Friday, May 8, 2015

It's The Real Thing (Television Thoughts: Mad Men Series Finale, Person To Person)

Mad Men's series finale starts with a mini montage of scenes from the series set to Paul Anka singing 'Times Of Your Life,"  and I always tear up whenever I hear that song anyway (I know... ) but it gave the episode a little more texture. What was I expecting for the series finale? Honestly, I was expecting something artsy, as only Matthew Weiner could deliver. And as the episode started to wrap up its characters, I thought I was wrong. Characters were rounding up their story lines pretty conventionally - Pete gets a fantastic job in Kansas and moves there with Trudy and his daughter, Roger ending up with Megan's mother (finally, someone his own age) and Joan starting her film production business. Most of it seemed to be crowd-pleasers, with the biggest one - Peggy finding love and success with Stan - kind of bland and boring. I thought, well, this is nice, but this isn't what Mad Men stood for the entire time. Until we get to Don storyline - which has really been bizarre for the past couple of episodes. He leaves New York, and McCann Erickson, to drive cross country and now he ends up in California at some type of commune. As we get to the end of the series, we see him backlit by a sunset, and then doing a yoga pose with fellow hippis. Until Weiner slams us with that iconic Coke commercial from the 70s, "I'd like to teach the world to sing," and with Don's last smile to the camera, I found myself laughing: what a great wink to the audience. After all of what Don has gone through, he ends up delivering the commercial that best describes that decade. It is brilliant - and exactly how I envisioned this series to end. I'll miss this terribly, there has been nothing like it.

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