Shifting From ‘Mad Men’ to Strong Women in a Series Finale

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

January Jones brings out the retro glamour as she joins Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss at Farewell To Mad Men event.

“Mad Men” officially came to a close last night in fitting fashion: with an advertisement. This AMC series closed down on Sunday with a 1971 ad that featured blissed-out young people of all races in a sun-dappled field singing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” And the ad was Don Draper’s idea.Sunday night’s finale of Mad Men ended with Don Draper meditating on a hillside, right before the 1971 “Hillside” Coca-Cola commercial plays, sparking debate about whether the fictional advertising maven had created the actual iconic ad.The exhibit is part of The Television Academy Presents a Farewell To Mad Men, an event that will commemorate the end of the series with panels and a live reading, according to Variety. The much-hyped swan song was preempted by the network, which suspended programming on its sister stations for the hour, with minute-by-minute promotions during commercial breaks (even a 30-second countdown before it aired) really giving it a sense of occasion, as well as emotional turmoil and anxiety. “Person to Person,” both written and directed by Matthew Weiner, was subject to much speculation before last night.

In reality, the commercial was brewed up by Bill Backer, the creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann-Erickson advertising agency at the time. He’s now a guy who’s happy in a commune doing yoga on the ground and crying with other grown men, which made a weird amount of sense for a guy who’s lived such a guilt-filled life. He tried to make some amends in a way as he tried to get Betty to allow him to come back to be with the kids when she died, but she refused his help, saying that everything needed to stay as normal as possible. If you’re staring down a week of “Mad Men” withdrawal and thirsting for more from your favorite actors, here’s a guide to all their next moves.

So many anti-establishment anthems – including songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and the Doors — have been co-opted to sell cars, sneakers and computers. But bad weather forced his plane to land in Shannon, Ireland, instead, and Backer noticed how many of the initially irate passengers on his flight seemed to calm down and relax after chatting over food and Cokes in the airport cafe. Her blonde locks were styled in old-school Hollywood curls which framed her pretty features and she posed beside her on-screen ex-husband, Jon Hamm [Don Draper], who wore a suit. ‘It’s sort of like when you final get over a breakup, and then they come back and they want to go out on a date again, and you’re like: Wait a minute – I got over you!’ Christina told the magazine when asked about how it felt to watch Mad Men end months after she shot her final scene. In that moment [I] saw a bottle of Coke in a whole new light… [I] began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink that refreshed a hundred million people a day in almost every corner of the globe. The five-time Emmy nominee was not sure that she had really said goodbye to her fan-favourite character of Joan, a formidable secretary far too good for her assigned roles in life.

Matthew Weiner, the series creator, addressed his thoughts on how he would conclude the storylines of his characters in an interview with the New York Times. ‘I hate to say it: I don’t really feel like I owe anybody anything. She may have stormed off after a group therapy session went wrong, but Don seems to have found his place there, and ended the episode meditating in khakis. They were actually a subtle way of saying, ‘Let’s keep each other company for a little while.’ And [I] knew they were being said all over the world as [I] sat there in Ireland.

Moss recently starred in the Broadway play “Heidi Chronicles,” and has wrapped four movies that will come out in the next two years: “Queen of Earth,” “Meadowland,” “High-Rise,” and “Truth.” It’s this last one that looks to be the most intriguing, as it’s the story about Dan Rather’s final days as a new anchor at CBS. He ended pretty much where we first saw him in the series, eliciting ideas for a Lucky Strike pitch from a waiter and scribbling thoughts on a cocktail napkin. After 92 episodes of conditioning, the storytelling so intertwined and nuanced, a simple, absolute end would have been a disservice to the show and its audience. Davis was initially doubtful, saying, “Well, if I could do something for everybody in the world, it would not be to buy them a Coke.” Instead, Davis prioritized giving people a home and sharing peace and love.

This episode was full of the most brilliant dialogue, everything that’s made these “unlikeable” characters likeable, compacted into one-liners and exchanges that remind us why we’ve been hanging on their every word for seven seasons. The abrupt finale of “The Sopranos” was inconclusive, though one thing that was clear was that Tony Soprano, the mobster who was given to inexplicable panic attacks, ended his run with good reason to be afraid. After learning he has incurable cancer in Season 1 of “Breaking Bad,” Walter White becomes a meth dealer to provide for his family after his death; in the last episode, Walter dies, but not before cleaning up the chaos and leaving some money for his wife and children.

