Forget about Don Draper: what happened to these Mad Men characters?

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ad it up: A splendid drama, ‘Mad Men,’ as it comes to an end.

Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – All we really want in the series finale of this groundbreaking period drama, is to know what happens to Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Sunday’s Mad Menfinale is shaping up to be the Don and Peggy Show, given that the stories of the other main characters have been gradually winding down for the latter half of Season 7.The slick depiction of Madison Avenue advertising in the 60s, which has won 15 Emmys including Outstanding Drama in four successive seasons, bows out on AMC, four days ahead of the UK.ANGELES, CA – MARCH 25: Actor Jon Hamm attends the AMC celebration of the final 7 episodes of ‘Mad Men’ with the Black & Red Ball at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) NEW YORK (AP) – “Mad Men” will end its glorious run, Sunday night, not with a bang or a whimper, but a resolution that will ring true to the spirit of the series.For those of us who’ve watched and loved “MadMen” since its 2007 premiere, Sunday night brings “last call.” How might series creator Matthew Weiner wrap things up?

Speculation about Don Draper’s fate is rife, as it was for a long line of American television icons before him, ranging from Walter White and Tony Soprano to JR and Frazier. ‘All that I can tell you is we’re telling you a story. This is the natural conclusion of the story,’ he told the New York Times. ‘I hate to say it, I don’t really feel like I owe anybody anything.’ Finales have always been an event, even before the internet. In keeping with the series’ opening-credit sequence, a business-suited Don (or, in a just world, Harry) falls, picturesquely, from a high office window. Seinfeld, Cheers, and Roots became the stuff of television legend, attracting figures in the States between 76-100million but failing to challenge M*A*S*H’s record of 125million viewers and an astonishing 77% share of the overall audience. Traditionally tightlipped when it comes to any “Mad Men” twist, Weiner was understandably sketchy when addressing the series’ 92nd-and-last hour recently. “Hopefully, it’s dramatic and appropriate,” he said, but added, “It’s not very high-concept.

Nowadays the advent of Twitter and other social media means that the manner in which a series concludes is a matter of intense debate and analysis among the public as much as the press. Don and Joan declare their love for each other; Peggy engineers a hostile takeover of McCann Erickson; Roger and Shirley start their own firm, in which they do nothing but banter; Pete and Trudy land their own talk show; and Sal comes back, as a wildly successful Broadway director who stages the hit play Sally writes about her childhood. Don’t let us down, Weiner! 2015 Billboard Music Awards (8 p.m., ABC) – The live show from Las Vegas is hosted by Ludacris and Chrissy Teigen, with scheduled performers including Wiz Khalifa, Hozier and others. Joan (Christina Hendricks) has financial security, a burgeoning relationship with Richard Burghoff (Bruce Greenwood) and she doesn’t have to deal with horrible Ferg Donnelly anymore.

Even The Sopranos’ most fervent fans are still arguing about the significance of the ending and whether it was a disappointment while The Wire irreparably damaged its legacy with a weak goodbye. There’s just one problem: Burger Chef, which had over 1,000 restaurants by the early 1970s, when the final episodes of “Mad Men” were set, was eventually consumed by Hardee’s and ceased operating as Burger Chef in 1996. Roger’s (John Slattery) off to the geriatric wing, also known as floor 26 of McCann-Erickson, and is making a go of it with Marie Calvet (Julia Ormond). This is not ‘Lost': I didn’t have a big mystery to solve.” Even so, there are many questions in the viewer’s mind about the fate of beloved figures played by such cast members as John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss and January Jones.

Analyzing 600,000 websites, Amobee Brand Intelligence found that the top 10 most recognizable brands were Burger Chef, followed by IBM IBM, -0.45% , McCann Erickson, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), Trudy (Alison Brie) and Tammy are about to become the Royal Family of Wichita, thanks to Duck Philips (Mark Moses), of all people.

Mad Men is not like The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, or Breaking Bad – a series with an anti-hero whose criminal lifestyle meant it was inevitable it would end in his death, as an almost obligatory moral stance. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9:30 p.m., Fox) – Season 2 ends with Jake and Amy going undercover to catch an identity thief, and the precinct saying an unexpected goodbye. Television czar Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) is still a sleaze, but is incredibly important to McCann and once again is working with a staff of humans rather than the giant Borg-like computer that got its own room at SC&P.

Although Banana Republic was founded in 1978, after the show’s timeline, “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant and Banana Republic released a clothing line inspired by the show. “Hershey is a big winner,” says Robert Tuchman, president of New York–based entertainment and sporting-events firm Goviva. “It reinforced the brand’s iconic stature and good feeling about the product associated with childhood memories.” Lucky Strike, owned by British American Tobacco PLC BTI, -0.27% , was featured throughout the series. But there are still some folks we just can’t get out of our minds, even if their story lines have technically been wrapped and there are others whose fates we fear will be lost in a sea of ambiguity. Since the SC&P stalwarts went to the ‘advertising heaven’ of McCann Erickson in this season, Roger Sterling, Peggy Olsen, and Joan Harris have been put through the wringer – and their rather negative futures allocated.

