‘Mad Men’ Star Jon Hamm Confirms Don’s Finale Coke-spiration
Far from any LOST or even Breaking Bad, last night’s Mad Men series finale still inspired the lion’s share of debate today, the final moments of “Person to Person” proving just vague enough for a few open interpretations. Now, Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm has revealed his own insight into the Mad Men ending, including thoughts on the characters’ future thereafter.
You’re warned of every Mad Men spoiler from last night’s finale from here on out, but despite many predictions that Coca-Cola’s iconic “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” commercial might somehow factor in, the actual episode left intentionally vague if Don himself was to have created the ad. Following his weeks-long exodus, Don seemed to find some measure of inner peace at an Esalen-esque institute in California, the final shot of which followed Don’s satisfied meditation into the famous commercial.
Some took the image to infer that Don took channeled his experience into creating the ad, while others suggested that Peggy might have been the one responsible, and some interpreted the ending as a more vague rumination on commercialism. In any case Jon Hamm himself spoke with the New York Times to offer up his own interpretation:
My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, ‘Wow, that’s awful.’ But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led.
Not only that, but Hamm reminded viewers that life would have still gone on after Don’s inspiration, as creator Matthew Weiner wanted only to leave his characters in a somewhat happier place for the moment:
It’s not the end of anything. The world doesn’t blow up right after the Coke commercial ends. No one is suggesting that Stan and Peggy live happily ever after, or that Joan’s business is a rousing success, or that Roger and Marie come back from Paris together. None of it is done. Matt had said at one point, ‘I just want my characters to be a little more happy than they were in the beginning,’ and I think that’s pretty much true. But these aren’t the last moments of any of these characters’ lives, including Betty. She doesn’t have much time left, but damn if she’s not going to spend it the way she wants to spend it.
No doubt Mad Men’s ultimate end will prove a source of discussion and dissection for years to come, but are we to take the finale’s commercial ending at face value, in spite of its real-life origins? Should Don go back into advertising, how might he, or any of the other characters carried out in the years to come?
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