‘Mad Men’ sets finale ratings record

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jon Hamm opens up about Don Draper’s final moments in ‘Mad Men’.

In an interview with The New York Times, Hamm revealed what he thought about the final scene of “Mad Men,” which found Draper having a blissful moment on a grassy California hillside and ended with a famous 1971 Coke ad.

Hamm revealed the ending “was a little bit ambiguous,” but suggested there was some truth to the idea that Don’s apparent lightbulb moment — punctuated by a little “ding” — was the idea for the “Buy the World a Coke” spot clicking into place. Sunday’s total audience fell below only that of “Mad Men’s” Season 5 premiere (3.5 million viewers) in 2012 and Season 6 premiere (3.4 million viewers) in 2013. “Mad Men” ended with its existentially-conflicted ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm) finding peace at a hippie retreat in California and going on to create an iconic 1971 Coca-Cola commercial. In Hamm’s mind, Draper’s peaceful revelation was sparked by his weepy embrace with another man at the retreat who confessed to feeling unloved and emotionally isolated. “My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. Later in the interview, Hamm dismissed criticism that the finale tied things up a little too neatly, saying depictions of Stan and Peggy’s budding romance and Joan’s production company were not “the last moments of any of these character’s lives.” “There’s people saying, oh, it’s so pat, and it’s rom-com-y, or whatever it is.

Or perhaps this is just another of his cyclical renewals, a moment of bliss and success before gravity (and women, and alcohol, and his tendency to randomly pull the ripcord on his own life) drags him downward again. The world doesn’t blow up right after the Coke commercial ends,” Hamm said. “No one is suggesting that Stan and Peggy live happily ever after, or that Joan’s business is a rousing success, or that Roger and Marie come back from Paris together.

None of it is done. “Matt had said at one point, ‘I just want my characters to be a little more happy than they were in the beginning,’ and I think that’s pretty much true.” The fact that Don spends even a second out West after learning Betty’s news—that he accepts her conclusion about his familial uselessness, rather than challenging it—suggests no. And when Don offers his litany of sins, it feels odd that he lists making “nothing” of the Draper name up there with breaking his vows, scandalizing his child, and stealing a man’s identity.

But there have been several currents in the past few episodes that suggest abandoning your children is the one form of self-expression that Mad Men can’t condone. This flurry of emotional or actual reunions suggests to me that Don will soon be in a kitchen with Sally, somewhere, sharing a Coke with the girl who understands him best. He was moved not by the political promise of the era, but by the psychodynamics of an age when men and women put themselves, rather than their obligations, first. Hanna, John (and across the years, Michael, Patrick, Willa, Paul, and Seth): Thanks for convening here time and again to discuss what I think will stand as one of the greatest shows TV has ever produced. (It may be aided in this quest by being a period piece already; perhaps it will age better than some of the competition.) And thanks, too, to Slate’s commenters, a fascinating and insightful band of fellow close readers.

As we enter the final days of Sterling Cooper & Partners, Slate’s TV Club will celebrate the show’s retorts and rejoinders by highlighting a Mad Men Zinger of the Week for Slate Plus.

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