I miss the old Harry Crane. You remember old Harry, the lovable doofus of Sterling Cooper, the office schmoozer who’d screw up his assignments? Despite his flaws, he had a sweetness and gait about him that reminded me of my late father (Bill), right down to the horn-rimmed glasses and white short sleeved shirts. Yet Harry wasn’t the sweet softie I thought he was. I allowed nostalgia and his physical appearance let me tolerate the character’s occasional lapses into misjudgment. In time I realized that Harry was like my Dad in appearance only, not substance.
For the first few seasons, Harry Crane was the sad sack sort of a guy who was never taken too seriously, with clumsy social skills. But in re-watching early episodes, one can see that he’s really always been a bit of a jerk, and his astonishing physical changes of late have been overshadowed only by his sharper, meaner, attitude. He’s always been sexist, just not as open about it, and since he’s become a successful in-between to Hollywood for SCDP, he’s gone from punching bag to one of the douche variety.
This is all in no small way due to the wonderful acting by Rich Sommer, who gives Harry a nasty bend that one would never have suspected in first couple of seasons. As you may recall, this is the meek guy who once donned a baby bonnet and explained to Pete about “enjoying female companionship in the confines of marriage”. That Harry is long gone, for he is now as loud and obnoxious as his increasing wardrobe of polyester jackets. Maybe it’s Hollywood, or his frustration over Joan being a partner, but for better or worse, Harry is now a man who will not be ignored.
Of course, Harry wasn’t completely innocent in Season 1. He proudly boasted of being among “The greatest ad men in New York City”, and slept with chilly Hildy. But Season 6′s Harry would neither disclose his affairs to Jennifer, nor apologize for it. I’m not saying that change is bad, but I just miss the sweeter side of Harry. The last thing remotely sympathetic Harry said last season was “My father was a bus driver; the only place he could take us was to the moon.” (A Honeymooners reference and another TV character my Dad resembled) Yet despite his total jerkitude of late, I still have hope that somewhere under that bluster there is still a caring, nicer man than he might still be. After all, he did save Paul from being totally absorbed into the Krishna movement. For all we know, thanks to Harry, Paul is now writing for the last season of Lost in Space and praising “Harry Krishna!” I hope so.
Addendum: May 6, After watching last night’s phenomenal For Immediate Release, I have to add some thoughts. Harry wasn’t in this episode AT ALL, and you just know that he’ll be seething when he finds out that SCDP has merged with CDC, adding more people to the partnership who are NOT him! There’s a volcano brewing here, and Harry is definitely going to blow. I see two outcomes, either
A: Harry goes insane and actually attempts physical violence (maybe with Pete’s gun) with his outrage,
B: Chaugh and associates find value in Harry’s TV department and sent him to California for good.
We’ll just have to stay tuned.