notice.
As the article points out, his failings were always there, but he was cool so it was somehow brushed off, but now "his cool is starting to lose its luster."
Is that why people are just now noticing or is that why people are just now starting to care?
I don't think that it's that people are just now noticing (if you've missed that he's a monster and complete asshole to the extreme, then you haven't really been paying attention), people are just now starting to care because his sexiness and coolness have started to wear off, so our patience is running thin with the monstrous aspects of his character. It's almost like when a young teen has a crush on the sexy jock, hot cheerleader, studiously sexy class president, whatever. That person is the guy or girl of your dreams until you get to know them and realize he/she is cool and sexy but goodness is he/she also a complete ass. You ignore the rumors of them being an ass or the evidence you see from a distance of them being an ass, but when you see the ass-ness up close and personal, you forget the cool factor and your crush dissipates.
I've seen and strongly disliked Don's monstrous qualities from season one, but that's part of the attraction of the show. I'm sure I'm not the only person to feel this way. It's always been there. We chose to ignore it or not care. Always there.
From the first season when we meet (and ultimately, watch die) Don's/Dick's brother, Adam Whitman, and Don treats him like shit...
From the first season when Don was whoring and cheating his way through the season while Betty sort of attempted to be the perfect housewife...
From the first season when he (and his wife's doctor) made Betty seem like she was the one with the problems (well, she is, but still) and suggesting that Don's shit didn't stink...
From the first season when we see Don do whatever the fuck he needs to in order to achieve what he wants with minimal regard for others...
From all of these things and more, we see that he is a monster. But I suppose because the monster was dressed in nice suits and an awesome coolness, we ignored the monster. Again, like the h.s. crush.
What happened on the most recent episode, "The Quality of Mercy," that made Peggy say that he was a monster wasn't actually all that bad, compared to ALLLLLLL the other shit he's done over these 6 seasons. In reality, what he did needed to be done to save the ad and to help Ted (and Peggy) save face. Sure, he blindsided them with his statement, and I'm sure he could've come up with some other b.s. excuse, but that's what Don has always done: come in with some b.s. lie or story to sell the client on what the agency wants the client to agree to. How is this incident any different?
What annoyed me most is that he screwed Peggy out of credit for something once again, but geez, how many times must we see that before we're desensitized to even that.
Then again, perhaps I've seen his monstrous ways for so long and accepted them for so long as a part of who he is that I'm blinded by the monstrosity.
It's still genius writing, and I continue to tune in. I LOVE a show that creates a flawed character and endears that character to the audience; nowadays, I prefer shows with flawed characters. I'll continue to tune in, but don't try to sell me and others on this "we're just now noticing his monstrous ways" shtick because I ain't buying that.
Yes, he's a monster, but this isn't news. This is "meh!"