My Fantasy Night With 'Mad Men's' Joan
This story first appeared in the June 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Eight of TV's top female writers defend, adore and dream up fantasy dates with Mad Men's leading lady.
JENNY BICKS: Joannie and Me
Joannie asks me what I am doing after work one day, and my fantasy is that we are going to bond over men and martinis at the Monkey Bar. The reality is that she takes me shopping for foundation garments at Bonwit Teller. She doesn't understand why I dress like a 12-year-old boy. I explain to her that in Hollywood, there are no rules. I tell her stories of producers dining at the Ivy in long johns. She is suitably unimpressed. She twists the pen around her neck and says she thinks that sounds sad. Nothing is sexier than a man in a good suit. Speaking of good suits, I am dying to ask her about Roger and the baby, but there is a geriatric saleswoman shoving me into some kind of brassiere-cum-torture device in the dressing room and honestly, I can't breathe in it. When I emerge from the room tightened and heightened in all the right places, Joanie is pleased. "Now that is better," she smiles. I look in the mirror at myself in a very fitted silk sleeve dress, and I pull a face. "I don't know. … I'm worried that people will make assumptions about me. Like, I'm slutty or I shop exclusively at thrift stores or I'm an actress auditioning for Mad Men." She looks at me, confused. "Mad Men?" I wave it away. "It's a great TV show, you'll see it someday." Joanie takes me in. "It doesn't matter what people think -- it matters how you feel." She hands me a lipstick from her pocketbook. "I have to get back to work. Put this on. You look like you just woke up." And as Joanie saunters out of the intimate apparel department, I realize I do feel different. I feel taller. More confident. Ready to take on the world. And when the construction worker on Lexington catcalls at me, I own it, turning and waving at him. Which is precisely when I trip on the subway grate, fully exposing my $2.75 girdle.
Bicks is executive producer of Showtime's The Big C
NAHNATCHKA KHAN: The Genius of Joan
Joan is all women. That is not a typo, I don't mean "all woman," although she is obviously that, too. I mean that there are parts of every woman I have ever known in her. She is elusive yet attainable. Aspirational and a cautionary tale. Joan is my best friend, my nemesis, my lover, my mother. She is confident and scared. Prideful and amoral. She can take care of herself yet still expects someone to come to her defense. You want to be her, and you want to steer clear of her. Were there really women like that? Are there still? Could they actually exist in the mundaneness of the real world? Can you text a person like that to meet you for breakfast burritos? Can she throw on jeans and a T-shirt and be there in 20, or would she show up two hours later, dressed for the Oscars and randomly accompanied by Karl Lagerfeld? Has she ever thrown up from drinking too much at a beer bust? Drunk-dialed an ex to tell him she's been stalking him on Facebook and whoever that girl is in those Lake Havasu pictures is clearly a slut? Obviously, we'll never know. But the point is, we -- at least I -- WANT to know. And that, to me, is really what is so genius about Joan. She feels like everyone you've ever known and like no one you've ever met.
Khan is executive producer of ABC's Don't Trust the B-- in Apt 23.
CLAUDIA LONOW: Wy I Love Joan
1. Let's start with the name "Joan." Joan -- a name for people whose parents are too lazy to say "Joanne." This name has fallen out of favor. I think it's because you can't say the name without raising an eyebrow and following it with a "Not again, Joan" shake of the head. What happened to all the Joans? Joan of Arc, Joan Blondell, the old-timey TV show I Married Joan. (Imagined commercial for I Married Joan: I don't know what you did with Joan, but I married her!)