Clive James, in his continuing self-proclaimed farewell tour to life and art, says farewell to Mad Men. And as it happened, so, just this week, did we. I'll let Clive speak for himself (some kind of confusing paywall but persist) For me: yeh, well, the last few episodes seemed to run out of steam, as almost always happens with this sort of thing. They repeated themselves; they picked up possible plot lines you knew they were going to have to abandon. And then, the finale, everybody (not just Clive James) has to have a finale.
I won't get tedious with a lot of stuff that others have probably said before and better, but here is a glaring difficulty that I don't think has received much attention so far. Don Draper, the center of the action. Pleasant, affable, cold eyed dissembler, thief of the life of another, one who inflicts casual collateral damage on almost any within range.
But we forgive him because he's Michelangelo, he's Balzac, Svengali, he's a cool quiet 'Enry 'Iggins, the one who can be depended upon to make lemonade out of moldy old peach pits.
The whole show hangs on this premise and you have to believe if you want it to make any sense at all and sure, I pretty much signed on. But I kept recalling that nothing--nothing--in the script actually showed me that Don was a genius, advertising or otherwise. I just had to count on the fact that everyone kept telling me so--that, and his capacity for casual mayhem. In the end, he's to the Svengali, he's the hole in the donut. But rest assured Give him 20 minutes of silence around a boardroom table while everyone else is tearing their hair out, he'll come up with a way to market donut holes, too. Now go read Clive, he never lets us down.