He’ll star in the psychological thriller “The Blunderer” alongside Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel, which is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1954 novel. Every color, design detail and camera movement was carefully chosen; the smallest objects (a miniature Statue of Liberty) and the loftiest shots (a jet streaking across the Manhattan skyline) had hidden meaning. Yet the ad’s shoot—which first took place in Dover, England, then in Italy—was marred by bad weather numerous times and production costs eventually hit $250,000. But overall, it seems like Kartheiser is taking a very anti-Pete approach to the future. “I have no prospects right now,” he told HitFix in April. “I’m not signed on to do anything else.

Music mattered maybe most of all. “The Sopranos” cut to black with the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin,’ ” and “Breaking Bad” left off to “Baby Blue,” by the British rock band Badfinger. “Mad Men” could be expected to choose something as arch or achingly apt. I read the script and if I like it I try to find something that I can add to telling of the story, something that makes my perspective and my performance valuable and important and if I can come up with that then I’ll work and if not then I’ll be a janitor.” Betty Francis’s sad, cancerous fate was one of the more shocking moments of the last “Mad Men” episodes.

But for those saddened by the prospect of leaving Betty behind, cheer up – Jones will continue her role on Fox’s Will Forte-led show “Last Man on Earth,” which was recently renewed for a second season. She tells him Betty had sworn her to secrecy, and that Gene and Bobby are to live with their uncle, but she’d prefer if they stayed with Henry. “They should at least be in the same bed and at the same school,” she tells her father. The Hillside ad certainly had a big impact on Backer’s career: it was considered one of his highlights and he was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1995. A thriller with Charlize Theron called “Dark Places” comes out this summer, and she recently shot Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming movie “Neon Demons,” alongside Keanu Reeves.

Don came back to earth, but he didn’t appear to have the will to go home and reclaim his three children even after learning that their mother, Betty, was dying of lung cancer. Don arrives at Stephanie’s doorstep with Anna Draper’s wedding ring in an envelope, looking for a shower, and like, absolution, or something like that. Even Pete, reunited with Trudy in a chic fur hat, had a dash of Don Draper’s early glamour as the couple boarded a Learjet, with their daughter, Tammy.

But the more satisfying endings let the women fall in love with their work. “Mad Men” wittily chronicled the last days of WASP ascendancy, but the women’s struggle to get out of the steno pool was the series’ essence. Last year, he unveiled his directorial debut “God’s Pocket” (which starred “Mad Men” co-star Hendricks) and this summer, he’ll be in “Ant-Man” and has a cameo in Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: The First Day of Camp,” alongside his Sterling-Cooper pals Hamm and Rich Sommer.

According to Pare’s reps, she has nothing lined up at the moment – but in a 2013 interview with Esquire (with this author), she did mention a new musical project involving Alex Lifeson from Rush and Pare’s partner, John Kastner. Even Betty, who was fulfilling her dream of going back to college (homework assignments included reading Freud on hysteria), was knocked back by cancer. He’s described as a “personal board game evangelist” and says his goal is to “bring gaming to the masses.” But this is just a side project; acting is still his first priority.

A new era is at hand, and fittingly, “Mad Men” ends with the dawn of the strong women who get to work and the sensitive men who get in touch with their feelings. You see, Joan is still seeing her sunny California playboy, Richard, who has whisked her off to Palm Beach (with cocaine!), where he tells her “Your life is like undeveloped property.” There are some talks of marriage, but the wheels in Joan’s head are already turning, in another direction. He’s recently booked a role on Showtime’s gritty drama “Ray Donovan.” “This is the first time I’ve worked on a show where I’m coming on as a fan,” he told Speakeasy in March. Ted Chaough made his mark in “Mad Men” by having great taste in women, as he became obsessed with Peggy at one point, and in these last several episodes, an epic mustache.

Rahm currently has nothing on the books, but appeared earlier this year on “Madam Secretary” and “Bates Motel.” Could there be another “Mad Men”? And this time, she has another obligation that may shift him from the center of her universe, and he can’t deal. “I just can’t turn off that part of myself,” Joan says.

But he’s called to “say goodbye” and collapses on the floor of the phone booth, the sweaty, shaky uncomfortable Don we’ve grown wary of in these past seven seasons. Don, who did not throw himself off a cliff overlooking the ocean, has returned to a share circle where a plainclothes square like himself is telling the group just how lost he feels. You spend your whole life thinking you’re not getting it, people aren’t giving it to you, then you realize they’re trying and you don’t know even know it is. I had a dream that I was on a shelf, in a the refrigerator, and someone closes the door and the light goes off and I know everybody’s out there eating.

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