It’s Just a Television Series: My Thoughts on the Mad Men Finale

There are far more qualified folks to write about Mad Men than I, yet I’m in mourning so I do what I know to do, I write.

I’m clawing my way through the muck this morning listening to a Mad Men soundtrack on Spotify and sobbing my eyes out. People ask me what it is about this show that makes me so emotional.  So attached.  So protective.

It’s these characters.  It’s their darkness.  It’s their flawed humanity.  It’s that they are the most like me out of any show on television.

Lurching toward the darkness even when the light is right in front of them, they continue to make bad choices even when we are yelling at them, don’t do it!  Don’t open that door.  They will always open that door.  To peer into the dark corners of the world that we so rarely let people see in our own lives, Mad Men let us see it.

While it was so beautifully breathtaking visually, the exteriors so pristine and pure, the insides were black and full of yearning and pain.  So much symbolism.  So much cowardice.  So much sadness.

In a time when even being brave wasn’t rewarded.  In a time when women had to scratch and claw to get any kind of respect at all.

When it was bright it was brilliantly so, with us almost shielding our eyes from the sun.  But those moments were few and far between and it just goes to show that life is not nearly what appearances project it to be.

It made me want to smoke.  It made me want a whiskey.  It made me feel the bad thoughts I have aren’t necessarily that bad because they are acting on their impulse, why shouldn’t I?

Because I don’t do that anymore.  On tv, it was devastating, yet interesting. In real life, it’s just devastating.

I will miss these characters.  I will miss their humanity and class and terrible choices and longing.  I will be grateful forever that we were gifted with this show.  It was like it was wrapped up with a bow just for us who needed it in a vast wasteland of television, we were given this piece of beautifully rich, deep, complicated art.

The ending proved that nobody can really have it all.  Nobody works so hard and gets to have a great relationship too.  Sacrifices must be made. For men and women.  For richer or for poorer.

Just barely scratching the surface, because there are SO MANY recaps out there, I mostly loved the ending.  There was so much pressure and no matter what happened there would be people who said NOPE.  I wish that Peggy didn’t fall victim to a typically female romantic relationship, although I love Stan and the idea of them being together.  I thought we had said goodbye to Peggy when she stormed the halls of McCann, and yet here she is to listen to Don and to be with Stan.  The Harris-Olson thing made me giddy. It would have likely been a disaster, but the thought of it tickled us.

Joanie.  My Joanie, my love.  My heart.  She wants more and wants to be successful and prove her worth and I couldn’t understand that more. Romance and money and family even aren’t nearly enough for her.  We women cannot have it all.  Not in that world anyway.

Dear Betty.  Smoke em if you got em.  You did right by your family in the end.  You did the best you knew how to and you were fierce.  You always wanted more.  Better.  Bigger.  You tried so hard.  When you were sweet, you were so very sweet.  You will be gorgeous in your blue chiffon.

And our Don.  I loved his bell chime moment.  It felt like it all led there.  And it was perfect.  His breakdowns, his running away time after time, his searching always searching and shedding his skin.  His declarations of love and trying to protect women.  I adore him.  All his flaws and breaking of his sacred vows.  I still root for him.

It’s just a television series, yes.  But it was a part of my life for almost 8 years and in a world of binge watching, I went along for the ride, week by week, year by year, and it grew as I have.  Making poor choices and trying to be happy.  The eternal quest of humanity.  How to be happy and fulfilled without hurting too many people along the way.  Can it be done?

Can people really change?  That’s what this show seems to ask over and over again and proving that even when they give it their best effort, they cannot.  Geographical cures don’t help.  Lovers and different relationships don’t help.  Great success in careers can’t help.  The work on ourselves is what does it.  Yes, people can change, but the darkness is always there.

Can people really change?  I say yes.  And while this show didn’t exactly prove that, we can.  The darkness will always be there.  It’s in us whether we acknowledge it or not.  I like to say hello to it every day just so it knows I know it’s there.  I’ve made friends with it. It’s my constant companion.  But it doesn’t have to win out.

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Farewell to my Mad Men and Women.  It’s been an incredible ride.  Unlike anything we will ever experience again, I expect.  Thank you Matthew Weiner and AMC and every last person involved.  What an incredible gift you’ve given us.

 

Please check out our video blogs on Mad Men:  Two Gals Talk TV and Part 2- Don and Betty

 

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