Saying goodbye to Mad Men feels like parting with a good old friend. I have no connection/interest with the life and people of 60’s New York ad world. But this series got me hooked. Unknowingly I watched Mad Men one season after another. I had never imagined I would still be with it when it ends.
Why I like this show so much? It is just beautiful story telling. It is cleverly written and made. The characters feel close to you. The audience is absorbed into the story, you are a part of it. Every feeling is amplified, not in a explicit way, but with subtle gestures and tricks. For example the scene of Don entering his empty home, with no furniture, is symbolic to the void in his own life. You discover new meanings when you watch it again.
The constant background noise of the cars in the street or that of the air conditioner has an added effect. Every uttered word carves it way through your heart and its presence is felt. The immediate scene transitions between two story-lines, which you know will intertwine and affect each other in future, creates a continuum. The almost accurate depiction of the 60’s and attention to detail adds an element of realism. For example, the first Moon mission and the anxiety of it being successful or not is shown in parallel with the characters’ personal struggles.
The finale may be the episode most talked about, but it is certainly not my favourite. If you ask me to pick one, it is difficult. But the Season 4 episode 7, ‘The Suitcase’, might be a pretty good contender. Don is delaying to return a call from California knowing it is going to be bad news. He stays up all night working with Peggy who misses her birthday lunch. The dynamics of the relation between Don and Peggy is shown in new light. But nonetheless, each episode is has its own charm. Sometimes, I am so much filled with awe and wonder that I keep staring at the credits after an episode ends. And mind you, this is not a thriller.