|Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss, January|
Jones and Christina Hendricks
Make no mistake about it, I love AMC's Mad Men. In fact, it is one of the few shows on Television - albeit Cable Television - which I have watched religiously from beginning onwards as my limited attention span hinders my loyalty to other programs. Despite my hectic schedule, there is always that one weekend where things calm down a bit which I dedicate to catching-up on the series. This weekend I managed to zip through the first 11 of 13 episodes of Season Four and I must say that the show is better than ever; beautifully developed story lines and truly interesting, complex characters who incessantly we want more from.
The ensemble cast on Mad Men is magnificent. They keep pushing each other to dig deeper with every Season and Jon Hamm, who I got to meet only briefly during TIFF last month, is devastatingly good still as Donald Draper. We take joy in watching him throw jabs at anyone who dares challenge his authority, yet at the same time are entranced by his downward spiral, even though he always gets saved just when he seems to hit rock bottom.
But let's be real here for a moment. Although the Men might be at the forefront of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, this show is really about the Women. The many, many, many gorgeous love interests of Donald Draper - some weak, some strong, yet all vulnerable when it comes to his hot-and-cold habits of affection. One by one, they each peel a layer off his enigma of a character and in Season Four we meet Dr. Faye Miller played by Cara Buono. Despite being strong, independent and in-control of her life, even she is not immune from the poisons of Donald.
Elisabeth Moss as loyal Secretary-turned-Copywriter Peggy Olson, shines in this current season as we her fall in and out of love with various suitors and more importantly, we see her break down that impenetrable wall between her and her Boss one drunken night where resentfully she misses out on her own Surprise Birthday Dinner thrown by her boyfriend - all out of obligation to Donald. Many might argue that she in fact is Mad Men's Leading Lady and based on screen time alone. And she should be.
January Jones, who most widely is recognized as the Leading Lady of Mad Men, as Donald's now ex-wife Betty, gets very little screen time in the current season of the show. When we do see her, she is bickering with him over issues concerning their children or she is locked in embrace with her much older now-husband Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley). What makes her so interesting is that she is always on-the-verge and there is an imminent sense of something horribly wrong coming her way.
Christina Hendricks as buxom Joan Holloway is undeniable as the Office's Head Secretary - so in-control when it comes to her work, yet so clueless and weak in matters of the heart. Hendricks breathes an element of controversy and fire into Mad Men and the show would be unimaginable without her. My heart aches most for her as she is not so much a victim of circumstance as she is a victim to herself and her insistence on being in control. She also deservedly should be the Leading Lady of the series based on the merit of her fellow characters' respect for her at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
For those of you who love the show as much as I do, who do you feel is the rightful Leading Lady of Mad Men?