Bitter-sweet goodbye

Celebrating the final season of ‘Mad Men.’

April 7, 2015 10:59
3 minute read.
Mad Man

'Mad Man' TV series. (photo credit: PR)


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April 5 is the beginning of the end of the final seven episodes of Mad Men, the peerless show about an advertising agency in the 1960s.

In Israel, the first episode will air on April 6 on HOT VOD for free and HOT Plus starting at 10 p.m. and will continue on Mondays at 10 p.m.

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The first half of this final season aired from April to May 2014. The previous episode ended as the cast watched the moon landing, and the ad agency’s founding partner, Bert Cooper (Robert Morse), died and then briefly returned in a fantasy sequence to sing “The Best Things in Life Are Free” to Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

This last half-season is bittersweet because it marks the end of what many have called the greatest television series ever.

Matthew Weiner, the creator and show runner of Mad Men, is famous for his secrecy about upcoming episodes and has offered no hints as to what viewers can expect.

Much has been made on the Internet of the fact that his trailer for Season Seven uses a 1975 Diana Ross tune and features the cast in 1970s-style clothing. The last episode of the show, which aired last spring, ended in July 1969, but there are rumors all over the Internet that the show will jump ahead six years. This would be a real departure because in the past, each season began just a few months after the previous one ended. Weiner, as always, has declined to comment.

It’s hard to explain why Mad Men is the sublime experience it is, but in the end I think it comes down to the writing. So, without further ado, here are seven memorable lines (one to celebrate each of the final seven episodes) from previous seasons, and a few thoughts about how the show has changed television forever: “There is no big lie. The universe is indifferent.”

Could Mad Men be the most philosophical show ever on television? It constantly deals with Don’s sense of isolation. Unlike the characters in two other iconic shows Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, Don deals with his existential pain more the way most people do, by withdrawing, drinking, having affairs, etc. He doesn’t get anyone whacked.

“But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawn mower.”

The reverse is also true. When Matthew Weiner wanted to cast Jon Hamm as Don Draper, the suits at the AMC Network thought he wasn’t sexy enough. Weiner got his way, and the rest is history.

Jon Hamm will most likely go the George Clooney route into movie stardom or keep doing highprofile, quality television. The other cast members – Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, January Jones and all the others – are acknowledged as among the best actors working today.

“People want to be told what to do so badly, they’ll listen to anyone.”

Matthew Weiner did not listen to anyone. Everyone told him that a series set in the 1960s at an advertising agency with an often unlikable hero would never make it to television. We are all the richer because he proved the naysayers wrong.

“If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan.”

Mad Men portrays New York City more accurately than any other television series. New York functions like a character in the series, and it is true to how New York can be – by turns breathtaking, disgusting and frustrating.

“As a wise man once said, the only thing worse than not getting what you want is someone else getting it.”

Mad Men understands human nature. The characters, with their jealousies, desires and frustrations, are all utterly believable.

“You’re good. Get better.”

Television was good before Mad Men, but now it’s better, and the series helped raise the bar.

“We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what we had.”

We got seven great seasons, but we wish for more. We look back nostalgically to 2007 when the show was new. And someday we’ll look back to these final episodes, too.

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