Your third-highest-grossing film got shit reviews.
You shouldn’t be surprised, really: It’s just another day of doing exactly what it was you said you wanted to do. Or, maybe it was another day of doing vaguely what it was you said you wanted to do— that’s the part you and the Genie couldn’t decide on.
Really, you just said you wanted to create something for yourself, and if other people could enjoy it, that’d maybe be nice too. The thing is, you also said you wanted to be so rich that you could pay Manhattan rent without checking your Wells Fargo account balance each month (or any month, ever). So rich you could shop at Anthropologie without checking the price tags. In other words—
“Your job would have to be pretty remarkable, and you said you wanted to create something,” the Genie told you. “And besides, that’s the best I can do really, with a wish that vague.”
While combining your joy and your way of making money has brought you more riches than you know what to do with, it has also made you feel more miserable than you could ever possibly know how to express to the Genie you complain to on the hotline number— they sound exactly the same as the Genie who granted you these faulty wishes in the first place.
You felt disappointed that these wishes had to be related and you said so, meekly, in a way: “I didn’t want this— not this way, I mean.”
Your eyes scan over the latest IMDB reviews and one bolded headline catches your eye: Did you enjoy the wire? It said. You clicked on it and the smaller text poked through, “Good cause it’s available to rent on HBO Max rather than torturing your eyeballs with this nonsense.” You cringe and shut your laptop.
“Well, be more specific next time,” the Genie says breaking you out of your reverie.. Though you know, somehow, there will be no next time. And honestly, this whole current time feels tenuous at best, and you know somehow that you are about to step into another part of your life, and that of the remaining parts of your life, there will be no times even remotely like this.
“And you know,” the Genie said, “A lot of people don’t get to do what they want to do, and they don’t even get a living wage for doing what they want to do. And you know what’s even worse? They have to beg for a chance to even get to do it.”
You try to tune out the Genie until he’s finished, because you haven’t even started on your third wish issues yet.
Well, you didn’t get Don Draper like you asked for… but your Jon Hamm lays on the fetal position on the couch sometimes and cries— just like he does on Mad Men!
“Look, I get that he looks just like Don Draper but he doesn’t even wear the suits I got for him,” you tell the Genie who sounds just like your Genie but insists they are not them. “He wears tracksuits with the drawstrings removed. I mean… he’s just so… comfortable here. Now, did you send him with the tracksuits—?”
“Listen: He’s a fictional character. I can’t be expected to deliver the impossible. I’m a wish granter, sure, but even that has red tape and limitations you can’t possibly be expected to under—”
“I got it, ok? You’ve been very unhelpful.”
You slam the phone down on the receiver. It makes you feel only a little better, so you do it two or three more times for good measure.
Jon Hamm is upset. He sulks with a pint of rocky road ice cream in one hand and a clinking glass in the other in your office doorway.
“Was that my agent?”
“No,” you say Then- “No,” you say again, a little bit calmer. It is never his agent, but you keep that remark to yourself. You feel upset that he is so eager for her call, eager to get out of this situation.
You notice how bloodshot his eyes look and wonder if it’s from the drinking or the not sleeping.
“How many have you had?” you ask.
“How many have you had?” Jon Hamm asks you, and you don’t want to answer so you frown at him from behind your desk and your fancy office computer that someone you paid an obscene salary (even for New York) bought for you.
“Look,” you decide you’re going to tell it to Jon Hamm straight. It’s what Don Draper would do. “We need to make another movie. It’s not about money, ok? This time it’s going to be different. Those times before? I was just making what I liked, and sometimes other people liked those things too, but they mostly hated it. And I can’t tell you why those movies made so much money— believe me, I wish I could, it would be a relief, honestly— but I can tell you this next project is going to be what gets me an Oscar… And I want you to star in it, of course!”
You plead with Jon Hamm with a look that you hope will work, but it proves charmless. He smashes the goblet of alcohol he was drinking, something brown and strong, against the edge of your desk— when had he made it all the way to your desk?
“You! You! You. Maybe I’m ready for something different.”
When he yells at you, you realize with a disappointment that he looks just like he does when he yells at Peggy. There’s fire but there’s no passion in it, you know? And then you realize, that maybe actually his face looks the same yelling at Peggy as it does at Betty and Megan (and maybe even Sally too)— and you realize— with a start almost – that you don’t know how you ever saw love in it.
“Maybe I want to make movies with two people at once, or maybe I want to make movies with French people, or maybe, just maybe, I want to make movies with Christina Hendricks!” Jon Hamm is yelling a lot now.
“Now just a minute,” you say, “Are we still talking about making movies?”
You close your eyes, and you start to listen in wait for an answer before clasping your hands over your ears, realizing you don’t want to hear it, don’t want to see it, whatever the answer may be, however it may be revealed. W.W.D.D.D.? You haven’t a clue. Neither does Dick. Neither of you were meant for this world.