‘Mad Men’ makes it’s final pitch

AMC’s “Mad Men” begins its seventh and final season on April 13.



Parker Munson, Writer



Amidst a flurry of successful, action-packed dramas, AMC’s “Mad Men” cuts through the static with impeccable character development and stunning acting performances. The show’s debonaire anti-hero, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), once put it to his colleague Roger Sterling (John Slattery), “One wants to be a needle in the haystack, not a haystack.”

Creator Matthew Weiner is a master of nostalgia, meticulously crafting the costumes, set and script to envelope viewers in the fast-paced, cut-throat jungle of 1960s advertising. The show doesn’t involve flesh-eating zombies or meth cooks, but “Mad Men” is certainly another addition to AMC’s long line of shows with questionable content. Extramarital affairs, alcohol abuse, illicit drugs, misogyny … oh, and the smoking. They smoke so many cigarettes the show practically deserves its own warning from the surgeon general.

Set in the ‘60s, “Mad Men” portrays the life of a generation high on the American dream — a generation of people who saw what they wanted and took it, for better or worse. In “Mad Men” it’s usually the latter. On the surface of the show, it may seem like the fast and loose morals of Draper and the gang are cast in a light of glitz and glamour, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Draper may be known by his family and colleagues for his prestige and silver tongue, but we learn through frequent flashbacks and many sequences of a contemplative, staring-off-into-space Draper that it takes a lot more than a nice suit to make the man.

The show deserves to be approached with a certain level of caution. The content can be grotesque. That being said, it’s often deeply profo‘Mad Men’ makes it’s final pitch
und in its ability to resonate with the human condition. “Mad Men” isn’t really in the business of simply revealing depravity — it has a lot to teach us about the responsibility we have to love others once we’re aware of it.

Draper is consistently at odds with himself, knowing that an escape from his former life is necessary but wondering if his new one is really any better. As he wrestles inwardly, those around him are deceived by his pristine appearance and led to believe, despite a deep and dangerous depression, that he’s got it all together. How often do we attempt the same kind of deception?

Every character has their own fair share of secrets that they ardently fight to conceal, often to no avail. As they struggle to maintain the masquerade, they seclude themselves from one another, left without community to float listlessly through a life devoid of meaning.

“Mad Men” is a lot more than a bunch of womanizers in suits, sitting around and smoking cigarettes. It’s a reminder of the importance of friendship, love and community in a world that’s constantly telling us we deserve whatever we want — even if it’s harmful to ourselves — and that we don’t need anyone’s help.

There have been sporadic moments throughout the show when characters have seen the flaws in their ways and decided to make corrections, only to descend into darkness once again. In fact, any real speck of redemption seems to be altogether missing at this point in “Mad Men”’s six season stint. Perhaps with the seventh and final season, premiering this Sunday, we might finally see Draper redeemed.

Six seasons of the show are available on Netflix now. You can keep up with current episodes of “Mad Men”’s seventh and final season on Sundays at 10/9c or at AMC.com the day after they air. 

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