Draper vs. Soprano
They're more alike than you think
Published: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Updated: Saturday, October 23, 2010 16:10
I was itching to comment on the insane Mad Men season four finale this past week, but instead I thought I'd touch on a different trend in the critically acclaimed series: the similarities between Don Draper and Tony Soprano.
It's become more and more apparent to me that it's no mistake that Mad Men creator/Sopranos writer Matt Weiner has concocted two eerily similar characters in both Draper and Soprano. Both characters are from completely different time periods and walks of life, and yet have more in common than anyone could have imagined.
Soprano's story was of a man seeking psychiatric help for the stress of running organized crime, and having to take care of a family at the same time. Soprano never took too kindly to coming in for psychiatric help. Draper doesn't go to a psychiatrist (though, his daughter does), but if it were suggested to him that he should go, he'd probably have the same reaction as Soprano.
Both Soprano and Draper are very bull-headed men who see psychiatry as a sign of weakness. Both of them feel this way because of their own hidden insecurities, and the secrets that they hide. Draper, of course, hides his past and identity, while Soprano has to hide the fact that he's an organized crime boss.
Both men have to juggle two families. Soprano had to manage his family at home, as well as his organized crime family. Draper also has his family at home (now broken), and also his work family. Often times, work wins over the love of both these men. Though, as selfish as they seem, we do see their softer sides; especially in the times that they are tending to their children. These are the moments where we sympathize with them even though we know that they are terribly selfish people.
This brings me to the cheating. Both men have cheated on their wives several times. Both of their wives know it, but don't feel that they are in a position to do anything about it (granted, Betty does divorce Don). Both women want to keep their family unbroken, but Betty lives in a time where divorce is much more uncommon, and Carmella Soprano is a devout catholic that doesn't believe in divorce.
While Soprano is still blessed with the fact that Carmella hasn't left him, it still doesn't change the fact that his life is falling apart. In the final season we see his children and his business slipping away from him, and after all that he has done audiences still sympathize with him.
The same is true with Draper. His family and his business are slipping away. He's making hasty decisions and proposals, and you can see him spiraling down; much like Soprano. For both of these men the common theme seems to be "old habits die hard." Nothing seems to change for the better for either of them. For Draper's sake, I hope he doesn't continue down the same road that Soprano did, but I do believe this tale is destined to be another tragedy.