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Darrel Manson
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I think there's serious ambiguity about the final moments of the show, so I'm not sure Don's arc is clear.

 

Really? I think it's obvious

he has the perfect Coke ad epiphany during the meditation scene, returns to McCann (where Coke was going to be his big project) and pitches the idea to get back in their good graces, and resumes life as an ad man. Whether the "harmony" extends to his family life is up in the air, but the job stuff isn't.

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I think there's serious ambiguity about the final moments of the show, so I'm not sure Don's arc is clear.

 

Really? I think it's obvious

he has the perfect Coke ad epiphany during the meditation scene, returns to McCann (where Coke was going to be his big project) and pitches the idea to get back in their good graces, and resumes life as an ad man. Whether the "harmony" extends to his family life is up in the air, but the job stuff isn't.

I don't agree.

I don't think Don came up with the ad at all. I think Peggy came up with the ad, shortly after talking with Don, and then falling in love with Stan. The episode shows her completing a draft, and Stan looking on in approval.

As I see it, Peggy's transformation into Don has been made complete, albeit with Peggy's humanity intact.

Edited by Nick Alexander

Nick Alexander

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Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I think there's serious ambiguity about the final moments of the show, so I'm not sure Don's arc is clear.

Really? I think it's obvious

he has the perfect Coke ad epiphany during the meditation scene, returns to McCann (where Coke was going to be his big project) and pitches the idea to get back in their good graces, and resumes life as an ad man. Whether the "harmony" extends to his family life is up in the air, but the job stuff isn't.

It's possible. Don has translated personal epiphanies into ads many times before. But they leave a pretty big gap there, so there are different ways to read the transition.
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Vox writer Todd VanDerWerff predicted the show's ending on May 12, and he said Eileen Sutton first proposed the idea to him "a few weeks ago". That would be either coincident with John Drew's prediction or slightly before it, I assume.

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I need to watch the episode again, but right now I could go both ways on the ending. I'm actually torn between viewing that last bit as slyly ironic or savagely so--though I find this: 

 



I don't think Don came up with the ad at all. I think Peggy came up with the ad, shortly after talking with Don, and then falling in love with Stan. The episode shows her completing a draft, and Stan looking on in approval.



As I see it, Peggy's transformation into Don has been made complete, albeit with Peggy's humanity intact.

 

 

very compelling. At the same time, one of the commenters at The AV Club makes the equally-compelling point that the title sequence has always emphasized that Don's trip is cyclical--escape and then return--and that matches up with some work a friend of mine is doing in similar kinds of stories

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The more I consider it, the more the finale feels clunky and schematic (and not just for Don; the Stan/Peggy stuff was badly written).

I think Weiner had the series' ending in mind so long that it felt inevitable to him, but with all the other threads he had to juggle, he wasn't sure how to get there. And so he got lost a bit.

I'd have liked to see the season rearranged. Have Don's bottoming out occur after he's on leave from SC, put the series finale's "epiphany" at the season seven midpoint prior to the hiatus, then show us how he tries to create a new life for himself in the latter half of season seven.

As it stands, the fade to the Coke ad actually skips over the most interesting part of Don's arc, since we don't get to see what the "new Don" looks like at all.

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I think it's pretty clearly meant to be that Don goes back to McCann and does the ad. One piece of evidence in favour, this:
 
https://twitter.com/DavidClinchNews/status/600141336067473408

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Again, not necessarily. The two could be the same person, and that person could have responded to an open casting call that McCann set up to a community that appealed to that demographic.

Edited by Nick Alexander

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Again, not necessarily. The two could be the same person, and that person could have responded to an open casting call that McCann set up to a community that appealed to that demographic.

That's a reach.

I to agree that the cleanest and clearest reading is that Don produced the ad. I'm just open to other readings because that interpretation sits uneasily with what we saw from Don this season.

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That's a reach.

Not to me. Eight months (between Don's last scene and the premiere of the ad) is a long time.

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By contrast, the show only has Peggy completing an ad proposal, with Stan nodding in approval.

Yeah, but she could be working on Joan's project (even if she declined the partnership), or just doing her job.

Perhaps. Or perhaps she was writing a letter to all retreat centers in California, looking for Don to thank him, and then when she visits him in those ensuing months, finds the girl and hires her on the spot.

Bottom line, it is as much a theme in the series of Peggy growing into Don, as Don finding redemption. If the final visible moments of Don have him "Om"ing about, and we do not see him returning to the firm or being rehired, then it is equally a stretch to assume that he did.

Or, he could have phoned Peggy a second time, in his bliss of his new surroundings, telling her where he is at, she could tell him his idea, and he could have told the patrons there to have first dibs on the commercial.

I'm not convinced, you are. There has to be a lot more there than the single image.

