Duels or “classy show-downs” as they are often called by no one, have been solving hot debates for ages. They’re useful for delivering crowds a champion, through often unpredictable means (just ask Alexander Hamilton). Television loves a surprise, so what better way to measure and battle elements of TV than with a duel? Here, we will battle two characters in an imaginary contest of wills. Sometimes a winner will be crowned because of pertinent facts, and sometimes in spite of them.
This week? Don Draper v. Robin Scherbatsky in secret pasts.
Over the years, some people have tried to claim that Mad Men is not a comedy. Oh really? It has sexual innuendo, drunk people, fighting, a cranky old boss, workplace hijinks, and most importantly, a case of mistaken identity that leads to an imposter! Ring, ring! “What’s that? Sorry, hilarity can’t come to the phone right now; it’s busy writing an apology note offering to pay for that carpet it ruined when it ensued all over Mad Men.” (Yes, that is a direct quotation from the last time someone called my cell phone looking for hilarity.)
Of course there are also a few dramatic plot points on Mad Men, which is why it holds its own with the comparison to How I Met Your Mother. Each show has a character desperate to keep their true identity, past transgressions, and shameful childhood a secret from everyone. Who is the only person with a past more secret than Don Draper and who also enjoys scotch just as much as him? That’s right, Robin Scherbatsky, the Canadian Metro News 1 reporter who was a one-hit wonder with her killer track “Let’s Go to the Mall.” Don may have switched dog tags with a dead man to get out of Korea, but at least he never did this:
Don manages to keep his secret past from most people, while Robin gets found out pretty quickly. Both are interesting strategies. Neither is completely happy with them. Let’s find out who is better at having a secret past.
Don Draper sounds like a super hero, or at least a proficient interior designer. His birth name “Dick Whitman” sounds like a door-to-door candy salesman or the grouchy mayor of a small town on a WB show. In comparison, Robin Scherbatsky is pretty basic, while her former alias “Robin Sparkles” sounds like a controversial doll The Today Show would devote several segments to discussing. Point: Draper
Guilt by Association
Robin’s sequel to “Let’s Go To the Mall” was her more artistic number called “Sandcastles in the Sand”. In this video, Robin Sparkles appears with Canadian actor Alan Thicke, her boyfriend (played by James Van Der Beek), and Tiffany. Don’s dad was kind of an a-hole. Point: Robin
Look at the Numbers
Robin appeared in a Canadian children’s educational program called Space Teens with Alan Thicke. The plot centered on two teenaged girls who flew through space inside a spaceship shaped like a curling stone while solving mysteries using math. The show featured the song “Two Beavers Are Better Than One”. In order to keep his identity concealed, Don celebrates his birthday on the real Don Draper’s birthday. That is six months after his actual birthday. That means he gets to be half a year younger, forever. Point: Draper
While Robin definitely has pizzazz, her downfall comes from the friends she chooses. When her supposed friend Barney discovered her in a 90s music video, he held a screening in their friend’s apartment. Meanwhile, Don’s boss found out and had the following reaction: “Who cares?”
Winner: Don Draper