Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Draper, Don Draper

Two James Bond references in Sunday night's season finale of Mad Men. The obvious one, of course, was the Bond theme to You Only Live Twice that played over the final scenes. The song, penned by John Barry and sung by Nancy Sinatra is, for my money, easily the best Bond song ever written (better than the more famous Goldfinger theme by Shirley Bassey). Like most of the music choices chosen by Matthew Weiner it served both the mood of the ending along with providing an ironic counterpunch. The lyrics were the irony, of course. Don Draper has already lived at least twice. Is he hoping for one more life as he sits alone at an elegant bar, drinking an Old Fashioned, and eyeing the clientele?

The other Bond reference came earlier when Don ran into Peggy at the matinee. As they settle into the movie there is a brief snippet of music (Burt Bacharach as played by Herb Alpert) and it's clear that they are about to watch 1967's Casino Royale, a film that spoofs the already spoofable James Bond with, among multiple other actors, Peter Sellers, David Niven, and a young Woody Allen. In a way, that film, a very flawed one, marked the beginning of a sea change with the James Bond archetype already making his way for the exits and Woody Allen, just a few years off from his own romantic comedies, coming in. Sean Connery is about the exit the series and he will be replaced (after a one-off stint by George Lazenby) by Roger Moore's campy 1970s version.

So it Don does return to his old ways, if he becomes the beast to Megan's beauty, will he also become a spoof of himself? I hope the next season gets here a lot sooner than this one did.


  1. "You Only Live Twice" is better than "Goldfinger"? You must be insane. You are now the A.O. Scott of James Bond soundtracks.


  2. Goldfinger is more iconic, sure, but listen to them back to back and tell me Goldfinger's better.

  3. I did as you asked, and, yup, it's still better. I mean I like both songs, don't get me wrong, but "Goldfinger" has that extra je ne said quoin, plus Shirley Bassey's pipes are just amazing. We'll have to agree to disagree.