Browsing my favored pop culture blog on lunch in the office today as I have made a habit of doing (should I be fraternizing with coworkers? reading a newspaper? probably.), I came across an article that struck me immediately, and then again when I read further into it:
Jon Hamm, star of critically-acclaimed and awfully-boozy AMC hit program Mad Men, two days ago completed a month-long inpatient rehabilitation program at a hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut (the location was the second fact that caught me — it’s less than 10 miles from my apartment).
This was truly a “new” news story — Hamm has never been admitted for or counseled on substance abuse before (whether the media has any damn business covering this is a whole other post, but I digress). Upon checking other sources (and reading the ensuing comments – #internet), I learned that the man was no stranger to the bottle, and had been known to be a particularly sloppy drunk for years. Then of course there is the character he plays on television. Now I am not a long-time or die-hard fan of the show. I picked it up about a year ago, and while I did enjoy the set period and the focus on the advertising world, the pacing caused me to lose interest after the first season.
But it’s certainly true — it feels like there are no scenes where these dons (his character’s name is literally Don) of 1960’s New York are not swirling a tumbler of brown liquor. Drinking and smoking — it’s what you did back then. Of course this is well-produced television, and of course the actor was not actually consuming the raw substances…but still. It is not difficult to see how his professional habits could spill over into his personal ones.
Jon Hamm is well-liked by his fans and well-respected by his peers. Men want to be him; women want to be with him. He has money, fame, fortune, family. On paper, there is zero reason for this person to throw away their life on alcohol. In the flesh? Not so simple. People are complex creatures. We humans are very prone to acting on impulses and making embarrassing mistakes. We bury secrets; we harbor resentments.
And at the end of the day, we’re “only as sick as our secrets,” as they say in The Rooms. Glad a good man is getting the help he needs; grateful to find inspiration in his work & his story.