It’s neat how many verbal and visual callbacks there were in the last episode of Mad Men.
The JFK newspaper of course going back to “The Grown-Ups”, also Megan with a drink on the plane mirroring Betty with the baby on the plane with Henry, leaving Don. Then there’s Don reaching for Peggy’s hand while he’s standing and she’s seated, inviting her to dance, mirroring the scene last season where Peggy leaves SCDP and, standing in front of a seated Don, holds her hand out to him.
Then there’s Bonnie telling Pete that she doesn’t like how he is in New York (to which he responds “Then you don’t really know me”) which immediately reminded me of the scene in season 1 where Peggy is doing the twist and shout and flirting with Pete and he coldly informs her that he doesn’t like her this way.
In time of test, family is best.
The driving question for the series is, Who are we? When we talk about “we,” who is that? In the pilot, Pete Campbell has this line, “Adding money and education doesn’t take the rude edge out of people.” Sophisticated anti-Semitism. I overheard that line when I was a schoolteacher. The person, of course, didn’t know they were in the presence of a Jew. I was a ghost. Certain male artists like to show that they’re feminists as a way to get girls. That’s always seemed pimpy to me. I sympathize with feminism the same way I identify with gay people and with people of color, because I know what it’s like to look over the side of the fence and then to climb over the fence and to feel like you don’t belong, or be reminded at the worst moment that you don’t belong.
Take Rachel Menken, the department-store heiress in the first season of Mad Men. She’s part of what I call the nose-job generation. She’s assimilated. She probably doesn’t observe the Sabbath or any of these other things that her parents did. That generation had a hard time because they were trying desperately to be buttoned-down and preppy and—this is my parent’s generation—white as could be. They were embarrassed by their parents. This is the story of America, this assimilation. Because guess what, this guy Don has the same problems. He’s hiding his identity, too. That’s why Rachel Menken understands Don, because they’re both trying desperately to be white American males.
Of all of them, Peggy is my favorite. I identify with her struggle. She is so earnest and self-righteous and talented and smart, but dumb about personal things. She thinks she’s living the life of “we.” But she’s not. And every time she turns a corner, someone says, “You’re not part of ‘we.’ ” “But you all said ‘we’ the other day.” “Yes, we meant, ‘we white men.’ ”" -
Matt Weiner, Paris Review [X]
Granted Matt Weiner saying he identifies with other non-WASPs may not necessarily mean that he did a good job of showing that on the show but I do like this point overall. It’s so how I feel when I’m being that me that relates to Peggy: here I am working for we but we means totally different things to the parties involved.
Five years after I’d abandoned that other screenplay, I’d started writing it again without even knowing it. Don Draper was the adult version of the hero in the movie. And there were all of these things in the movie that became part of the show—Don’s past, his rural poverty, the story I was telling about the United States, about who these people were. And when I say “these people,” I mean people like Lee Iacocca and Sam Walton, even Bill Clinton to some degree. I realized that these people who ran the country were all from these very dark backgrounds, which they had hidden, and that the self-transforming American hero, the Jay Gatsby or the talented Mr. Ripley, still existed. I once worked at a job where there was a guy who said he went to Harvard. Someone finally said, You did not go to Harvard—that guy didn’t go to Harvard! And everyone was like, Who cares? That went into the show.
How could it not matter, when everyone was fighting so hard to get into Harvard and it was supposed to change your life? And you could just lie about it? Guess what—in America, we say, Good for him! Good for him, for figuring it out." -
Matt Weiner, Paris Review [X]
(Bob Benson reminds me so much of The Talented Mr. Ripley.)
fyeahmm replied to your post “I just noticed that in the season 6 finale of Mad Men (“In Care Of”),…”
The first time we heard that song Don was on top of the world. But this was the episode where he gets put on forced leave from the agency, which is the worst thing to happen to him in a sense because his job was his top priority even when it shouldn’tve been and main source of his identity. He sucked at everything else but he was good at that, and then they take it away from him. The first time we heard the song it was loud and blaring in a real nice restaurant, but this time it was muffled by dull conversation in a dinky little bar.
And then after the song brings Don (the ad man who fell from the top floor) full circle, the episode ends with “Both Sides Now”.