The season-four premiere of Mad Men didn't just introduce SCDP’s cute new office and Peggy's adorable new haircut, it set up what could be this fetishistic show's kinkiest sexual relationship yet: Don Draper, the “son of a whore,” is regularly sleeping with a prostitute — and asking her to slap him, too. As far as mainstream TV dramas go, this is fairly unprecedented stuff: Masochism is typically treated as joke (Desperate Housewives) or as prelude to grisly murder (CSI). On Mad Men, however, Don’s shocking but brief, slap-happy sexual interlude is not just stratospherically, nakedly Oedipal, it makes sense — both for him, and as a kind of mirror of fans' obsession with the show. Weiner could kill this story line at any minute, but it will be fascinating to see how far he pushes it — and us.
The Daily Beast spoke to Mad Men creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner about the aftereffects of the Drapers’ divorce, whether Betty is a terrible mother, Don’s S&M fetish, the triumphant return of Joan (Christina Hendricks), and much more.
The relationship between paying for sex and power, that is to say who holds the power in the client-provider interaction, is complicated, as is the question of who has the power when someone is being paid and carefully constructing a scenario where they get slapped. So far I don't see a lot that's revealing about the sex Don's having. He has a highly contrived and controlled fantasy he plays out (bra must be on, woman on top, slapping in the face). It's just like the rest of his life. In this way at least the sex seems to fit with his character.