Friday, October 26, 2007

"If Don Draper Was Lost"

It seems as if I've temporarily OD'd on fretting about Lost mysteries like others in our blog-o-sphere. So here goes another one of my thoughts crossing Lost ideas with another TV show or movie.

It's a darn shame that TPTB of Lost did not get Jon Hamm who plays Don Draper on A&E's Mad Men first, for a position on Lost. He is just such an incredible actor. To paraphrase a comment from one of the Mad Men blogs, that actor can say more by scrunching up the space between his eyebrows, than any actor on TV right now! As well as how he can look completely composed while at the same time like he's losing his mind. He can coolly tear down any smarmy opponent's nerves by using a rumpled brow and a smirk, like a mental bazooka. While at the same time, you know that his brain is about to explode because life as he knows it is about to crash and burn. Jack-Face indeed, humph! Not that I'm knocking the acting skills of anyone on Lost, I think that they are all terrific, first-rate, and I love them all. But Hamm has a fascinating ability to emote a fierce or complicated presence without speaking. The life of the Draper character also runs an interesting parallel with Ben's...rough childhoods, rotten/dead dads, new beginnings, strong but questionable choices in maintaining the status quo. Are they bad/good guys or good/bad guys?

If the Losties had Don Draper on their side after the crash, there would be no pussy-footing around with survival problems. Whenever they need a strong leader, self-made man Don could take over. If Jack and Sawyer start thumping their chests with each other, he'd pull out a club and chase those apes back to the caves. When Jin and Michael started fighting, I can see Draper handcuffing them together like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. And Ben? Fuggeddaboutitt! Draper would send Sayid into that closet to tie up Fenry's little booboo arm like a pretzel to get him to talk. And then afterwards he would slick back his hair, put his cuff-links and suit jacket back on, and pour himself a glass of MacCutcheon. Now this is not to say that Draper is an honorable character, he's not, and might be getting his comeuppances next season. But he is strong as heck when he needs to be.

Of course, if Hamm went to Lost, we wouldn't get to watch him completely own the Draper role, which would be a loss for that show. He's perfect in the part. I still like Desmond much better though, because his missteps in trying to make a better life for himself are not remotely as questionable as Draper's, which could be a fascinating comparison itself. But the Draper character is an incredibly complex one and Hamm's portrayal is one of the best on TV right now. The bad thing, is that Mad Men is going to give every drama on TV a tough time in the Emmy's next year. Lost has a hard enough time getting recognized as it is, I hate to see Mad Men give the Emmy snobs, er...judges, another reason to overlook Lost on purpose!


Bigmouth said...

I've heard great things about Mad Men generally and Hamm's performance specifically but have yet to check it out. Sounds like now might be the time!

capcom said...

It's really an incredibly well-done show, on the caliber of Lost as far as depth of characters, etc. It is very adult-themed at times, a little too much for my taste. But it almost seems like a morality play sometimes. The period effects are unbeievable, but then I'm a total Mid 20th Century retro freak, so I love the look.

The funnest thing is that they incorporate lots of period advertisements, commercials, and other cultural media and factors into the show without being campy. Which not only accompanies the story very well, but shows how far modern society has advanced, as well as regressed, since then.

But I am afraid of how it will raise the stakes in the Emmy's next year for Lost.

memphish said...

Sorry for the very late comment on this one. Capcom I think you and I were two of the few people watching Mad Men this summer, though thankfully enough watched to get a second season. It was definitely one of my favorite things I watched this entire year. Despite basically every character behaving badly I really cared what happened to them even if I didn't like them.

And Don was chief among those. First of all, boy he's easy on the eyes. And I loved how he got even with Roger for hitting on Betty. It was so subtle, I'll admit it took me a while to understand that was Don's revenge and not just circumstances. And I love how they didn't do the expected thing like having Roger suffer his ultimate health crisis at that point while leaving you fearful for it the entire time.

As for the basic premise of the post, while I'm very impressed with Jon Hamm I think he'd be out of place on the Island. The thing that makes his subtle portrayal work is the confines of his world, be it that office with its low ceiling, his suburban life, Midge's tiny apartment, etc. When Don was given choices in wide open spaces such as in his early life, he kept losing himself.

Emerson's performance is similar and if you think back to where he was his creepy, ambiguous best, it was when he was trapped in the armory. Again, when you put Ben in a wider context he has a much harder time holding every thing together and maintaining control.

Last Mad Men note. I've been watching Firefly lately and the actress who plays Joan is a wonderful recurring character in that series. I hope we get more Joan next year. I started out really disliking her and she made so many bad choices I really wish she'd find a nice young man next year.

memphish said...

Capcom, links to another Mad Men interview.

capcom said...

Thanks for the link Memphish!

You and I are definitely the only Losties that I know of who watch Mad Men! The MM blogs are pretty busy, but the friendliest is the one on the TV Without Pity.

I agree with you about the characters. I have a problem with the morals of some of the characters, but it does seem as if TPTB are showing how random wanton disreguard for other people and their ethics can lead to unhappiness, or at the least unfulfillment.

You could be right about Hamm on Lost. Maybe he would have made a good Ben type, within the confines of Othertown's limits. But I wouldn't give up Emerson for anything now! But I feel that Don's "whore-child" upbringing was too severe for a child to come out of unscathed or even remotely normal, poor kid.

Wow, Joan is on Firefly? I never watched that and have to some day for sure. I really like Adam Baldwin since he was in The Cape.

memphish said...

Capcom, I can't believe you haven't seen Firefly with all your other rocket interest. At my Blockbuster you can rent the entire series at once, but I've been watching it disc by disc from Netflix. In fact I have a date with Mal Reynolds tonight after I get kiddo to bed.

capcom said...

Sweet! :-)

I know, I think that when it originally aired it was on at the same time as something else that I used to watch. I figured that I'd get around to it eventually.

memphish said...

Click here Capcom.

capcom said...

Many thanks Memphish!!!!!

((Cue sound of Eartha Kitt growling)) :o)