{SPOILER ALERT} Fuck You Don Draper and Your Pissing Yoga Retreat!

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I don’t want to spoil the finale for you but I sort of do because it’s spoiled for me, in fact the whole show is, because it didn’t deliver on a single thing it promised. Not RIP Mad Men. No sad face Facebook status about the show ending. That show can burn. I hope everyone takes their box sets to the charity or, better yet, throws them in a skip or in the road. And here’s why.

Like that great full-of-shit show Lost, Mad Men existed on a hotbed of mystery: Will Megan Draper be murdered by the Manson family? Will Don fall from his office window a la the opening credits? Will the show be revolutionary in its portrayal of feminist characters succeeding in an age of extreme misogyny? Will Don’s past ever be fully explained and will it ever catch up to him? Will everyone drink themselves spectacularly to death? Will Sally become the most successful person of all? The answer to all is a big fat NO and we basically shouldn’t have bothered.

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The New Yorker called the finale nihilistic, I assume because it’s essentially about capitalism, The American Dream, a good idea formed for commercial benefit. But they’re wrong. It is nihilistic: because literally nothing matters. We were fooled into caring about characters that would never be given satisfying storyline endings, who never themselves cared for character development or enlightenment. No jigsaw piece falling into place. Just an expanse of nothingness and a less than spectacular life we have to wonder why we were conned into caring about in the first place: if Don returns to New York after a swift bit of meditation and comes up with the shittest Coke commercial of all time, and exists in his responsibility-less bubble forever, stalking women, drinking-smoking-divorcing, then what was the point of this show apart from Jon Hamm’s perfect torso? A time capsule, maybe, but who even cares, and why even should we? Don’t we have Wikipedia and retro CD-rom copies of Encyclopaedia Brittanica for that?

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It’s not just The New Yorker raving. The Telegraph called the finale enigmatic. Jon Hamm gave an interview to the New York Times defending Don’s Coke moment and the endings of all of the characters, as not really being endings, just where we as an audience leave them. Which is absolutely true. The problem is, if I as an audience member no longer care if the characters live or die, at this ending or after it, something’s gone wrong. The show has ceased doing its job, and any amount of justification, which let’s face it shouldn’t be needed anyway, won’t change that. Great art needs no explanation. Mad Men may look pretty as fuck, but great art, it ain’t. It’s soap styled as high-brow. If it were Coke, it’d be Morisson’s own white label made from fizzy water and brown food colouring, served in a nice glass (or, at least, a clean one).

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The greatest disservice any character got dealt was Peggy (because Don Draper, who fucking cares what he does on his fucking Britney Spears-esque Crossroads road trip?). Her finale was reduced to an unrealistic rom-com, and a turning down of the greatest opportunity she’d ever had, to set up a production company with Joan. I enjoyed the chemistry between Stan and Peggy this season, the hatred turned to kinship. I didn’t need a tearful exchange of I love yous though, to get the idea. That’s not an end point for these characters, especially not Peggy who we’d been led to believe was this show’s Joey Potter (the title says Dawson, but the show is clearly all about her). Peggy was meant to be the new Don, in all the senses of the phrase. I expected her to be Don’s boss, to be the show’s success, to far exceed even our expectations. Not be plodding along in a mediocre role alongside her new fuck buddy. It’s a waste, as well as a disservice to the feminist potential of the show.

As for Betty Draper, I can’t even. Like the super-quick offscreen death of the Mother in HIMYM, Betty was reduced to a statistic, a tragedy without a proper send-off. Shame on you, Matthew Weiner, for killing Betty and not Don, and for doing it in such a cheap and clumsy way. And don’t play the “but that’s how death is” card with me. As if the fat suit wasn’t crap enough, January Jones had her material shaved down to stereotype. What a crock of shit. And a continual degradation of female characters on screen.

I’m going to end at the yoga retreat as the show did, Don Draper having a lightbulb moment during meditation, smiling, supposedly reconciling all the parts of his personality he was crying about, ready to kill himself over, only seconds before. Not only was this contrived, but it was meaningless, unbelievable and untrue. If that’s Don’s greatest achievement then he’s the lamest TV lead of all time, because that’s debased. And if you’re trying to tell me he didn’t snort coke off the yoga teacher’s tits before hiking back to New York, exchanging hand jobs for gas, I don’t believe you for a second. This was not the epiphanic moment it should have been. It was saccharin horseshit, the loss of nerve, a broken backbone of a show previously unafraid of existential darkness. What the fuck happened? I wish he’d fallen down that elevator shaft and saved us all the trouble.

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3 thoughts on “{SPOILER ALERT} Fuck You Don Draper and Your Pissing Yoga Retreat!

  1. This is the best review of the finale I have read. And I read a LOT of them.

    Like they say in politics, “if you’re explaining, you’re losing.” The fact that the lame ending required so much torturous explanation (and analysis) by reviewers, fans, actors and Weiner himself means it wasn’t a good capper to a series that had previously been great at times.

    We were ALL yearning for Peggy to be something better, bigger. Don 2.0. But with a conscience. However, Weiner just admitted that he had a litany of things for Don to do: go on a road trip, seduce strangers, talk about depression, have pivotal phone conversations—but tending to Weiner’s bucket list ignored the promise of the show.

    What a waste.

  2. Pingback: 2015 Was Amaze And Shit: Clarissa’s Year In Review! | A Feminist Trash TV & Pop Culture Blog

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