Joan Harris has always been smarter than most of the other characters in “Mad Men” are willing to acknowledge. She’s also one of the most self-aware people in the show’s world, although that hasn’t come without a price.
As the show enters its seventh and final season Sunday (April 13), Joan (Christina Hendricks) is someone who has adapted to the changing culture of the 1960s by letting go of some of the notions she used to hold dear, series creator Matthew Weiner says.
“The thing that’s happened the most to Joan is she’s stopped caring — and what a freedom in life — she’s stopped caring a little bit about how things look,” Weiner says. “And women of that generation … were really raised that that was the most important thing.
“How does Betty Draper marry Don Draper? You check off a bunch of boxes, right? All of the flaws are ignored. Joan we see expressing her desire to take advantage of the bad things that have happened and make the best out of them, and also to be a little bit more of her own person.”
Joan has also become much more aware of the pervasive sexism of workplace culture at the time as she’s risen to a partnership at SC&P. Whereas she once used her femininity as a tool to help make sure things ran smoothly in the office, she’s now butting up against others’ rather limited perception of what she’s really capable of doing.
“That’s been a common storyline throughout all the seasons, the sexism and the different roles different women play and how they’re breaking through in different ways,” Hendricks told Zap2it at “Mad Men’s” Paley Festival event in March. “There’s a continuation of that” in the coming season, she adds.
Season 7 of “Mad Men” premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT Sunday on AMC.