Mad Men: Does Anyone Else Not Miss Betty Draper?

Let’s get this out of the way: January Jones is a terrible actress. Matthew Weiner and company write beautiful scenes for her on Mad Men—scenes that many TV actors and actresses would sell their first fainting couches for. But geez, is she ever not up for the challenge. Her dialogue is wooden, her actions stilted, her emotion nonexistent.

But what I find so intriguing about Betty Draper is that she’s been absent for more than two episodes and it took me this long to even notice.

I suppose it’s logistics. Each week the show has focused on Don’s home life and work life, plus one stray office story. With Betty out of the picture, she’s likely only going to appear in episodes when one of the members of Sterling Cooper Draper Price takes a backseat. Hopefully, though, Betty hasn’t appeared much because the writers have realized her collapse has reached an end. She got everything she wanted, she should be happy now, and yet she’s a selfish monster. There’s nowhere else to go with her.

Good. This season has been a triumph of near-Season 1 levels without her. For years Don lived a double life that he revealed to nobody until he was under intense pressure. With that weight lifted, rather than begin the healing process, Don has delved right back into the darkness. He maintains a pleasant-enough demeanor at work (unless pushed by focus group moderators or hacky clients) but sleeps with secretaries and pretends it didn’t happen. The Don from work would never do that. The Don broken up at home makes terrible choices and pathetically tries to rectify them with half-written sentences on a typewriter, blitzed out of his mind. The major difference this time around is that the two worlds exist much closer to one another. Yeah, there have been those outbursts at work, but Don also tosses breadcrumbs to coworkers in need, as he did with Lane last week. Trouble at home? Might he suggest a hooker and a steak?

It’s also fascinating to watch how Don’s issues have seeped down to his underlings. As the show point out last night, SCDP is Don Draper’s agency first and foremost, so consciously or not, the people there are going to feel his presence. Peggy has always looked up to the man, and last night she learned that Don has slept with all his secretaries (presumably) except for her. Just as Don threw a fit when the clients didn’t give him what he wanted during, Peggy started her own rebellion by escaping the stuffy suits of SCDP and jumping into the open arms of East Village bohos. Pete, meanwhile, has learned to believe wholeheartedly in the greatness of himself professionally, yet remains disconnected from the things that are “supposed” to make him happy, like a wife and a child. I still don’t buy that he was genuinely happy with the news. Pete and Don are a lot more similar than I initially thought.

This has been a rich season of Mad Men thus far, and with Betty out of the picture, it’s likely to continue. Does anyone else not miss her?

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THANK YOU. I'm so sick of hearing "her character is SUPPOSED to be so rigged and blah blah blah. I love to show, but January ruins almost every scene she's in and it's a shame because those are some wonderful scenes. She definitely looks the part but can't act to save her life. I just started watching season 4 and it has truly been the best one now that she's gone because you can get lost in the story instead of just cringing whenever she recites her lines.
Final verdict: More Christina Hendricks, less January Jones.
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I love Betty Draper, and wish she and Don would both get over themselves. Don is so brilliant when they are attracted to each other. ROME. More of this, please. The divorce is so wrong and her new husband is awful. There is no drama or chemistry between them, and bitter Betty is just sad. Don was so awful with Sally's elementary school teacher. That was a new low for the writers of the series. I'm still catching up but honestly, how low does he have to go before he starts coming back up again?
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I think she's a very good actress so, you've made NOTHING clear but poor judgement.
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I don't know if January Jones is a good actress or not, however she's playing a very repressed woman who if she'd had the Pill would never had children. She's typical of the June Cleaver, Stepford wives of the 40's and 50's who in the early 60's realized she could have done better than being a trophy wife, exactly what she's getting into with the 2nd husband. Anyway it's just a part written for her and she's doing it very well!! Lighten up people!
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I for one do not miss Betty's frigid, wooden disdain for her entire family, and do not miss that daughter even more! She is turning out just like her mom, unfortunately. Hope the stories stay with Don, his new agency and Peggy.
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I **** miss Betty a lot. I love January Jones. COME ON!
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I TOTALLY MISS Miss Betty Draper!