Even though cigarette companies are no longer allowed to officially advertise on American television, Don Draper creates a fictional advertising campaign, “It’s Toasted,” for Lucky Strike at a time when studies showed smoking caused cancer. “This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal,” Draper says. Call the Midwife (8 p.m., UNC-TV) – Season 4 ends with Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia supporting a deaf mother-to-be, while a case of morning sickness is more dangerous that suspected. The actual concrete version came to me about three or four years ago, and that’s exactly how we filmed it.” “Matt and I have had a lot of conversations about where the show was going,” Hamm recalled recently. “At some point many, many years ago, he mentioned this idea for its ending, and I said to him, ‘That’s a good idea.’ I also said, ‘How are you gonna get there? A real-life “It’s Toasted” Lucky Strike campaign actually ran 40 years earlier than the fictional campaign on “Mad Men.” But Draper’s campaign proved portentous for his glamorous ex-wife Betty, who discovers that she is dying of lung cancer in the penultimate episode and, Amobee found, has also helped raise cancer awareness.

Remember that weird slate of episodes where Matt Weiner tried to develop Dawn’s character by having her go out after work and talk about men with one of her girlfriends? Bad publicity isn’t always a bad thing, says Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Lucky Strike is not a huge brand compared to other cigarette brands,” he says. “Nobody wants to die from cancer,” he allows, but more smokers will now at least be aware of the brand. (British American Tobacco didn’t reply to a request for comment.) There are occasions when negative publicity can increase sales, particularly bad reviews of works by little-known authors, a 2010 study co-authored by Berger found. It was an awkward departure, though really, you could argue that Dawn’s entire relationship with SC&P has been a series of stiff, awkward encounters, like the time Joan tried to hug her when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Simpson famously said he never wore “ugly ass” Bruno Magli shoes during the 1990s murder trial of his ex-wife and her friend, sales of that brand spiked.

Still, she proved to be a more than capable secretary and earned a promotion to office manager so that Joan could actually perform the duties of an executive. We know what happened to Shirley, who bounced to take a job at an insurance agency after diplomatically informing Roger that she didn’t find advertising welcoming, but what happened to Dawn?

Not long afterwards though, Don had stood up in the middle of a meeting and walked out of McCann, hitting the road and driving for seven hours until he hallucinated that Bert Cooper was in the passenger seat. In last week’s installment Pete was flying off into the sunset (literally) with a new job at Learjet. ‘Wichita’s beautiful and wholesome!’ he promised wife Trudy, with an evangelical enthusiasm that could only bode badly. Finally, Don had suffered a vision of his dead lover Rachel Menken cooing: ‘I’m supposed to tell you that you missed your flight’ – a cryptic message but one that suggested Don might have avoided dying in a plane crash. The title of Mad Men’s penultimate episode, The Milk and Honey Route, could be construed as an allusion to God telling Moses to take the Israelites to the ‘land of milk and honey.’ The way Biblical references have started appearing in recent episodes has been startling – the motel owner recommending ‘high school football on Fridays and revival church every day’ or the hitchhiker going to St.Paul. (Paul was the disciple who had, like Don, originally had a different name, and was converted on the road to Damascus.) Instead Don has been living the life – or the fantasy – of one of his favourite books, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. The previous episode ‘Lost Horizon’ had ended with David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and been interpreted positively – as heralding Don’s escape, and break for freedom from his miserable, empty, existence in advertising. ‘This is Ground Control to Major Tom/You’ve really made the grade/And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear/Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare.’ ‘Space Oddity’ ends with the astronaut sighing: ‘Here am I floating round my tin can/Far above the Moon/Planet Earth is blue/And there’s nothing I can do…’ Having grown up as a farmer’s boy Dick Whitman on a farm in Illinois and then a brothel in Pennsylvania before appropriating the identity of a lieutenant Donald Draper killed next to him in Korea, Don now appears to be going back full circle.

He has gone back to the Mid West and two weeks ago, he fleetingly gave up his identity again – passing himself off as ‘Bill Phillips’ from Miller beer. The last we saw of Stephanie was when she was hugely pregnant and homeless, and Megan wrote her a cheque hoping to make her disappear before Don arrived in California for a visit. One of the things in the envelope from his old apartment that Meredith handed Don was Anna’s ring — the one Stephanie gave him, which he eventually gave to Megan. Heck, we’ve witnessed four different Bobbies — in truth, did anyone really notice? — but we’re approaching a situation where their mother will soon be dead and their sister will be shipping off to college.

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