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S. Tarzan

I think you mean Dick Whitman, not Whittier.


Hmmmm. Not sure about these:

“(Pete) gets by entirely on his charm and social connections”

Charm? Really? I think the stories have hammered home his complete failure as a charmer. He just doesn’t have “it.” And he knows it. That’s why he looks like such a faker. Unlike Don, who is believable when he’s playing it.

“One of the reasons (Don) can't stand Campbell, in fact, is Campbell's obvious desire to be liked by Don”

Peggy wanted to be liked by Don, and he helped her out, gave her tips, brought her along. Because she has talent.

I think Don dislikes Pete because Pete is such a Bad Actor. Shooting blanks, no talent. The difference seems between pure, loser phony and conscious self-creator.


It would be nice to see you at least feign an interest in the female characters.


Lance, you got a hat tip from James Wolcott on this.

Eric k

I think your close but subtly off, Victoria is right.

Dick Whitman needed to become "Don Draper" to succeeed even though he has talent. He recognizes that Pete is exactly his oposite, a man who will suceed because of who he is in spite of having no talent.


Take a peep at Robert Bird's Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself. Recently reprinted by NYRB Press. Same subject, even earlier than Twain - 1836(!). Set in the go-go heyday years of Jackson's America (ring a bell?).........

Phil J

Pete does have talent, the writers give him "the backbone of America" a phrase that steel is still using, he just doesn't have any confidence in that version of himself. His success comes from playing a role that he knows is fake, and that knowledge prevents him from totally selling the role, which makes him despicable.

The problem for Don is that Pete really does seem like Don without the confidence and that as Don starts to know more and more that he's acting he could become, like Pete, unable to pull off his role. But without Pete's safety net, if Don ever comes off fake like Pete his world would collapse. It almost happens when Pete exposes Don to Cooper, but Cooper is just too jaded to care as long as Don can keep fooling everyone else.


Victoria: “(Pete) gets by entirely on his charm and social connections”

Charm? Really? I think the stories have hammered home his complete failure as a charmer.

V, like I said, Pete doesn't have a real good idea of how to win friends and influence people. He has a knack for rubbing the people he works with the wrong way. But he has to have a certain kind of surface charm or the clients he pulls in wouldn't like him and I think we're meant to believe they do. Pete's lack of that charm is actually Vincent Kartheiser's lack of charm. I think Kartheiser's woefully miscast as Pete.

Peggy does have talent and Don respects her for that, but she also knows how to keep her distance. Remember how in the first couple of episodes she tried to be friendly and he pushed her away and even scolded her for it? She backed off quickly. A big difference between Peggy and Pete is that she is adaptable and learns fast. Pete keeps pushing and pushing with Draper.

Eric k, what Phil J. says. Pete has talent. Just not as much as he thinks he has and it's not developed and won't develop unless he learns some humility, patience, and a better sense of how the ad business works, none of which he's likely to learn because he's not that kind of guy. Peggy is.

But you're right, Pete will succeed because of who he is not because of whatever talents he has or doesn't have.

S. Tarzan: I think you mean Dick Whitman, not Whittier.

ST, I did indeed. Thanks for the catch. I guess I had the Dick Whitman/Dick Nixon parallels too much on the brain and typed the name of Nixon's alma mater unconsciously.

bb, thanks for recommending Sheppard Lee. It's on its way from Amazon as I type.

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