I love the fact that she is so cold and aloof.

When the kid trashed her house and left her daughter's room untouched I couldn't wait to get back to this storyline.

Why has Don not contacted his kids at all?

I want a break from the office and back to Betty and the kids to continue with this part of Don's life.
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January Jones' portrayal of Betty Draper is as important a portrayal of the changing roles and expectations of women as the other major female characters. That Betty was this icy, beautiful blonde does not equal wooden. Jones' character is trying to break out of the stereotype of 1950s mothers and women. Plus, she's a hell of a shot. I missed her and miss her presence on the series. She was like Don Draper except with more class.
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I think you are wrong about JJ. But, you are right about Betty.
The fact that you have such strong feelings about the character proves the quality of JJ's acting No, I don't miss Betty Draper, I knew many of them growing up, including my mother. she has moved on to what she thonks is greener pastures but, she will be not much happier now. Any way, this guy is more like a "daddy".
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I LOVE Sally, love the scenes with Betty, and mark my word....that little actress is going places! Mad Men won't be her last series...
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I, too, wondered whether Betty's non-emotional, stilted appearance is by design. But, now you've got me thinking that maybe it is simply poor acting.

In either case, I also don't miss her. The other story lines are much more intriguing. The series is called "Mad Men", not "Mad Man with Mad Wife."
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I miss the Betty from Season 1- where her comments and actions so contrated with what a mother/female is expected to be today. The scenes with dry cleaning bags over her kids heads, smoking and drinking the day away as the kids run throught the streets, dresses and heels to clean and cook in, and her end with the gun and cigarette. That "comment" on women who were at home was part of what attracted me to the show in the first place and I really miss it.
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I liked that Betty was non-emotional, wooden and stilted. That was the character, not the actress. Her contrast to Peggy is what I miss.
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I liked her before, but I don't miss her at all now. Without the balance of her relationship with Don, she is just whiny and annoying to me.
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I miss Betty and the kids. Even though she wasn't the nicest person or mother. No one else has her type of character on the show and I think that's what's missing. I've been waiting for her to be in an episode, even if it was a small part. I like January Jones and think she's a good actress.
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She does a wonderful job of conveying the type of woman/wife/mother from that era. She seems to have hit a hot spot with the author, as he called her a "selfish monster". I think that January Jones' ability to portray that which she IS is a testament to her great acting. And yes, she is a selfish monster. Weiner perfectly casted this show, especially with the very difficult to portray Betty Draper.

I not only miss her, but little Sally Draper.
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I don't miss her at all. I like the actress very much but to have to listen to her whine about her perfect life was growing mundane. I'm sorry but I just don't care for her. I miss Sally..
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Excuse me but yes I miss Betty Draper....her acting was fine....Betty is "cold" and terribly "shut down" from being married to the deeply complex and tormented Don Draper....her lack of emotion is exactly as it should be. Her role as a mother spun out of control is good too but painful to watch. I want to slap her silly for being so short tempered with her children....but she is unaware---simply going through the motions. Let's not be so quick to slam Betty....she added something valuable to the show....its called reality. Oh and lot's of sex appeal too.
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I miss her. She is real to me and sometimes I get lost in what is going on but soon I catch up and find her an important part of the story.
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Yes, I miss her very much. It takes a good actress to play her role. She plays it perfectly.



I lived through those times as a young mother although not in the high economic bracket that she is in. It was a very different time than now. Women did not have the "rights" we have today.



For example, I was a nurse who worked in a Catholic Hospital and when I became pregnant and began to appear so , I had to stop working until after the baby was born.



Of course Betty is a rather 'mean' mother and not typical in that way of all mothers of "the day". I do miss her ( January Jones) character and I do not think she will be happy with the man she is with now.



Those were very turbulent times with lots of social changes happening and I believe Matt Weiner is trying to show all that.



