(Side Note – I realize her name isn’t Draper anymore, but I still see her as Betty Draper. I always will, I’m sure.)
As my “regular” readers will know, “Mad Men” is my new obsession. It’s helped nudge me into being (or attempting to be) a better housekeeper, a better “homemaker” and try new things, like an Old Fashioned. It’s also rekindled my love of all things 50s and 60s.
The kitchen table we picked out 10 years ago – a 50s diner style table & chairs.
I’ve joked about how “perfect” Betty Draper is. How she manages to keep the house spotless, keep herself thin and gorgeous, and wear fabulous clothes. Clearly, we are not alike in this way. I also don’t think she’s a very good mother, and while I don’t think I’m an amazing mother, I think I do a better job than she does! 🙂
After watching Season 5, episode 3, however, I see we have a little more in common than I ever thought we would.
SPOILERS AHEAD> THIS POST REVEALS PLOT ABOUT “MAD MEN” SEASON 5, EPISODE 3. (I realize that for most “Mad Men” fans this is at least 2 years old, but just in case you don’t watch and might not want to be spoiled for future viewings, this is my warning.)
This is Betty in Season One:
This is Betty in Season Five:
At first, I was shocked. I had heard this was around the time January Jones was pregnant with her first child, but I didn’t expect to see prosthetics to make her whole body look fat.
What I learned from this episode:
~Fat woman = bored housewife.
~If it isn’t cancer, everything’s fine.
~Reading tea leaves is not an accurate way to tell the future (or the present).
~Even when you’ve “let yourself go” it’s still important to keep up appearances and wear pearls when going outside the house (although wearing your housecoat inside all day while eating bugles is totally okay).
So, Betty goes to a doctor to get “diet pills” on the urging of her mother-in-law. (I will say that if my mother-in-law suggested this to me, I would be pretty upset.)
First, the doctor dismisses her and says, “Well, with middle aged women it gets easier to put it on and harder to take it off.” She asks for diet pills and the doctor tells her that he has to give her an exam before he just prescribes pills. He says the most common cause for a housewife’s rapid weight gain is usually psychological – unhappiness, anxiety, and boredom. However, he tells her, he should rule out diabetes or hypothyroidism.
Upon giving her an exam, he finds a “lump” near her thyroid. He doesn’t seem to explain what it could be, but sends her to get a biopsy, leaving her scared and not knowing what is happening. She has the biopsy and finds out it’s benign, but he doesn’t discuss her condition any further. He doesn’t do any bloodwork. She says, “I’m just fat.” 😦
Four years ago, I went to the doctor to have him check my heartbeat, which was a little off. He did bloodwork and found out I was hypothyroid. After 4 years of medications, ultrasounds, a biopsy, and several books and articles later, I’m still not feeling fantastic, and I’m still a bit baffled by the whole thyroid situation. My doctors have been a little better than Betty’s, however upon thinking about it… not much. While I’m on medication (and Betty isn’t), I’m still finding I have symptoms and I’m still researching things on my own most of the time. Even though it’s 50 years later, it seems not much progress has been made in the thyroid research/treatment department.
How I feel sometimes too, Betty.
I’m curious what they’ll do next with Betty.
Will she go to Weight Watchers?
Will the doctor put her on thyroid medication?
Will she start walking aimlessly around the neighborhood like Helen Bishop?
Will she use the Relaxicizor?
For the first time in a long time, I felt a kinship with Betty last night. I know what it’s like to feel exhausted, depressed, hungry, and unsatisfied with doctors. I’m sure that she’ll lose the weight somehow, seeing as I don’t see January Jones wearing the fat suit much longer. I hope that they deal with it as it happens, rather than her coming back in Season 6 looking perfect.
I don’t know if the rest of Betty’s story will resonate with me down the road, or if she’ll continue to be a sympathetic character. I do know that this episode hit me where I live, and I’m hoping “Mad Men” does something positive with Betty and her thyroid condition in the future.