Well I just finished watching the end of “Mad Men.” I spent a large part of the finale trying to figure out what was going on. I had hoped that Peggy and Don would have ended up together, no such luck. The ending will go into that small fraternity of television shows where the viewer questions the motive that the showrunner had for ending the series. The show began in an idyllic time and ended in a time when everyone was questioning everything. Weiner chose to embrace this time period by having his hero , Don Draper embrace a zen philosophy.
Weiner said a long time that he wanted to show that life isn’t exactly rosy. There was even speculation that Don was going to end up dead. Some of those characters did end up a little better than they started. Peter Campbell returned to his wife and moved to Wichita , Peggy finds love at work with Stan, Roger ends up with Megan ‘s mom and puts Kevin in his will. Life seems to fall further apart for the Drapers as Betty accepts her impending death and Sally becomes the mother to her two brothers. Joan makes a bold decision as she breaks away and starts her own production company . She is not the weak flower she once was. Each of these characters have grown in their own way. Don has finally made peace with the mistakes he has made.
In the tradition of the “Sopranos” which Weiner had originally been a writer, he left viewers with an ending that could be interpreted in different ways. The most common interpretation is that Don was the creator of the famous “Coke ” commercial. Seeing the “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” commercial brought a smile to those of us who were old enough to remember the zen message. I would like to think that Don did come out of this a better man.
“Mad Men” brought to me more than the nostalgia of an era. It brought back to me the best of my life. When Peggy sang the virtues of “Burger Chef” , it took me back to those wonderful Super Chefs and Funmeals that I enjoyed as a child. The cast sat around a television as Apollo 11 landed on the moon and I sat and watched the moon landing in a hospital waiting room while my nephew was born. “Mad Men” has also influenced our fashion and liquor choices as well. Almost every woman I know has a few graphic print dresses in her wardrobe. Lipstick has gotten darker thanks to the daring choices of Joan Harris aka the bombshell Christina Hendricks. Don and company guzzle liquor and now thanks to them, male characters on other television shows also drink the hard stuff as well. (A certain President comes to mind) The show “Bewitched” embraced this time period with Darrin and Larry as the “original” Mad Men.” If Don would have been married to Samantha, the first time he cheated , she would have turned him into a toad.
So lets raise a toast to Don finding himself after losing his identity, Peggy finding some happiness, Sally learning that she can be a strong woman, and Joan using her mind instead of her body.