The XX Factor

Is Don Draper’s New Girlfriend Sarah Palin?

Last night’s season finale for Mad Men was a badly paced, confusing mess , unusual for a show renowned for its deliberate pacing. But fans shouldn’t despair, because they did manage to plant many seeds for the next, final season of the show. And even though it’ll still be set in the ‘60s, it seems the writers might be pulling inspiration from more recent headlines-say, those from 2008.

Peggy’s reaction to Don’s announcement is understandably bitter. Don compares his new lady love to Peggy, even though she has none of Peggy’s talent or get-up-and-go.  Joan makes Peggy’s unspoken concerns explicit, noting that Don might just reward Megan with a copywriter job because he’s married to her, not because she actually worked for it. Peggy, who is already irate at rumors that she got her job by sleeping her way to the top, is furious at the possibility that the second female copywriter in the office might get her job because she’s hot, well-dressed, and occasionally spouts insincere pablum about how she admires women who actually do the hard work to get ahead.

In other words, Peggy looked into the dark brown eyes of Don Draper and suddenly saw John McCain looking back, making excuses for why this Sarah Palin person he found is just like that Hillary Clinton you ladies are so fond of, except check out her ass in that miniskirt! And Peggy is as skeptical as female voters were in the 2008 election .

Is Don’s new fiancee based on Sarah Palin?  Let’s look at the evidence:

-Megan expresses a disingenuous admiration for Peggy, even as most of their interactions have been built around mutual snottiness. Sarah Palin disingenuously thanked Clinton in a naked grab to pull in female voters, but wasn’t fooling anyone.

*Megan presents herself as a smart, ambitious woman, but her actual interests and skills are elusive. She claims to be “artistic,” but she doesn’t act, she doesn’t sing, and she doesn’t seem to do much at all. Sarah Palin presents herself as a politician, but she couldn’t even finish out her first term as Alaska governor.

-Much is made of Megan speaking French, but that’s because she’s French-Canadian and from Montreal . Needless to say, Sarah Palin is also from north of the 48 states.

-Dr. Faye Miller, a no-nonsense blonde who tells it like it is, finds herself being tossed out for this younger brunette who is good at flirting, wearing nice clothes, and saying all the right things to make her mark feel like he’s a big man. If Hillary Clinton is a fan of Mad Men , I’m guessing she was twitching through all of this.

It’s not a slam dunk, but I wouldn’t be surprised if next season we see Megan drop the sweetheart routine around the office and become more of a “mama grizzly”, or if you’re feeling less charitable, a straight-up mean girl who is out to deprive Peggy of her job.

Photograph of Jon Hamm by Josh Jensen for Wikimedia Commons.