“It’s a time machine”: A Farewell to ‘Mad Men’

Sunday night was the finale of one of my favorite shows of all time, Mad Men. Sadly, many people I know didn’t seem to care. When I spoke of the mixture of excitement and sadness I was feeling many people responded with, “That show is still on?” or “Sunday is all about Game of Thrones” (which I now see is valid)

The most common reason I hear for why people don’t watch Mad Men is that it is too slow moving. There is too much talking. Nothing happens. Those people obviously haven’t watched more than a few episodes. Mad Men is one of the best shows on television because of its pace and focus on characters. The entire show is built around the study of Donald Draper (Jon Hamm), his journey, and the people in his life. The show works because it is well crafted and rich with small details of life in the 1960’s and 70’s. It flawlessly includes historical events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the moon landing while still weaving a story all its own. Plus there are the gorgeous costumes, the often outrageous hairstyles and beards of the male cast members, the set pieces and the music that all help to create a television show that functions as a truly immersive experience.

No this show doesn’t have dragons or drug lords or superheroes or fight scenes (although there was that one time Lane beat up Pete), but it doesn’t need them. Creator Matthew Weiner knows how to tell a story, about people, about the times they lived in, the careers they had and their hopes and dreams and desires. It is not a show that instantly rewards viewers; rather the more time you spending watching and delving into the lives of these characters the more enjoyable the show becomes. In today’s world of instant gratification and binge watching it is nice to see something that requires a little more time and thought to enjoy. (That being said I fully endorse binging Mad Men on Netflix if you have yet to watch this amazing show.)

I pity the people who don’t know Roger’s one liners or Joan ‘s amazing facial expressions or what happened with the lawnmower in season 3. People who have never experienced elevated heart rate during a pitch meeting or wondered what would happen after every merger. People who can hear “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Zou Bisou Bisou” without thinking of the defining scenes that came from those songs.

So thank you Mad Men for bringing style and substance to my Sunday nights and for always giving me something to think about long after the credits roll and the closing song ends. I’m getting nostalgic already.

Final Thoughts

  • The series finale was perfect. There is nothing I would change.
  • Peggy Olson is one of my favorite TV heroines right alongside Leslie Knope, Liz Lemon, and Lorelai Gilmore.

  • Until I re-watched that clip I linked to above I forgot how much I used to hate Pete and what a “grimy little pimp” he was. My how his character changed.
  • I love to hate Harry Crane. Mostly hate.
  • Stan has always been my favorite. (Even more so now.)
  • I am going to miss Roger and Caroline’s interactions most of all.

Favorite Episodes:

  • Nixon vs. Kennedy (1.12), The Wheel (1.13), Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency (3.6), The Grown-Ups (3.12), Shut the Door. Have a Seat (3.13), The Suitcase (4.7), A Little Kiss (5.1), The Other Woman (5.11), Favors (6.11), In Care Of (6.13), Time Zones (7.1) and Lost Horizons (7.12).
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