Come back Betty--you are missed !!!
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I don't miss January Jones at all. I do miss the children though. Kiernan Shipka does an excellent job as Sally.
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I miss her I think she is doing a great job in her role
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I agree. She looks the part - perfectly, but I can't count how many times I wish I could jam the actress with an electric prod so that she could come to life and make her character come to life. There are actors out there who can display a great range of emotions barely moving and with just their faces - and able to exude repressiveness, coldness, selfishness, loneliness etc. I think a lot of people are mistaking Jones's limited range and inability to really act as her way of acting the repressed, cold, spoiled housewife. I read somewhere down the posts that she was the same way in - was that Oprah - as she was as Betty Draper in the show. That's cuz she can't act, and so there's very little difference between Jones in the show and real life.
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I think you are wayyyy off base thinking the show "doesn't miss" Betty Draper! I have really watched her character closely as she has come to realize she's done everything right in her life but has an empty shell of a marriage and absolutely no power to change anything. The powerlessness of the women on this series IS the story. The most interesting character to date is Peggy because she has tiptoed her way to a position of power by asking herself what she wants & going after it. All the other female characters define themselves only in relation to men.

For this reason, the best course the scriptwriters can take is to bring each of these female characters along and seeing how that effects everything else at SCDP and at home as well. The evolution of Betty promises to be very interesting indeed.
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she plays the part to perfection, but on the regis and kelly live show she came across as the charactor she played. on opah she did the same. where else has she worked? her real life persona thus far appears to be a 2010 betty draper. also see her channeling the late actress lee remick in her acting but, lee remick was much more dimensional.
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January Jones is the exact replica of the 60's wife and mom. I actually knew several woman who could have been the clone for this character. The whole scenario from Betty to the women in the office are perfect. I think she's a great actress for being able to duplicate the mannerisms and demeanor of the trophy wife during that period.
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I think January Jones character is being played perfectly. She's beautiful. very repressed., and is playing the part of frustrated Trophy Wife to the hilt, just as a woman in those times looked b '''';'
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I know there are others out there who remember Mother's in the 60's who wore dresses or Capri pants while she cooked dinner every day. Women who had their friends over to gripe about their husbands and anyone else who wasn't there. Children were scolded if they interrupted adults and were expected to be seen and not heard. Betty Draper knew she wasn't supposed to pry open the desk drawer- she forgot her place. Women were treated like dolls when they were pregnant-except for the cigs and alcohol. January Jones may be a little stiff, but she plays the Moms of the 60's right on!
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You know there are some of us who remember Mothers in the 60's who acted just like Betty Draper. Mom's who wore dresses or capri pants. They sat with their friends to gripe about their husbands and anyone else who wasn't there. Children were punished for interrupting the adults and,like Betty Draper, they weren't allowed to go into the desk drawers where all the 'important' papers were kept. They were treated like dolls when they were pregnant-except for the cigs and alcohol,that is.I think January Jones might be a little stiff but she plays the 60's mom right on.
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I also disagree. January Jones is a solid actress, who else could make Betty Draper seem so shrill and shallow yet full of upper middle-class pretentions. In fact, she plays Betty so well that it feels like a relief when she is not onscreen. Betty is, after all, a mean-spirited character who threw her best friend together with a gigolo and then taunted her about it. As a mom, she is cold and spoiled - I wish Carla would smack her. Yet, I believe she wanted Don to fight for her and beg her to come back. Don's future, for good or ill is inextricably tied to Betty now that Anna is riddled with cancer.
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I disagree I think January Jones portrayed Betty well. She isn't meant to be someone we necessarily like. Also I agree Rachel Menken should come back.
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I think January plays Betty well, almost too well. Have you seen her other projects? If she acts this way in all of her films then she is a bad actress.

