Mad Men’s Hamm wants Sally Draper spin-off

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Mad Men’ finale mostly satisfying.

Seconds before “The Sopranos” ended in 2007, Tony Soprano heard a bell ring — the opening of the diner door — and looked up before the show cut to black. Now that everyone’s had time to digest last night’s “Mad Men” finale, we’ve moved into the stage of grief known as Obsessively Nitpicking Over What Happened to Don, Even Though That’s Not The Point.The series finale of the acclaimed AMC drama “Mad Men” ended with Don Draper meditating at a hillside spiritual retreat in California, a hint of a smile on his lips.“Mad Men” diehards gathered in bars, restaurants and comedy clubs across New York on Sunday to discover the fate of Don Draper et al. as the curtain came down on the award-winning retro-cool television series.There was a little controversy today among those who like to debate these things about what, exactly, was going through Don Draper’s mind in the final seconds of AMC’s Mad Men.

In a clever final twist, which series creator Matthew Weiner delivered as a kind of gigantic wink, we were left believing that all of Don Draper’s angst, all of the suicidal frustration and existential grief that had caused him to leave McCann Erickson and drive aimlessly across the country, ultimately led him to create one of the great ads of the time: the Coca-Cola hilltop commercial of 1971. You gave us so much grist for discussion and debate over the years—about identity, family and home, about race and gender and sexuality, about a nation losing its innocence, and people raising their consciousness. The final episode ended with Coke’s famous “Hilltop ad,” in which a gathering of young people sing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” on the Italian hills. Twitter threatened to go into meltdown, with #MadMenFinale trending, while there were tears and cheers at City Winery in the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, where more than 100 people settled down with wine and pizza in front of giant television screens. “We wanted to watch it somewhere.

But what I loved most was your thoughtful commentary on the American workplace, which you authentically portrayed as both a center of scintillating drama and a microcosm of the characters’ daily lives. As the ad ran, you could almost hear Don pitching the idea to Coke in his seductive Don voice, using the philosophy of self-help, the peace movement, and civil rights in service of selling soda as the solution to despair.

Why we work, where we work, how we work—these questions were just as relevant to Don and Roger and Peggy and Joan as they are to us today, and no doubt would have been all the more confusing in Don Draper’s era, at what was essentially the dawn of America’s service-led economy. The one-time McCann creative director, who was born in 1926, says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the show aired and finds all the attention “flattering.” In a conversation with CMO Today, the 88-year-old addressed why he stopped watching Mad Men, whether he was as successful romantically as Don Draper, and what to make of data’s role in the ad business. We see him in an incredibly vulnerable place, surrounded by strangers, and he reaches out to the only person he can at that moment, and it’s this stranger. Was that less of a grin and more of an exploitative smirk as Don realized he could turn the optimism of his fellow Esalen attendees into a world-famous jingle? Backer witnessed these irate passengers later in the journey, calmer and bonding over bottles of Coke.) So the big question viewers and the millions who debated the ending around watercoolers Monday morning were left with was, did Don Draper return to McCann and create that commercial? (Peggy even mentioned in a phone call that Don could come home and work on Coke.) Or did he stay in California and become further enlightened?

In the lead-up to the feverishly anticipated finale, US mainstream and social media had been awash with speculation about the denouement of the stylish series, which has won 15 Emmy awards and four Golden Globes over the years. Mad Men was was at its madcap best when it showed Sterling Cooper (as it was called at the start of the series) getting bought, sold, reshaped, or resurrected.

Was the serially seductive Draper going to throw himself or be pushed from a skyscraper, echoing the title credit sequence featuring a cut-out version of a man falling between huge adverts featuring beautiful women? When we find Don in that place, and this stranger relates this story of not being heard or seen or understood or appreciated, the resonance for Don was total in that moment. In the end, even though he was the lead character, Don Draper turned out to be the least interesting of the main characters in the “Mad Men” series finale, which gave viewers more reason to care about the other characters in their signature finale moments.

Perhaps the best example of this was in the finale to season three, when some crafty maneuvering at the eleventh hour gave us the birth of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Coming almost at the midpoint of the series, the agency reboot yielded new environs and new responsibilities for many of the show’s best characters.

