Why Does Don Draper See Bert Cooper On 'Mad Men'? And No, It Doesn't Mean He's Crazy
No trip across America is complete without a kooky companion, be it a friend, a hairy hitchhiker, or a spiritual presence. The latter has become the case on AMC these days — why is Don Draper seeing Bert Cooper's ghost on Mad Men? He has now appeared to the mysterious protagonist twice, and it's starting to be a concern to some viewers.
Last week, as Don played hooky and went to look for his waitress, when the ghost of Bert appeared and advised him against following that plot line. This is the second time Bert has appeared to Don since his death — the first was a song and dance number at the end of the midseason finale "Waterloo." The piece was a nod to actor Robert Morse's own career on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, a musical about an advertising department in the 1960s.
I hate to break bubbles, but I don't think Bert Cooper's ghost mean anything in the big scheme of things. I don't think that Don Draper is sick, dying, or delusional. I don't think that this necessarily that means that Don's going to become the infamous D.B. Cooper. I don't think that Don is already dead or anything like that. In this instance, I think it means that Bert Cooper and what he represents to the Don Draper persona meant a lot to him. He's an eccentric old man who, like Don Draper, was a bit of an outsider at the advertising firm.
Besides, in the grand scope of Mad Men, this really isn't all that unusual.
It's Fiction, After All
I'm not being patronizing. Truly. Since Mad Men takes place in a world we recognize and includes many historical events and advertising campaigns that actually happened in our world, it's easy to forget that this is a fictional universe where the rules are different. Why do you think there are so many conspiracy theories that involve real people like the model Sharon Tate and the airplane hijacker D. B. Cooper?
Lots of weird things have happened on Mad Men. It is a heightened reality. Sometimes they can be explained by drugs or a dream, sometimes not. Characters on Mad Men have cut their nipples off, performed in blackface, and shot suburban birds out of the sky — that's the show at its least surreal. We shouldn't be too shocked by a ghost at this point.
There Have Been Many Ghosts
It's also not the first time that there have been appearances from beyond the grave on Mad Men by far. Betty saw her father, Gene, and other deceased individuals. Don Draper has seen many ghosts on Mad Men in addition to Bert Cooper, including Anna Draper, his brother, his parents, and most recently Rachel Mentz. Is he Ebeneezer Scrooge?
As a person who took a dead man's name and sent his former self to his own grave, it's understandable that Don Draper is preoccupied with death. These visions are probably just a narrative device. Personally, I'd be more concerned about the hitchhiker Don picked up than his conversations with dead people.