Published On: Wed, May 20th, 2015

John Hamm Speaks on Mad Men’s Ending

Don Draper gives his take on what he did after the final scene of the show.


Don Draper Mad Men

Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men signed off for the last time Sunday night and everyone, including star John Hamm, is talking about what the closing of the show really means. The program also was one the show’s highest rated with 3.3 million viewers.

So what really did happen? We saw the lead character Don Draper sitting in a sort of yoga session above the California coastline while staying at a hippy retreat. He had somewhat of a sly grin on his face.

Did we get a fade to black and confusion like with the Sopranos finale? No.

Did we get a wrap it all up feel good ending like with sitcoms and light dramas like ER and LA Law?

Did we get a confusing or shocking finale like with Lost or St. Elsewhere? No.

What we got next was a clip of the iconic Coca Cola ad from 1971 where a group of people from around the world got together and sang “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”

This ad marked the beginning of the 1970s as the counter-culture and rebellion of the 60s slowly faded away and the 1980 era of conservatism and consumerism was born. It showed how Madison Ave – The Mad in Mad Men – learned to co-opt the hippie movement to sell products to the American people. The counter culture had become part of the mainstream as the hippies settled down, got jobs, and had families.

The one burning question being debated now by viewers is, did Don Draper go back to his job in New York and make that commercial himself or was it shown merely to make a statement about the world which Don has chosen to leave behind?

Well John Hamm, who played Don, has spoken out about it. In an interview with the New York Times he said, “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, ” he added.

As for what he knew and thinks about the show’s creator and author of the finale Matthew Weiner’s plan for his character, Hamm said, “I was struck by the poetry of it. I didn’t know what his plans were, to get Don to this meditative, contemplative place. I just knew that he had this final image in mind.”

Either way, whether Don did make the commercial or not, the last bit was poetic. For a show which was about how the 1960s changed everything for white collar corporate America, seeing an example of how it fought back and defeated the counter-culture was certainly poetic, to say the least.

The episode was the show’s third highest rated ever, behind Mad Men’s season 5 premiere in 2012 which had 3.5 million viewers and its Season 6 premiere in 2013 which had 3.4 million viewers.

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