How Would Don Draper Do During the Zombie Apocalypse on “The Walking Dead”?


Sometimes Don Draper’s excruciatingly slow downward spiral makes him seem like one of the walking dead on “Mad Men.” However his biggest threat isn’t a hungry zombie – it’s himself.

Jon Hamm does an amazing job portraying an antihero whose many mistresses and mistakes make him easy to hate, so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine the actor playing a villain. And as luck would have it, another AMC show might be looking for a new villain around the time “Mad Men” goes off the air.

During a recent interview with MTV News, Robert Kirkman was asked about the possibility of casting Hamm as Negan, the sadistic leader of The Saviors in “The Walking Dead” comic books.

“He’s not tall enough! That’s a joke,” Kirman said. “I think Jon Hamm would be perfect. I think after ‘Mad Men’ has run, Jon Hamm is going to have a Tom Hanks level film career, so I don’t think he’ll be coming back to television anytime soon. Although that would be cool!”

Hamm would certainly be an intriguing choice for the role, but it would be hard to quit thinking of him as his “Mad Men” character. This raises an interesting question: What would Don Draper do during the zombie apocalypse?

Use His Ad Man Skills

Food still flies off store shelves during the zombie apocalypse, but the maker of Carl’s “Big Cat” candy bar isn’t profiting off of the purloined product. Ad men are pretty useless in this strange new world, but Draper would certainly be the one to figure out how to make the best of this skill set. If he was a member of the Terminus crew, he might encourage them to come up with a less-threatening name for their little death trap by the train tracks, and Don would definitely want to tweak the Terminus ads to make them a bit cheerier. Instead of writing “Those who arrive, survive” on sloppy signs, he might suggest changing the message to “Those who arrive, thrive.” Throw in an image of a smiling family eating dinner, and Terminus seem like a pleasant place where it’s not such a struggle to stay alive.

Don could also start an ad campaign for the Termites’ mystery meat; maybe survivors from other communities would be willing to trade their wares for Soylent Green.

Hopefully Avoid Creating an Alternate Identity

Dick Whitman would probably view “The Walking Dead” world as a chance to start over yet again, but he needs to be careful about trying to become someone else. Philip Blake/The Governor/Brian Heriot tried this twice, and it didn’t work out so well for him either time. However, if Don did decide to reinvent himself as a one-eyed sociopath with a superiority complex, he could keep zombie Sally in a closet and steal Ken Cosgrove’s eye patch after Pete Campbell feeds him to a pit of walkers.

Encounter Problems Because of His Boozing

Bob Stookey’s alcohol addiction has caused plenty of friction on “The Walking Dead,” and it already resulted in the death of one character. Don Draper is a man who enjoys his creature comforts, so it’s hard to imagine him giving the hooch the boot. He could quickly become walker brunch by continuing to booze it up so much.

Threaten his Survival by Sleeping Around

Don Draper proved he has no qualms about sleeping with a friend’s wife, and we saw how this situation turned out for Rick Grimes’ former BFF, Shane. Glenn would kick Don out of the group as soon as he went after Maggie, and you know Don would turn on the charm for Maggie – she does look a bit like his lovely, likely-deceased wife, Megan. Poor Megan probably became zombie chum after Don ditched her to save his own skin, or maybe she got eaten by the cannibal cult over at Terminus (if Charles Manson’s cult didn’t get her first).

Draper proved that he’s a survivor by going to great lengths to get what he wants, but he’s ill-equipped for “The Walking Dead” world. He does a great job of alienating people, and he definitely needs people for protection – did you see how scared he was of a little coyote howling during the season 7 “Mad Men” premiere?

Unfortunately, Don would have nothing to sell but himself during the zombie apocalypse, and his schmoozing wouldn’t get him very far. He’d probably end up slowly smoking a cigarette in the dark and contemplating his terrible life decisions while staring at the zombie in a suit that’s slowly shambling toward him.

Photo: Christina Saint Marche

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Treva Bowdoin is a freelance writer who loves crazy comedies and creepy shows like "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story".

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