In January 1971, Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann Erickson agency, observed passengers in an airport sharing bottles of Coca-Cola. “That was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be — a liquid refresher — but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples,” Backer later wrote. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, ‘Wow, that’s awful.’ But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led. Although “Mad Men” has had Pittsburgh connections from early in its run — from the Heinz account to creator Matthew Weiner’s affection for Pittsburgh to writer and Shadyside native Tom Smuts to Pittsburgh-born actress Alexandra Elena Todd, who played the pregnant woman who bought Don Draper’s Manhattan apartment a few weeks ago — there was no Pittsburgh reference I could find in the series finale. And then a few seasons later, there was another transformative deal, one that led to an entire episode mainly devoted to the challenges of merger integration—and it was riveting! All the emphasis in “Person to Person,” which we now know was about all of Don’s collect calls back east (and a pivotal Peggy-Stan phone call, too), was on setting up the characters for their goodbyes.

He understood what both Sally and Betty —his “Birdie” — had told him, that he was not the right person to be a full-time parent to his own children. You see the slow degeneration of his relationships with those women over the course of those phone calls.” Hamm did not agree with those fans who felt that the show wrapped up its characters’ arcs too cleanly and sweetly. “There’s people saying, oh, it’s so pat, and it’s rom-com-y, or whatever it is. But he also remained the dazzlingly talented man we’ve known for seven seasons, the guy who could remake himself from nothing, who drinks too much but still looks dapper. The pitch work by Don and Peggy Olson et. al. made for compelling television—in part because it forced us to think about how Americans, all these decades later, get turned on by the same ideas (and in some cases the very same brands) that spoke to our parents and grandparents. “She died like she lived: surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” How many of Roger Sterling’s best lines, like this gem about the dearly departed secretary Ida Blankenship, were delivered in, or inspired by, life at the office?

She got the first of two collect calls from Don — to, arguably, the two most important women in his life, Betty and Peggy — and while Don wanted to drop everything and be there, Betty said she wanted the status quo in as cutting but honest a way as possible. The 60s were very dramatic times – assassinations, Vietnam, civil disorder.” Twitter users flooded the social media network to express their feelings about the ending – with many describing it as “beautiful,” “earnest” and even “perfect.” One user, @sanriel, wrote: “A great hour of television.

Joan (Christina Hendricks) ended up without her California suitor, Richard (Bruce Greenwood), who wanted her to have fun (like trying cocaine on vacation!), not be ambitious. He couldn’t escape it even when he wanted to — remember last week when the motel owner was begging Don to repair his old Coca-Cola vending machine because he didn’t want the new one? Peggy, the character I’d always assumed would have to sacrifice love for work, found love — and it looked like a long-term thing — with the teddy bear known as Stan. 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.

Joan started her own production company, initially trying to woo Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), who ultimately decided to stay at McCann, to join her in Harris Olson Productions (“You’ve got to have two names,” Joan said). If Joan got bored with living as a woman of leisure, Don probably isn’t going to make it through the rest of his life meditating, especially when he doesn’t have anyone keeping him in California since Stephanie took off with his car. It was Doris Day-Rock Hudson cute, and it was poignant; they couldn’t say they loved each other face to face, even though they were in the same offices. Ultimately Joan went into business on her own — employing her babysitter as an assistant — and used her two last names for Holloway-Harris Productions.

And if the show is, as it always has been, about how people don’t really change — except in small ways that they end up fighting anyway — then sure, it makes sense that Don would eventually return to New York. And on Mad Men, two of the most realistic dynamics of all were Don’s relationship with Peggy, and—up until the season finale anyway—Peggy’s relationship with Stan. She has a “gift” when it comes to advertising, as Stan said, and the clear parting impression was that she would continue to ascend professionally. Leave it to Peggy to figure out that it’s a lot easier to succeed at the office when you have a brilliant, if fallible, mentor who will steer you through the big decisions, as well as a work spouse who will get you through the daily grind.

With “The Sopranos,” creator David Chase chose to go his own way with an ambiguous ending (did Tony Soprano live or die?) that infuriated many viewers. “Lost” raised too many questions it didn’t answer, and when a revelation came, it proved unsatisfying for many who had stuck with the show. She doesn’t have much time left, but damn if she’s not going to spend it the way she wants to spend it.” Hamm also shared his thoughts on the way that Peggy’s and Joan’s stories ended, which can be read in the full interview at The New York Times. Peggy and Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) had a nice farewell moment before he boarded a Learjet to his new job in Wichita and a reunion with ex-wife Trudy (Alison Brie) still seeming like it will take. (And miracle of miracles, no plane crash!) Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) got the bum’s rush, but that character deserved nothing more. Of all the things we really dread, the top one has to be Sally missing out on her life because she becomes a mother to her two younger brothers after Betty dies.

I felt a great sense of pleasure at seeing Sally, once so bratty, and later angry and “scandalized,” as Don put it, acting more mature than the adults around her.

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