"Mad Men" on AMC (US) - (Spoilers Within)

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by DanielJones, Jul 6, 2007.


  1. Then why would you think an empty, unfinished telephone conversation would be enough to wrap up their character interaction?
     
  2. I thought that was one of the worst parts. Don has important relationships with main characters, yet you brought back this fringe character from years ago to waste all the screen time with him? We got 20 minutes of Don and Stephanie, yet 20 seconds of Don and Peggy, the most important relationship of the show?
     
  3. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Don's sitting there in the lotus position on that bluff overlooking the Pacific, aligning his vibrations with those of the universe, and then the cut to the (actual) Coca-Cola commercial from around that time ("I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony") was the writer's way of saying "it's all what you want to believe." Chanting "om," in and of itself, is no likelier to bring about peace and harmony than drinking Coca-Cola will. Advertising, as Don Draper would tell you, is all about establishing a mood. So is chanting a mantra. Or saying a prayer. Or immersing oneself in a good story.

    Many are the discussions chewing over whether the writers wished to leave viewers thinking it was Don (or Peggy, or?) who wrote the Coca-Cola commercial. The "point" of running the actual Coca-Cola commercial immediately after showing Don chanting "om" isn't dependent on who wrote the commercial. The point, I believe, is that it's all showbiz. Advertising, religion, popular entertainments, "self-improvement," whatever. Maybe it's not quite entirely about how it makes people feel, but that's certainly a big part of it. It would be a show without an audience if not for that appeal to emotion.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  4. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    It wasn't an empty conversation. As for finished or unfinished, that was what the Coke ad was for, just like when Don screamed at Peggy, "That's what the money is for!" back in season 5(?). We don't know if that was Don's creation, Don and Peggy's creation, or neither of their creation. It falls somewhere in-between a definite ending ala Six Feet Under or The Wire and the wholly ambiguous ending of The Sopranos. I very much appreciated that. Weiner spoon-fed us the ending for all the other characters, which I'm not sure I will always appreciate in the future, and I think it was a sharp move to not quite go so far with Don and Peggy.

    Stephanie wasn't a fringe character, just like Betty wasn't. She didn't have a great deal of screen time, but she was key to Don's life. Up until Stephanie basically told him to stop pretending he was family, he considered her family. Perception is 9/10s of the law (or something like that). Anna, and then Stephanie, gave Don that home base sort of comfort. It was maybe the one thing in his life that he considered before himself. That family was more important, and received more of his respect, than his actual families or his work family (Peggy). Stephanie was a truthbearer that Don needed to hear. She was important his story. Weiner and his writers are very efficient. Things are there for a reason. They're there for good reason.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  5. The cynicism of Don's smirk on the beach right before the commercial was the only thing they got right last night. Don comes full circle, but it's not back to being Dick Whitman, it's not back to some self discovery, and it's certainly not to some new-age feelings nonsense. Iit's back to what he said in the very first episode eight years ago: "The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons."

    If there's one thing Mad Men preached over and over and over again, it's that the world isn't that complicated. People are needy and greedy and as Don famously told ***** Roy in Season 1..."There is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent." By the same token, the show is not that complicated. There is no master plan, there is no redemption. There is no tomorrow. Which is why it's so disappointing that they left so many loose ends hanging.
     

  6. This was a character-driven show. Betty was useless after she and Don divorced. Stephanie was never useful. There is no such thing as "truth". That's been the theme of the show since Day 1.
     
  7. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Exactly, which only further lends to the utility of both Betty and Stephanie. Every character important and useful in telling Don's story...right until the end. No waste. Entirely efficient.

    I'm willing to accept that in a universal sense, but in the context of my use, in the context of relationships, there is indeed truth and clairvoyance. Peggy often dropped the truth on Don. She was his truthbearer at work. We can use a different word if you don't care for truth.

    But all this goes back to the fact that you and I, and like the others here who are giving insightful distillations, don't watch the show from the same perspective. We don't concentrate on the same things, thus our needs and desires are also different.
     
  8. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I don't know how scriptwriters approach these things. Did they know how the story would end back when it started? Beats me. But they had to have a whole lotta **** happen at once over the last couple of episodes.

    I didn't want it to end, but -- to be self-contradicting -- I'm glad it did. I don't know if the show was slipping a bit over the past couple of seasons, or if it was as good as it had been but that I had had my fill, or if my annoyance at AMC's splitting the final "season" over two years influenced my assessment of the show itself, but I sensed that it had about had its time. Sort of like it was good that Johnny Carson knew to step aside before people started openly questioning when he would finally hang it up.
     
  9. It's only useful if the character adds something through interaction with others. Neither Betty nor Stephanie added anything, in fact, they were a distraction. It was entirely wasted writing to include them the last few years, writing that could have been spent on interactions that were meaningful.