ETA: One thing I *do* know. You cannot teach the world to sing by buying them a Coke. That is false advertising. That would NEVER work in the real world.

Edited by Nick Alexander

Nick Alexander

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Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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The New York Times:

 

“Mad Men” ended with a joke, and it was on us. Coca-Cola actually was the real thing.

 

[snip]

 

For seven seasons, Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator, slyly played the past against the present, so it was fitting that he did so one last time. 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. Flower Power protest, experimentation and consciousness-raising didn’t amount to much: In the end, all they wrought was a new way to sell products.
 
And all of Don’s affairs, lies and roaming escapes amounted to little more than a new way to make ads. The opening sequence of a man in a suit tumbling out of a window and then bouncing back into his armchair held up. Don fell for a self-actualization group, then recovered. 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.

 

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Second viewing, and I'm having a hard time dismissing the constant references to Don working on Coke. I don't think that's misdirection; I think it's part of the consistent foreshadowing of the past half-season, at least. So even though I like the idea that Peggy winds up Coke ad, I'm more and more leaning towards the idea that either [a] Don does, or someone enough like Don that it doesn't really matter does. Now this is either really cynical or not. Jon Hamm, for one, doesn't see it as cynical:

 

Quote
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. There was a void staring at him. 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.
 
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. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. 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. 

 

I'm actually more inclined to a slightly more cynical reading, actually, for a couple of reasons. One is the above-mentioned circularity of the title sequence. Another is the way that the show itself has repeatedly cycled through a pattern of escape-and-return, and the cynical reading seems consistent with what's gone before. It's also a perfect knife to the kidneys from a show that's vacillated at times between satire and fetishization of the world depicted. 

 

Of course, the middle-ground here is that the ending is cynical, but it doesn't matter because for one moment, at least--in the moment of inspiration, of creation--Don is at peace. The other "endings" offered here are similarly tentative--I doubt very much that Pete can manage not to screw up his new life with Trudy, and I have at least some reservations about Sterling's ability to stay settled as well. Perhaps that's all these characters get--little moments of hope and peace to which they can cling; brief flashes of happiness. And perhaps, in the end, that's ok. [And, in the end, perhaps that's why the show doesn't offer a Grand Statement at the end--because a Grand Statement would miss the point entirely]

 

1. Anyone notice the reference to The Lonely Crowd?

 

2. contra Ryan, I actually really loved the Peggy-Stan stuff. Particularly the 'phone conversation, which was spectacularly acted on both sides. [And I really don't understand how someone could not see it coming; I've been expecting them to wind up together for, oh, a couple of seasons now]

 

3. Joan is, as always, fantastic.

 

4. I had hoped, when the issue of filming a promotional thing came up, that Sal would make a reappearance. Unfortunately, he didn't, which is too bad since he was one of my favorite characters in the first three seasons. Hey--spinoff idea? Better Call Sal?

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Behind a ’71 Coke Jingle, a Man Who Wasn’t Mad

 

Bill Backer lives on a farm in Virginia. He raises horses and cattle. When the weather gets cold, he and his wife of more than 30 years head to their small beach house in Florida, where they walk in the sun.
 
He does not spend much time watching TV, and on Sunday night, when so many were tuning in to the series finale of “Mad Men,” Mr. Backer simply ignored it. He gave up on the acclaimed show during its second season.
 
“I certainly don’t watch shows that center around people that I have a hard time identifying with,” he said in a phone interview Monday.
 
So imagine Mr. Backer’s surprise when he learned of his supporting role in the final moments of an episode that had TV viewers and online commentators buzzing. Like Don Draper, Mr. Backer was an adman. And in 1971, Mr. Backer came up with the jingle “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” for the iconic commercial that appeared at the end of the “Mad Men” finale.
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Vox writer Todd VanDerWerff predicted the show's ending on May 12, and he said Eileen Sutton first proposed the idea to him "a few weeks ago". That would be either coincident with John Drew's prediction or slightly before it, I assume.

 

They're both a couple of Johnny come lately's.  I beat them by over a month...  ;)

 

 

So I was trying to pinpoint where in time this episode picks up.  Knew it was definitely a few months after the New York release of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Sept. of 1969) with Ted and Roger sporting Robert Redford's mustache and sideburns, but I was able to find the Nixon address to the nation on Vietnam that is playing in the background at one point.  That speech was given on April 30th, 1970. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDSsDBieVGE

 

I'd love to see the show make it into 1971, and the premiere of Coke's "Hilltop" ad, which I'd say was the new milestone for advertising at the time.  It'd be great to see Don's reaction to that spot, and whether it triggers a renewed passion for advertising, or perhaps the realization that his best days in the field are behind him.

 

 

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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I am a bit disappointed by Weiner here, in that something cynical in me wonders if structuring the ending this way constructs an ambiguity that just makes for good press. Something about this is sitting wrong with me.

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