Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Men Marathon and Finale Pure Brilliance! **Spoiler Alert**

When AMC announced the Mad Men Marathon leading to the Finale last night, we first turned it on as 'background noise' mostly...then found myself falling asleep and waking up to it. First thing that struck me was how Kiernan Shipka "Sally Draper" grew up in front of us and what an excellent actor Mason Vale Cotton "Bobby Draper" is, he tore at my heart strings.

Even though at times Bettie made me shake my head in disgust at her parental skills I would not, could never wish cancer on her or the suffering that comes from losing a mother on those poor kids. Somehow though, we knew that sooner or later one of our beloved characters would succumb to "too much of a good thing" and be as it may that she decided to refuse treatment, like Joan [starting her own production company], Peggy, deciding to stay at McCann...they do it THEIR way.

Don and Peggy dance to Sinatra's "I Did It My Way"

Sally and Bettie's relationship reminds us how mothers and daughters clash like oil and vinegar at times - because, let's face it, none of us are perfect parents and those teen years! Oy! But in the end, love wins.

If only we'd known what we know now. Many of us survived riding in our parent's cars wearing no seat belts, playing with broken thermometers [mercury]...drinking, smoking when we were growing up...and so on.

We had made plans to visit friends in the Olympic Peninsula for the weekend and I began to have withdrawals leaving the house. Once we arrived at our destination friends and activities took my mind off..after all, that's what the dvr is for.

Sounds silly because I own the series on dvd format but watching it real time with other Mad Addicts is a completely different animal. Needless to say, when we returned home the following evening AMC was back on in full force.

And so we tried, once again, to revolve life around the marathon but as when first aired, episodes like the one where the Gingsberg character's schizophrenia of computers take over and suck you in. You stand there in disbelief. And you remember that there is always someone willing to take it to the next level, sadly. For instance; Walmart FEMA death camps (?) of late come to mind.

We need shows like Mad Men to remind us what times were like then. How some things never change, how some things have THANKFULLY changed for the better; Bettie having to wait for her husband to arrive in order to receive her test results. The sexual harassment women endured in the work place, racism, classicism and so on. In more ways than one, more than my love of vintage fashion, lifestyle, decor...Don Draper...I am sad to see Mad Men end.

The marathon relived so many memorable moments, one of my personal favorites "Waterloo" season 7 mid season finale, where Cooper says "Bravo!" as he watches the Moon Landing then passes away and later appears to Don Draper singing; "The moon belongs to everyone. The best things in life are free!"...The end. Yes, I got misty all over again.

Matthew Weiner wrapped a nice tidy bow around each character at the end. Pete back with his family boarding their own Lear Jet and Roger and Marie at the cafe.

Mad Men's legacy ends on a similar theme of how it began, an ad man [Don Draper] in 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes', struggling with a cigarette ad campaign in spite of public awareness of its health risks and its devastating consequence, one which nearly destroys him.

Towards the end, Don feels worthless. Having been told by Bettie [after hearing the grim news from Sally who is not supposed to tell him] that its best he stay away and not come for the children. Its the lowest we have ever seen Don. He may have been a lousy husband and father but he loved his children and never abused them, at least not intentionally [recalling the time Sally caught him having an affair with the neighbor] Maybe, if he had not been a product of that era maybe, just maybe he would have been a better father. A better husband, I seriously doubt.

The 'refrigerator fella' - who said at the meeting that he felt 'like something placed on a shelf, he sees the door open, people peering in with smiles on their faces then the door closes again, leaving him in the dark'...was literally saying what Don was feeling, but didn't know how to express it. He indeed had value and was needed and important. He had been shunned, attacked, belittled, demoted... even by those he was loyal to a fault to like Joan, Peggy... How many times did he offer Joan help yet she had no problem getting rid of him saying; "Im tired of him costing me money" and Peggy, he was her mentor, was always there for her yet she told him what a "monster he was" After a while chinks begin to form on the armor. Not that he was perfect, far from it but Don Draper at times was honest to extreme, like when he confessed how he was abandoned and grew up in a whore house in the Hershey's meeting.

But as Don Draper always does, he picks himself up from the ditch and lands one more time, on his feet. Or so they lead us to believe. Yes, I think Don's OM moment inspired him to write the Coca Cola ad and he is back in McCann's good graces. The end.

Au revoir old friend, you will be missed.

Original Coca Cola Commercial - I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) - 1971

Don Draper for ever!

**Historic side note, the original agency that handled the 1971 Coca Cola ad was actually McCann.

***Images courtesy of AMC. Videos courtesy of YouTube.


caryn mcgregor said...

Great write up! Well written. :)

figure8studio said...

Thank you Caryn! What a great ride Mad Men has been. <3

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