Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What Do We Do Now? Coming to Terms with the End of an Era

The great big nostalgic horse pill we were all forced to swallow back in 2007 has finally passed through our system and we are left empty inside. Because while it inhabited every part of our beings for a good 7 seasons, life was good.  No matter how shitty your shitty, shitty life was, you knew that on Sunday night you could come home, or go to someone else's house dressed in a girdle and bright red dress and come together to watch a show that took us on so any twists and turns, the writers from LOST were dizzy. 
People (or haters) would say of Mad Men that it was long, boring, whatever fuck all of them. It's only so on the surface to those who read buzzfeed articles instead of news and have the attention span of a fruit fly. I'm sorry but this is a show that you actually have to sit down and devote 50 minutes a week to, with your fucking computer closed, your phone off, and a glass of wine in your hand. Yes it commands your attention only because it tells of the nature of man better than anything else TV has offered, yes better than Breaking Bad, yes better than The Wire, with characters more akin to the real nature of humanity than any actual person in the Reality TV cannon. 

All those in favor of a Sally Draper spin-off raise your hands. 
We all wanted to hate the characters on Mad Men because they could be vile, vicious, unforgiving, and constantly made mistakes. And we eventually realized, hey that's all of us. And what do the characters on Mad Men do? They just keep going...well except for (Spoiler Alert) Lane. RIP. 
And despite everything that life deals us that we believe to be unfair, we survive, and we overcome, even if the outcome is not exactly what we expected, we roll with the punches. Have I used up all of my life cliche's yet? Oh I have? Ok moving on. 
For a show so dark it ended on such a beautiful and lyrical positive note that we were all left teary messes, well at least maybe the girls. Perhaps what was most beautiful about it was the simplicity of it all. Unlike most season finale's, this was like 'what you see is what you get'. If you haven't watched the finale yet, you've probably read the insane amount of articles that came out analyzing it. Or reflecting on it, or crying tears all over their keyboard. In the end, it boils down to the following: The last 5 minutes of the show tell us that no matter how hard the journey is and has been for every principal from Peggy to Pete to of course Don, there is a time and place that they eventually find peace. It doesn't matter who wrote the coca-cola commercial (Don, not Peggy); what matters is that we as much as we don't want to, can leave these characters, and say goodbye graciously. Bravo Mad Men writers. 

The fabulous and simplistic symbolism of the falling man from every Mad Men intro still holds resonance. 
Ok Spoilers! 
Yes they killed off like some of my favorite people or nixed them from the show; Sal, Lane, Betty (yes I like Betty more than any woman on the show, yes she's not dead yet but she's told in the second to last episode that she has months to go), Paul up to a point, and poor Ginsburg with one nipple. And yes, people that were once endearing are complete a-holes right now; Megan, Pete, and even Peggy. But that's life isn't it. We can't always have great people in our lives, more importantly we can't always BE great people. That's the ultimate lesson isn't it. I read an article someone posted about how Mad Men understands our humanity better than any other show before or since. This is very true. And it's fascinating in its simplicity. We are flawed. Period. We have ups and downs. We have moments of great success and terrible turmoil. Some float and some sink. This is just life. No matter whom you thought you related to the most and who was your spirit animal you have to admit you could relate to anyone. I saw myself in Mrs. Blankenship for chrissake. 

Goodbye my friends.
Anyway, what do we do now? I think it's going to be hard for AMC to catch lightening in a bottle like that. One that was so brilliantly thought through, acted, and executed. This really was the beginning of the renaissance of TV...and now it's all over. I suppose we can go back to living our lives. But at least now we know what goes into an old fashioned. And how to be drunk and not give a fuck. More importantly how to climb that shaky ladder full of dirty protruding nails called life that manifests itself on the show as Sterling Cooper/Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce/ to eventually McCann Erikson. Whether you're a Peggy a Joan or a never know what's in store for you. And whatever happens. It'll be ok. 

Below: The finale: 

Below: The very first trailer for the first season oh how things have changed.

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