I thought there were only going to be six series.
I have built myself up for the end of my regular thirteen week fix. I have bought the back series from Amazon. Sadly, I am onto Series Three already. This morning I settled in the tv room with a cafetiere of black coffee, overwhelmed by the knowledge that this was about to the end of my viewing life as I know it. Overwhelmed also by a visceral desperation to watch the episode and love Don one last time.
It’s been a dark series, building, I believed, to a terrible conclusion that prohibited further episodes being made. With Mad Men’s production pedigree being The Sopranos top guns (RIP, James Gandolfini), I knew it would be executed to perfection.
My love for this series started with the decade it is set in. The 1960’s for me are far enough away to know most of their detail from history books but to also know that I was there. Yes, I was a child. Yes, I was in New Zealand but I remember my parents’ grief at John and Robert Kennedy’s assassinations. I remember the Vietnam War and licking envelopes for my father in his role as secretary for the Anti Involvement in Vietnam Committee. I remember my mother and father laughing about the fact that he was at Wellington Airport protesting Johnson’s arrival and our next door neighbour was at the same chain link fence cheering the President on.
I remember wanting an American accent and two tone shoes.
And I remember the Mid Century Modern furniture that features so exquisitely in Mad Men’s Madison Avenue offices and Don and Megan’s ‘to die for’ apartment.
I remember the furniture because I lived it. My parents loved all things modern, had a split level, open plan house designed by Bill Toomath (Group Architects) in the late 50’s and filled it with Eames and Bertoia chairs, a Danish dining table, George Jensen cutlery and Lucie Rie pottery to name drop but some.
Thank you Roger Stirling for your love of great design and all things Saarinen.
And the clothes, we cannot, mustn’t forget the frocks. It’s all so perfect and polyester is queen. On the underground last week I saw a twenty something dressed like Joan, Mad Men’s super-secretary and femme fatale. Right down to the red hair.
The series appeals to way more than my baby booming generation.
Men too got into the act. Look right at Jantzen’s answer to Don’s wardrobe malfunction in Palm Springs.
Don, a word to the wise, fewer drugs, more swimsuit combinations please.
But of course, he’s excused. I excuse him everything. Because as you know (we’ve shared this secret before) I have been in love with him since 2007. Others pretend to his affections (http://victoriaelizabethbarnes.com/mad-love-a-halloween-message-to-don-draper/) but ya’all, Mrs C’s the real Mccoy.
I don’t see him as a father figure, oh no, although I do think he looks like my father. Perhaps there is something in that then and I did beat Sally to those eyebrows by quite some years. But I don’t see him as a father figure because, we can all agree on this, he’s not a very good father.
But it’s not his fault. We know that and as I come to the end of Series Six it’s obvious, to all but the most callous, that Don Draper is falling to pieces. He needs our help.
Get a grip Mrs Carmichael, you’re becoming a touch hysterical. It’s only a television programme. One that just happens to have got to you. Touched your buttons. Big time.
So as my morning’s viewing builds to a crescendo, I’m enjoying a three cup coffee high and Don speaks the truth in a Hershey presentation I see the script writers have done us all proud. They are tying the dying moments of this epic to its theme of themes, identity. Identity, or lack thereof, in all its guises: work, gender, role, background, love. Life.
Don stands with his three children outside the whore house in which he lived as a teenager and he does something he hasn’t before. He tells them the truth.
Judy Collins sings Both Sides Now and I cry. I cry because I love Don Draper, because the choice of music is perfect, because this is a sublime ending to the series and because I’m devastated that its over.
And then I read there’s to be a Series Seven.
I don’t know what to think.
I’d said ‘goodbye’.
Our parting was perfect.
I so hope the final series isn’t a mistake.