Anyway, I don't mind Betty without Don. Betty when she was with Don pissed me off.
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Not at all. January Jones is not a good actress nor is she funny (as she painfully displayed as host of SNL), her only redeemable quality as an actress is that she is very attractive.
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I always thought that stiffness and woodenness was part of Betty's character. The whole point of her is that she's just a pretty face with nothing underneath. She's a living Barbie-doll, in the same way Don has purposefully fashioned himself in the perfect man, a living Ken-doll. I thought that was the point.
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Who needs Betty when we have all these new exciting women in the series? Like Joyce, let's see where that goes! :)
I think it's a little unlikely that Peggy's only response the first time a woman hits on her is "I have a boyfriend", even if she was a little high. Where is our catholic goodie two-shoes? ^^ Of course, without that response we would never have gotten "no, but he's renting it".
Any thoughts?
Wouldn't it be amazing if
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I agree with the commenter that wrote Betty was a bad character, but maybe not necessarily a reflection on January's acting ability. They just did not do a good job on her character. Or maybe they they did too good a job with Don's character.... Either way, I really didn't miss her at all. She really can go...
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I disagree with you when you call January Jones a bad actress, however Betty Draper is a pretty bad character. Their is no way to feel sympathy for a woman like her who was cheated on by Don, her character is stupid, boring (sometimes), and yes annoying but that is how the character is written. It is more of the writers fault and not January. This was my favorite episode so far this season, I love Peggy's storylines and it looks like with her character we are going to explore a whole new world (thank god). It was funny cause after this episode I notice Betty has been missing for two whole episodes and i thought "good". Her character won't be written off because her daughter still seems to have an interesting story to play on the show as she grows older adn older.
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I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone.
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Best Buy ISA
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January Jones got an Emmy nomination so clearly not everyone agrees with your "terrible actress" idea. Also Betty had the best scene of season one when she shot at the neighbors pigeons, so I don't know why you are holding up season one as a Betty free show?

I think people are going to look back and realize that Don and Betty getting divorced was the show's jump the shark moment, because Don has turned into a boring one dimensional loser without Betty and the kids and when Don becomes boring so does the show.
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i agree with guyroy1971... but i wouldn't miss betty if she... well... gets sick and dies or something like that... maybe lung cancer... she does smoke a lot...
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I disagree, as others have said, internet gossip and her part has confused people with the actress. She is stilted and repressed, that is the part. Yes, maybe its tailored to her personality, but aren't all casting choices like that? She plays a spoiled reserved repressed woman well. She was also a trophy wife, so her looks counted for the part. What did people want Meryl Streep on AMC? I always thought she did fine with the role, and she has been nominated for an Emmy, so others agree.



That being said, I agree that unless she gets back together with Don, Betty's path on the show seems to be at an end, or a cameo when Don is picking up the kids, etc... He seems to be a mess without her, and there are no obvious long term love interests on the horizon, and she is superficial enough to want him back if he is doing well, so you never know...
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Completely disagree with the fact that January Jones is a bad actress. She absolutely has given Betty the exact stone cold personality that Weiner intended. It is exactly that; intended.
I do agree that the character is not missed. I don't really think about Betty too much anymore and find myself more interested on what is happening to Sally.
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Don't miss her for a second and hope they keep her appearances to a very minimum.
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Are you high? I was a first class Mad Men addict. I was waiting with such anticipation for this season and I have missed Betty so much that last night I didn't even watch the whole episode without falling asleep. For sure - January Jones is a bit wooden, but on some level, so is Betty. Nothing about JJs acting skills take away from Betty because Betty is a bit off, she is detached, she is so bizarre and interesting. I cannot stand to think she is not a co-equal partner in the Mad Men tale. Don is pathetic this season -- he used to be fun to hate. Now I just pity him. No fun with Betty and a shotgun, no fun with Don as a dashing cool guy. No fun. No interest. Bring me Betty over Sally any day! I can't stand the "kid" story line, and Joan is neutralized too. I miss the old Mad Men.
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I do/don't miss her. While I agree with the above, I also feel her character brings out a side of Don Draper we need to see.
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I agree...Betty was a whiner and the only thing she had going for her was her awesome wardrobe....Don is way hotter now without her
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I love Betty and think January Jones NAILS her. I miss her and do not miss Ms. Menken (no offense). Bring Betty Back!!!!!!
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I totally agree, I haven't missed her at all, I've really enjoyed the episodes without her. The show centers around Don and now Betty is only a tangential part of his life. Her role should be diminished, and I'm glad it has been.
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Now if only we can get Rachel Menken back :( Those were good times.
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