Character Spotlight: Joan Holloway

joanby Judi*

Show: Mad Men

Character: Joan Holloway

Played By: Christina Hendricks

In a Nutshell: Don’t let the curves deceive you. (Former) Sterling Cooper office manager Joan is waaaay more than just a pretty face and a “rockin’ ass”**. She’s part-mother hen to the secretary pool, part-mentor-part-rival to fresh-faced upstart Peggy Olsen, exceptionally cool at her job and had (what seems to be now) a pretty serious fling with Roger Sterling. Now she’s married to a total douche-canoe who seems to have forgotten that you can totally be a doctor without being a goddamn surgeon. He’s the reason for the only real shake-up to Joan’s perfect demeanor, when he raped her in Don Draper’s office during the Cuban Missile Crisis (insert ironic joke here).

Why We Can’t Get Enough of Our Joanie: In the awesome New York Magazine interview that came out on Vulture on Monday, Christina Hendricks cops to studying Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl for Joan. It makes absolute sense considering that’s the source of her feminine power on the show-unlike Peggy’s attempts to act like one of the boys and her struggle with how to do that and remain herself, Joan “uses her sex-uality” to maintain control over the less-than-ideal situations thrown her way and keep the men in her life firmly in check. It might not be working so much for Dr. Douche but Roger Sterling doesn’t even know what he’s being hit with. It’s part of the fun of watching her maneuver through a very complicated decade and we need to take that fun where we can get it. Because trust me, there are parts of this show that are NOT fun to watch. Compelling, yes, but not exactly a frolicking good time.

Then there’s her look. You might be tired of hearing the rally cry of “she’s not a size 0!” but too bad. I hope we never stop saying it. It is a HUGE step in the right direction and we should be championing it at every turn. I’m actually going to be Joan for Halloween and do you know how LIBERATING it is to buy a tight dress as a size 10 and not have to worry about how I’ll look next to the “sexy nurses” who drunkenly stumble out of Uncle Fatty’s this Saturday night? I might just be Joan EVERY year.

Favorite Moments

I love the shot of her and Roger in the first season, standing out on the sidewalk of the hotel where they’ve just had their tryst, her in a leopard print coat and holding a birdcage? That’s the best part about Mad Men. It’s so beautiful that you can describe your favorite moments as a still image.

Also, this is pretty damned fantastic. Go to 1:52 for the good stuff. The vase shot heard ’round the world.


* No need to adjust your sets. Yes, this is my second “Character Spotlight” in a row but Beal is in the middle of a move and digging through YouTube for clips of Brian Krakow is not exactly something you want to be worrying about while moving men juggle your flat screen. That came out way dirtier than I intended. That did too. Oh my God, I can’t stop.

**Another “Will & Grace” reference for you, belonging to which celebrity guest star? Answer on my Twitter page.

*** 30 Rock quote. Who said this one? Answer also on Twitter.


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