Mad Men Finale – Gone but Never to be Forgotten

Kudos to Mad Men‘s Master of the House, Matthew Weiner, for his superb series closing episode which aired on AMC last night. Mad Men, which has run for 7 seasons over 8 years, will now recede back into a secured niche as one of TV’s Best Shows, as well as our own personal entertainment history. Notice I said recede rather than disappear.

I think there has been and will continue to be discussion about how the series ended. People will debate for years about whether or not the fictional Don Draper is the person who created the famous Coke Commercial with a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural collection of people who gathered on a hillside to sing a song about Coca- Cola – I’d Like to Teach the World To Sing.

Some will say that it was Don, and that he got the idea while he was with a group of people who sat on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Don had ended up at a retreat/self-help/commune on the California coast by way of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

And in the midst of the group chanting Om, a blissful smile crosses Don’s face. We aren’t told why this man is smiling…

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…but what we see next is the Coke Commercial. Now that actual Coke Commercial, which was entitled Hilltop, was made by McCann Erickson. Don is sitting on a hilltop. Connecting the dots – the conclusion follows easily. However, there’s no way to confirm that Don left California forever and came back to New York. It is up to the viewer to make the interpretation. But it would be foolish to dismiss this out of hand.

But this too was foreshadowed, if only briefly, when another shattered man, an office guy, much like Don in age, told his tale; a tale of shattered dreams, broken hopes, and most of all – a story of a man who felt that he had not mattered at all. Apparently this is what cut Don down to his core – when he saw it in another man, Don crumbled within, but not so much that he didn’t rise out of his chair, and give than fellow an embrace.

An epiphany for Don? A lifting of the deadly weight he carried within himself for all those years?

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Mad Men’s Lost Horizon – Sorry Don, You’re Not in Advertising Heaven

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
and the stars look very different today

With this David Bowie (circa 1969) tune playing behind the closing credits, Mad Men has the end in sight. We are now X-2 to EOS (Two Episodes to End of Series). Things began to dissolve at the end of last week. Don Draper may not have been floating off in a tin can in space last week, but when he gave the merger speech, and people just got up and walked off, he may have felt as if he were.

It seems that our merry band of intrepid Mad Men and Women have been called home to the Mother Ship otherwise known as McCann-Erickson.The signs are not good. Roger apparently doesn’t give a fuck.

Joan has not only lost the first skirmish about her role, but the second and the third as well. She will be lucky if she gets 25 cents on the dollar after court costs.

Peggy, a copy supervisor has somehow been deemed as a part of the secretarial group. Her office wasn’t ready.

By the time she did get around to showing up, she too had the look of some one who couldn’t care less about her new office, much less her job and her new overlords. We will have to wait until next week to find out what happens to Pete Campbell.

But as I indicated Don got his first wake up call last week when the staff turned their backs on his rah-rah speech about the relocation to McCann Erickson.The new bosses told him he was now at Advertising Heaven, but he didn’t really buy into it.

So much so, that at the first product briefing that he was asked to attend – where some space cadet was discussing the campaign for dietetic no calorie beer, (which would eventually become Miller Lite – but Don couldn’t have known that right at that moment), he picked up his boxed lunch, and without a word walked off.

He made his way up to the Francis residence to pick up his daughter Sally to drive her to school, but she had already left without him. A celebration of her independence said Bette, Don’s ex. Another door shut on Don. Where should he go?

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