    It's not the word, it's this idea that there is some deeper meaning to anything in Don's life. That there was redepmtion. That any amount of "soul searching" could somehow make a difference. The point of the show was that there is not. That's the only reason the final scene works.
     
  10. I agree. There were too many storylines to end them all well. Reason number 1,546 why Betty should have been offed years ago.
     
  11. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Weiner had the ending figured out sometime between seasons 4 and 5. I believe that was when he thought he was going to finish the series in six seasons.

    Don's crutch was Anna. She died, and he replaced that with Stephanie, both out of responsibility to Anna and out of his own personal need to prolong that perceived foundation. That thing over there, that California unit, was his anchor. It was important to his story. He tightly held onto it, and unless Stephanie hadn't jogged him from that dream, he'd still be stuck there. Maybe he's still stuck. Maybe he didn't move an inch even with that forced epiphany (truth). Nevertheless, Stephanie said it. Said it clearly. They weren't family. Stop pretending they are. Whether he wanted to move on from that or not doesn't matter. After that was said, things were going to be different for him. I find that interesting. I find those type moments true to life. To me, that is good writing. That is good character development and good use of characters and relationships.
     
  12. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I don't know that the show's creators wished to leave us thinking that there is no meaning beyond our perceptions, but they certainly pounded home the lesson that, as a practical matter, things largely are as we perceive them to be. Like it or not, that's the way it is, so just be aware of it, people, and adjust your own perceptions of "reality" accordingly.

    Or, to paraphrase our leading man, if you don't like something, change the narrative.

    Cynical? Sure. But far from the least realistic take on the ways of the world.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  13. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    "If you don't like what is being said, then change the conversation." -Don Draper, and later used by Peggy in the Heinz campaign. Stephanie did just that when she snapped Don out of the illusion that they were family. Their conversation changed (ended), and Don's conversation with himself and the world was going to be forever different.
     
  14. Given the theme of the show...that there is no tomorrow, there is only today...you're born alone, you'll die alone and everything in between is just an illusion to try to make you forget that...none of us, including Don, needs a crutch. The only thing Stephanie provided in Don's life was another idea to sell something.
     
  15. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Except that we all have them, and Don had a few, too. If you strip away his relationships with Betty, Anna, Stephanie, Megan, Rachel Menken, his lovers and everyone out of the office, you're left with a story about a [drunk] guy in an office who does advertising. That's not Mad Men. Many streams. Not a single waterway.

    A cynical show trumped by an even more cynical watcher. Bravo. (we clearly haven't been watching the same show)
     
  16. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Did anyone watch Pitch on AMC? That was almost strictly about creative directors, offices, and advertising. My goodness was that ever boring (and depressing).
     
  17. And the point is that we don't really have them. We only think we do.

    I didn't say strip them away, I said treat them as they were, not as what they could be in some 10 minute mystical fairy tale that you've spent 8 years convincing the audience doesn't exist. Don had relationships with all of them. None of them mattered in the end. The only relationship that really matters is Peggy, and instead of dealing with that, the writers gave the last few minutes of the series to some yahoo we'd never seen before.

    Clearly.
     
  18. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

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    I'm satisfied with Mad Men's ending. I believe I enjoyed the episode, and in fact, I think I like the ending. My initial reaction to what the final minutes came to in the episode was one of bewilderment. I did not yet know what to make of it, until I thought about it some more. I do know that I was very happy to know that nobody died in the episode, even though it is implied that Betty would only have a matter of months left to her life.

    My interpretation is that Don became inspired to make that Coca Cola advertisement seen at the end, and I believe it works well for the series. Other characters' lives were also closed satisfactorily, whether their endings were particularly good or uncertain. One of my favorite characters on the show, Ken, seems to have had a good ending as well, even though he did not quit Madison Avenue for writing, at least yet. The ending of the show is open, so I could imagine the characters' futures as I please, yet it is not a bleak and completely ambiguous ending like with The Sopranos. Mad Men seems to have accomplished something close to a happy ending very well, in general.
     
  19. MrBern

    MrBern I'll Lock Up

    FYI
    Happy Rockefeller has died. She was referenced on Mad Men as Henry Francis did work for Gov Nelson Rockefeller. There was a moment where Henry was asked why Rockefeller married Happy, and he answered, " Because he loves her..."
    He was Gerald Ford's Vice President.
    [​IMG]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/nyregion/happy-rockefeller-whose-marriage-to-governor-scandalized-voters-dies-at-88.html?_r=0

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-20/-happy-rockefeller-widow-of-former-vice-president-dies-at-88
     
  20. MrBern

    MrBern I'll Lock Up

    Posted by AMC
    FAREWELL to Mad Men
    [video=youtube;vFEABlKYGqM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFEABlKYGqM[/video]
     

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