The Internet will feature no shortage of Mad Men think pieces, reviews and retrospectives today. How many you choose to read or not to read is a matter of personal preference. (If you only want to read one though, I’d go with Alan Sepinwall’s.) I don’t want to rehash anything that has probably already been said over and over already, but I do want to bang out one last Mad Men Q & A before getting on with the rest of my life.
Straight up, did you like the finale?
Straight up, yes I did.
Because why not? It provided some closure, which is something that even the best finales have trouble doing. I didn’t leave it feeling frustrated or disappointed, which always seems to be a fear when watching a finale of a great show.
What did you feel then?
Sadness for the most part- just bummed it was over. I had really began to appreciate Mad Men this season and with the end coming, had come to terms with how much I loved the show and why I had to grown to love it so much.
You didn’t always love it?
I think early on I really liked it and I definitely appreciated it from the jump. But the love came later. I remember during the early seasons forgetting about Mad Men and it not sticking with me when it wasn’t around. That changed. I think that’s one of the tenets of a great show- how much you think about it during the off season and definitely how much you think about it in between episodes. A great show avoids fleeting interest.
I’m not qualified to answer that.
No because honestly, so much of it has become blurry to me. If I ever find myself with 90 hours to fill, binge-watching Mad Men is going to happen. I think that will be where some of the success of Mad Men’s after life lives, as a binge-worthy gold mine. The show had such a strong rhythm to it that it would most likely lend itself very well to binge-watching.
Is rhythm one of the hardest words in the English language to spell?
Yes. I never spell it correctly.
What was your favorite moment of the finale?
When Stan and Peggy professed their love for one another. My Wife and I high-fived. It was beautiful…both the scene and the high-five.
Didn’t it kind of feel a little like fan service?
You shut your mouth! Of course it did! And that’s partly why it was so great! Who wasn’t rooting for the two of them to get together- especially during this last season or two when it became more and more apparent how close they were becoming and how dependent each was on the other. I for one can’t wait for the AMC Mad Men spin-off, Life’s a Pitch, about Stan and Peggy in the ’70’s.
Does Don return to New York and create that Coke ad?
No. I went back and forth about this, but final answer…no. I think the presence of the Coke ad was more to shed a light on the shallowness of advertising and how it’s goal is to capitalize on a certain feeling, a certain way of life. Don had been doing it for years- in a way, almost making light of people’s happiness. Definitely exploiting it. Now he’s on the other side of the coin. He’s experienced something real and genuine and whereas Old Don would have capitalized on it, New Don doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Remember the meeting he was in before he got up and left? It was full of Don Drapers- which was probably part of the reason why he left. But still, both Don and us the audience realized that he wasn’t one of a kind, he wasn’t original. And to a larger extent, maybe it should have been a lesson to all of us- there’s always someone else out there- someone to take our life, take over, be us when we’re not there. So no, Don didn’t create the Coke ad. He didn’t need to. Another Don was more than willing to. Shit. It might have even been Peggy.*
Spoiler: She didn’t.
So where does Don go after California?
Who the hell knows? And who the hell cares? It’s over. The story of Don Draper ended with his smile.
Okay, then. Switching gears- where does Mad Men’s theme song rank among some of the best of the last twenty or so years?
2. “A Beautiful Mine” – Mad Men
1. “Woke Up This Morning” – The Sopranos
Why does it work so well?
Other favorite moments from the finale?
Well, favorite is a weird way of putting it- but I thought the scene where Sally comes home to find Bobby trying to make dinner for Gene was damn near heart-breaking, but also a testament to how strong of a person/character Sally had become; that she would be the stabilizing force among the charred remains of the Draper family. Mad Men was always a show about adults acting like children, so it was a fitting that a child ended up looking the most mature.
I thought the idea of Joan & Peggy dynamic tag team was cool, but it was better it didn’t work out. Although it’s going to be awkward when someone asks Joan who the Harris is in Holloway Harris…or who the Holloway is. I get that the two names makes it sound more legit, but Joan is just asking for trouble there. I would have liked more Pete, but his story ended last week, so I’m ultimately okay with it.
Which character will you miss the most?
Which character will you miss the least?
Also easy. Harry Crane.
Some love for Betty?
Any final thoughts?
It didn’t surpass The Wire or Breaking Bad, but I’d put Mad Men above The Sopranos. I really think what we just witnessed was something truly special and original. It was high art, endlessly entertaining and so effin’ well done. It’ll also never be repeated or copied. Whereas The Sopranos had it’s imitators and Breaking Bad spawned a rebirth in the fascination of the broken American man gone bad, no one will be lining up to try and retell Mad Men‘s story. They own a corner; no one is taking that corner. At the intersection of great television, the fourth corner will always be up for grabs, but now? Now it’s no longer’s Mad Men’s corner that’s the corner in question.
And I miss it already.
Good thing The Bachelorette starts tonight.