Mad Men. Happy Woman.
Confession time: I gave up on Mad Men a few seasons ago. I stopped watching. But when AMC started the series marathon, I started watching again. I remembered what I once enjoyed; I quickly re-entered the world; I delighted in the growth of the characters (and their hair--Pete Campbell, I'm looking at you).
I didn't realize until Friday night (a few episodes into my marathon) that this series finale was an event I wouldn't miss. Part of it was the debt I felt I owed the show--Don Draper's Kodak Carousel presentation reminded me why I became a creative. Peggy offered female solidarity in copywriting. January Jones channeled my grandmother--nails, cigarettes and all. I hoped the finale would do it justice.
I hoped, but I doubted.
In all honesty, I doubted up until the last minute. When Don Draper sat cross-legged to chant "Om," I wasn't buying it. But when Don Draper smiled, my hopes rose. And when the Coke commercial played? And I saw the red ribboned braids previously spotted in the commune? I sobbed. Literally sobbed on the sofa, as my husband and dog looked on, (equally) concerned.
All I could choke out was "Genius." Then, "Genius." Followed by, "That was genius." And, pacing back and forth in the living room, "Genius. Genius. Genius."
One night later, I feel the same: admiration, gratitude, surprise, delight and a touch of envy. It was more than the perfect, seamless integration of yet another classic spot. It was Don Draper coming to the only conclusion that could ring true. He "realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man." (John Hamm)
Having Mad Men withdrawal? Enjoy these fantastic articles and two great videos:
Recap of the final episode of Mad Men, Person to Person: Mad Men Series Finale Review: It's the Real Thing (Pajiba)
John Hamm's take on the final episode and his character, Don Draper: John Hamm Talks About the Mad Men Series Finale (NY Times)
Wonder who really wrote the Coke spot? Here's Bill Backer's story: Behind a '71 Coke Jingle, A Man Who Wasn't Mad (NY Times)