How is January Jones Like Ringo Starr?Posted: October 27, 2009
People used to say Ringo Starr was a bad drummer. I could never see this. Technically, maybe he didn’t have all the refinement of Buddy Rich, but that simple, foursquare yet swinging beat of his made The Beatles sound the way they did. With any other drummer, they wouldn’t have been The Beatles. And, since the Beatles’ sound was perfect, it follows that Ringo was perfect.
When Mad Men first began, January Jones struck me as an actress of limited technique. I always liked her, but she seemed stiff in a way that I equated with a lack of range or dynamics. But as the show progressed, I began to see that since the show was perfect, January Jones must be playing Betty Draper exactly right. Mad Men would never have been Mad Men with anyone else.
This especially hit home during the big confrontation scene in Sunday night’s episode, in which Betty forces Don to talk to her about his secret past. While watching this, I had the thought, “If January Jones has limited technique, how come this scene is so incredibly powerful?!? What the hell is she doing that is making me buy this scene so completely?” I still don’t know.
My provisional conclusion is that January Jones is a fantastic actress. Just one whose fantasticness doesn’t resemble anything we’ve seen before, so we’re not accustomed to it, and can’t fit it into a mold of what we think “good acting” is supposed to look and sound like.