by John Walters
1. Ommmm, I God
Quick thoughts on the Mad Men finale….
— Six phone calls, two of them person-to-person. I counted Don-Sally, Don-Betty, Peggy-Joan, Joan-client, Don-Peggy, Peggy-Stan. I understand that sometimes this can’t be avoided within the plot, but a surfeit of calls made me want to hang up on the finale. When you’ve got actors as talented as Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, you put ’em in a room together and watch them make sparks.
— Brief Mad Men series finale review: “Joan snorts coke, Don saves Coke.”
— When Stephanie greets Don in California, she says, “What are you doing here?” Was this another episode of SNL’s “The Californians?”
— The hunky red-headed dude who wanted to chase the land-speed record? That’s Spencer Treat Clark, whom you may remember as Lucius from The Gladiator (was also the boy who got kidnapped in Mystic River).
–I loved Meredith’s final scene: “I translated your speech into pig Latin.” Roger: “That was a joke.” I think this will be the beginning of Alan Sepinwall’s review…(Update: Yup, it was).
–Yes, that was Helen Slater, a.k.a. Supergirl, to those of us over 40. Still hot. Don, stay at the ashram and try out a few yoga poses with Helen. May I suggest, “Downward Don?” That’s your best gambit.
–Speaking of that retreat center, am I the only one whose mind immediately went to Paul Rudd and Steve Carell dancing to “Age of Aquarius?“
— Roger and Marie Calvert are perfect for one another. I just wanted him to pull out an Addams Family reference and say, “Morticia, you spoke French.” Gomez Addams was a thing at the time.
— The total unknown who was given that monologue in the series’ final five minutes? Well, he was intentionally forgettable. And yet, that monologue was as moving as any pitch Don Draper ever gave to a prospective client. The difference was that, as Don had always said, the key to advertising is “happiness” whereas this pitch was emptiness. And that the man described himself as an item on a shelf in a refrigerator… he was simply an unwanted consumer item.
Also, I love how Matthew Weiner wrote in the first guy to speak and then gave us the pause. We all expected Don to get up and confess next — so did Supergirl — but then Weiner threw us that curve.
— That final scene with Sally and Betty in the kitchen is haunting, especially to anyone who has ever lost a parent.
— The Don-Peggy phone call. My favorite moment. It reminded me of the time when Radar O’Reilly gave Hawkeye the what-for. Favorite moment-within-the-moment? When Peggy lowers her voice and says, “Don. Listen to me. What did you ever do that was so bad?”
— The “When Stan Met Peggy” phone call. Who let Nora Ephron into the writers’ room?
— The final scene. First, genius to end with a close-up of Don’s face. It was always THAT FACE that made life both so easy and difficult for Don. That face closed more sales, both in the boardroom and the bedroom, than Don’s words ever did. An iconic final moment.
Second, I guess there’s no ambiguity to it, is there? Don’s catharsis at the seminar leads to an inner harmony, which leads to the epiphany on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which leads to him dreaming up the campaign for Coca-Cola, one of the greatest ad campaigns of all time. There were moments of foreshadowing earlier in the episode — Joan snorting coke and Peggy asking, “Don’t you want to work on Coke?” — as well as all season long.
The final irony? Mad Men began with Don saving his firm by saving the Lucky Strike account, by advertising for cigarettes. But, 55 years later, we know that while BIG SODA is not AS bad as BIG TOBACCO, it’s almost as bad. Soda is the cigarettes of our generation. Some day your kids will tell their friends, “Yeah, my dad (or mom) drank pop” with the same pitying look we display when we tell our friends that our parents smoked.
As for the song choice, well, we kind of nailed it….
2. Confetti-cini Alfredo
This was the scene after the Houston Rockets won Game 7 of
the NBA Finals Western Conerence finals a second round playoff series at the Toyota Center. Go nuts, kids.
Our republic is doomed.
3. Day of Yore
On this date 69 years ago Reggie Jackson was born, 45 years ago Tina Fey was born, and 35 years ago Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis hanged himself. Also on this date, 50 years ago, the fathomably talented Bill Hubbell, MH’s DoY scribe, was born. Happy birthday, Bill.
4. Rule No. 1
What’s Rule No. 1, kids? That’s right “Gravity always wins.”
Legendary climber and BASE jumper Dean Potter, 43, died while attempting an aerial descent from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park… which prohibits such acts of derring do. Also dead, 29 year-old Graham Hunt.
5. Louie, Louie
Comedian Louis C.K. hosted the season finale for the 40th season of Saturday Night Live. For his opening monologue C.K. did a set that touched upon “mild racism,” the Israel-Palestine conflict, and child molestation. It’s hilarious to watch and listen to how he loses the audience on the third topic. I kinda feel that it was almost done on a dare, like that time on Seinfeld when Jerry had to open for Kenny Bania and just decided to bomb as badly as possible.