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"Mad Men" Likability Index: Cancer Averted!

Betty’s back! And she’s not the evil villain anymore.

After a season premiere without Betty, in which Megan Draper seemed set to own the season as the token hottie, Betty’s back! And she somehow makes Megan look like an even worse person than she did last week. But more on that as our ongoing quest to determine who the worst person on “Mad Men” is continues with this week’s likability index.

BETTY’S BACK!!!!!! And the writers decided to deal with January Jones’s pregnancy by making Betty fat. And they decided to deal with Betty’s likability by giving her a tumor. It’s hard to hate a woman, even if she’s not real, when she might have cancer and is getting fat because of it. That plotline was pretty brilliant because it made all of that awful parenting of hers from previous seasons a thing of the past. That leftover anger we had toward Betty began to transform to pity, as she trucked herself to the doctor, wore that extra Band-Aid-garnished padding around her neck, and sat on the couch in the pink quilt she had fashioned into a robe and ate sad Bugles, which aren’t even good enough to be worth the calories like Tostitos Hint of Lime or something actually yummy (one reason living in 2012 instead of 40 years ago is awesome).

The other thing that endeared Betty (and Don, but more on that below) to me was how she called Don after she found out about the tumor. And they had an exchange like they were husband and wife again: “Say what you always say,” she said, and he replies, “Everything’s going to be okay.” You know she’d never have a conversation like this with Henry, and it was nice to watch them connect like that — like they both know they’re not getting what they really need out of their current marriages, which they’re not. But that’s obvious when you feel like you have to make your husband turn around when you get out of the bathtub.
Likability score: 81%

Don is not as awful this season as he was in past seasons. His attitude toward Betty was lovely — even human. He legitimately seemed concerned about her well-being, as well as his kids’ when she called freaking out about the lump on her thyroid. And, the thing that made him almost more likeable than that was when he said he was worried about his kids growing up without a mother, and, “Megan’ll try but what are [the kids] gonna do?” That’s right, Megan — you’re too young and naïve and superficial to be a real mom, says your husband. Finally Don seems to be waking up from his “50 Shades of Megan” sex reverie and seeing the downside of being 40 and impulsively marrying a 26-year-old. Eventually her age will show in other ways than her non-wrinkly, pre-natal body, and he’ll want to fork himself.
Likability score: 79%

At first I thought Betty didn’t deserve Henry, but now I see that he’s kind of a dick. It seems pretty immature of him to hate Don so much, and not telling Betty he’d called to check on her tumor was just, well, dick. But perhaps he senses they still have a connection and hates that, compared to him, Don is like the Megan of men.
Likability score: 62%

I am actually beginning to hate Megan. Not only because she’s the hot popular girl we’re supposed to hate, but also because she’s just stupid. If you marry a 40-year-old man, don’t invite him to Fire Island with your friends! That’s awkward for him, you, and your friends, because old people do not mix with young people like that, especially in the daytime, as any 20-something who’s ever had to hang out with their friend’s old boyfriend can attest. Have the friends over for a drink, fine, but don’t make your old husband drag his ass out to a beach, where he can’t escape because escaping requires driving or sitting on a train (or what back then — covered wagon?) for hours.

She was also completely inappropriately dressed at dinner with the Heinz people, when she wore her Friday night best instead of her Sunday best like the other wife, and said all the wrong things. And when she’s not serving as seizure-inducing patterned eye candy, she’s lazing about the house with a magazine or probably showing Don her cleavage in his office before getting hormonal and leaving work early. Pass.
Likability score: 57%

It’s nice that Peggy wants to bring in the best person for the Mohawk Airlines job, rather than taking the advice of all the cowardly men around her about picking someone who’s definitely not as good as her. Also, I am loving her boxy blouses and the ease with which she ridicules Don in front of his face.
Likability score: 90%

Harry is such a dorky mess, no wonder Don doesn’t want to go out to eat veal parm with him. Also, don’t smoke joints with children at a Rolling Stones concert. Have a little restraint, you gross horny man. Few things are more troubling than a man in short-sleeved dress shirts flirting with 14-year-olds.
Likability score: 65%

Roger needs to actually start doing his job instead of feeling sorry for himself. Or, continue not doing his job and sitting in his big office drinking and enjoying how he can be lazy and still get by. Whenever he slips into a bout of depression and self-pity and stops making jokes I remember all the awful things he’s done and how bad of a person he is.
Likability score: 60%

It’s kind of nice that Pete scored a big client for the ad agency because I worry about them having enough business and Lane getting shipped back to the UK or something. However, the way he rubbed the account in Roger’s face was totally class-less. It’s almost as bad as being fat and telling your husband’s wife she’s fat and should go get diet pills and is oh by the way! Also a bad wife.
Likability score: 64%

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