Last week saw Christina Hendricks‘ character, Joan Harris, at the center of the most controversial episode in “Mad Men” history.In “The Other Woman,” Joan sleeps with an executive to land his account for the agency and win herself a partnership. While The Huffington Post lauded it for “pulling the rug out from under the audience” Time slammed it, saying that the show had “manipulated” the “character’s integrity.”
Christina discussed these polarized reactions during a video chat with Gold Derby. “It’s very easy to judge a character, and their decisions … Joan has justified it and found a reason for her to do it, enough that she feels it’s important in her life and for the people in her life. So the audience may choose to judge her for it or they may understand it … As an actress you hope that they can get on your side and understand it because you are playing it as true as you can.”
Asked about Joan’s motivations, the actress revealed, “It’s really about what we’ll do to survive … It’s a question that she had to ask herself and put herself in a position that could take care of my son for a long time … I’m acting like one of the men at this point, and if I want to be a player in this game this is something I’ve decided I have to do.”
Another controversial aspect of the episode was Roger’s (John Slattery) indifference to Joan’s proposition despite being her former lover and the father of her child. Even this surprised Christina. “When you first read the script, of course my first reaction was ‘Roger! How dare you!’… It is shocking, that’s a layer to those characters that will never go away … From here forward, in season 6 and 7, that will always be there, what Don did for her will always be there what Roger didn’t do for her will always be there.”
Despite winning a record-tying four Emmys as Best Drama Series, “Mad Men” has lost all 19 of its acting bids. Hendricks has contended twice for Best Drama Supporting Actress. If she is nominated this year, her strongest episodes are “The Other Woman” and “Mystery Date, ” where Joan rails against her husband after discovering he has re-upped for another tour of duty in Vietnam.
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