|Things don't look good for her.|
Let's quickly lay out Don's horribleness. He's an army deserter and fraud. He is a constant and flagrant adulterer. He's an alcoholic with a history of sexual and domestic abuse threats. Finally, he's an occasional plagiarist. But, because he's great at his job and thinks his kids are ok, he's still fine as a flawed hero.
Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis, on the other hand, is a bitch. Betty, who tried to seek psychiatric help only to discover that her shrink was giving Don reports on what she had said. Who suffered through and then was blamed for sexual harassment from Don's boss. Who told Don she was unhappy, and got yelled at on a bad day and dismissed on a good day.
Honestly, I don't think the writing teams are immune to the Skyler White effect. The female characters who aren't married to Don get rich, easy character development, but Betty's is much more subtle. You have to pay close attention to throwaway lines like "Mommy doesn't like to eat" to get that she had an eating disorder for the first few seasons, or to pick up on the fact that she's a textbook child abuse survivor. Almost every story she tells about her mother speaks to severe emotional abuse, which informs her increasingly horrible relationship with Sally. She was raised by one bully and married another, a man who flaunted his infidelity and made her feel inadequate, then turned around and called her a whore for buying a bikini.
|The woman is trying so hard, Don. Jesus.|
Now former receptionist and copywriter/future actress Megan Calvet has assumed the dreaded "Mrs. Draper" role. She's already done such detestable things as ask Don to be emotionally available, tell him to take her job seriously, and use his connections to land a national commercial. (The fact that he balked at that last one, when he had no qualms about creating a copywriter job despite her lack of qualifications, speaks volumes about how stingy Don gets when women reject his image of them.) Meanwhile, at one point Don abandons Megan at some pokey rest stop motel because she doesn't like orange sherbet. He then kicks their front door in, chases her around their apartment, and tackles her to the ground.
|She is tiny. He is a monster.|
The Skyler White effect is a pretty warped set-up. It speaks to the overwhelming preference for a male perspective over a female one, and for a male hero free from any woman's "interference." I hope the Mad Men writers don't yield to whatever negative feedback they do get about Megan, the way they clearly did with Betty. Don needs someone to stand up to his array of bullshit, and Megan is his strongest partner yet.