A Decade

 Posted by on May 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, Season 7
May 132015

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Being immersed in Mad Men‘s final television season, including the promos of the actors’ reminiscences, I am awed by the fact that we have been with many of these characters for over a decade. Matthew Weiner’s grand scheme is illuminated for me in a whole new way.

Matt has always said that the period of the show and historical events serve the characters and story, but it’s their ages that he looks to when discovering/creating what comes next for them. So there was Peter Campbell at 26 and Peggy Olson at 21, and Matt would imagine what he’d be doing when was 30; what kinds of choices she might make at 28; what would be important to them at different points in their lives.

mad_men_fist_fightThere’s a lot of discussion about how everything that happens with these characters seems inevitable, even though we, the viewers, rarely guess what’s coming. And doesn’t it? Here’s Don on the road headed west; here’s Joan unable to excel professionally; and yes, here’s Betty with lung cancer. Inevitable.

There were comments in one of the threads that tallied up all the deaths on the show–Pete’s father, Ida Blankenship, Betty’s father, Anna Draper, Lane Pryce, Pete’s mother, Bert Cooper, Rachel Menken–and it went on and on and on.

Has their ever ever ever been a show that gave you such an intimate perspective on the passage of time? In the entire history of television, has there? A lot of people died on Mad Men because in a decade, a lot of people die. Children are born. Marriages begin and end (and begin again, once in a while). People move, change jobs, get fired and are never heard of again. This is life, folks.

Mad Men long weekendmadmen-petetrudy

Mad Men, The Milk and Honey Route: Sally Draper covers her ears

Photo Credit:Courtesy of AMC

I just used the word intimate, and I’d never really applied it to Mad Men before now, but lately, it is the intimacy that moves me. Even in the high style and exquisite art direction of this show, the camera is often successfully invisible. You’re just right there with these characters–that’s why it never played like a genre, even though it’s a period piece. Everything you experience is happening now, and now, and now–even flashbacks.

We have been with Don and Peggy and so many others for over a decade of their lives–and nearly a decade of ours. So of course we’re torn up about it ending. It was inevitable.

Rachel and Don, Nixon vs. Kennedy


  143 Responses to “A Decade”

  1. A first Reply
    Thank you
    Thank all of you
    The Basket is a refresher in many ways each week.

    • I did not take any liberal arts type courses in college, no time with all the math and science, so this is my intro into how discussion and pulling in of many types of sources to make points or explore a theme can be educational. It helps to have a wonderful show, but without the basket cases and all their knowledge, all their expertise, and all their passion, this could have easily been just another really good TV show. Thanks

  2. I love knowing that there are so many people who are just as passionate about Mad Men as I am. I have re-watched the entire series several times. I simply can’t get enough of it. I don’t understand people who say – “I saw a couple of episodes and couldn’t really get into it.” What??!! I saw one episode and was hooked forever. Thank you for this forum and thank you AMC for bringing us such a brilliant TV show.

    • MM isn’t for everyone.
      There is no instant gratification, the plot moves too glacially for a generation that grew up on MTV, and the cut, cut, cut, of the camera.
      For those folks, there’s always the Kardashians.

      • I don’t think it is just generational. I know of older viewers who aren’t impressed with all the wonderful referencing, incredible detail by every department, the real character development, or any of the fantastic virtues of this show. All that creativity and labor flies right beyond them. The type who only wants to see scenes with the main characters by the traditional definition. The type that only watches the ball in a sporting event. Everything else is lost on them. A show like this is useless clutter to them. They like it simple and direct. To be clubbed. And those who find it all too racy.

        • I am 70 years old and have watched Mad Men since season one. The writing and the creativity are the reason. I don’t like every plot line or every character but I have watched every show. For the most part Mad Men has been faithful to the era. One part of the last episode that I found very disturbing and hasn’t been talked about is how the doctors treated Betty when she was diagnosed with cancer. They talked to Henry not to her. No woman I know in 2015 would tolerate such treatment. Those doctors were acting as if Betty was Henry’s property as well as his wife. Betty looked so utterly isolated from the discussion about her health. This episode had more impact about how women were treated in 1970 that Joan’s ranting to Jim Hobart. Mad Men isn’t perfect, but they get it right more often than not.

          • That has been the fairly consistent portrayal of doctors on Mad Men.

          • True, Roberta. With the notable exception of Arnie in Season 6, the doctors we’ve seen on this show are condescending and dismissive of their female patients.

            Coming from Matt Weiner (whose father is a doctor), that’s always struck me as a really interesting choice.

            • You mean, “Doesn’t mean you have to become a strumpet to get your money’s worth”, was not condescending?
              Sounded like sober advice to me.

            • Maybe, and we’ll try to remember to ask him this–maybe he always saw his father as a cut above the rest.

            • Matt Weiner’s father is one of the best neurologists in the world. A friend of mine studied at USC; now a neurologist himself, he calls Dr. Weiner “a legend.”

              “A cut above” — or two! — sounds about right. 🙂

            • Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if a doctor like that had plenty of disparaging stories to tell about other doctors.

            • Actually, Betty’s OB/GYN Dr. Aldridge, while paternalistic and talking Betty out of terminating her third pregnancy (Baby Gene), was never condescending. Also, Sally’s child psychiatrist was remarkably skilled and kept Sally on the rails during a very bad time in her life. Even Dr. Emerson was kind and empathetic to Joan when she was attempting to become pregnant with the rapist’s baby (“as the song says, whatever will be will be”).

          • But compare how Betty tolerated the doctor’s chuvanism with how several season’s earlier how Joan handled the doctor and her pregnancy.

        • I’m 28 and grew up on MTV and was hooked on this show. I’m pretty sure if I show this show to my parents who were children during the 60’s, they wouldnt be too interested. They’re into action packed/cheesy drama shows. Its all about your personal tastes. I LOVVVVVVVVVVVVE watching older shows (reruns). Sometimes my mom would watch with me and other times she responds with ‘UGH, I hate The Brady Bunch! Hated it back then too!’. LOL

          And agreed, its not for everyone.

          • Pamela- I’m 29 and grew up “on MTV” I guess and I have just been captivated by this show since the first five minutes I saw. It changed the way I consume TV and movies and demonstrated that entertainment can be something more than that. I found myself identifying with many characters and it really brought past generations alive for me.
            I hope I never stop rewatching this show. I feel very sad it’s ending. I wonder how it will feel when it’s over.

          • I don’t think it’s a generational thing either. That being said, I’m probably around your parents age and I was sucked in from the get-go. I was born in November 1960, right around the time of Peggy’s baby, so while a little bit of those earliest seasons are a bit of a mystery to me, so much looked familiar, as fashions and styles and attitudes don’t change overnight, not even in the tumultuous ’60’s. The decor I remember, though it was somewhat shopworn by the time I was in elementary school. Older kids making cocktails, pregnant women smoking, sliding around in the backseat with no seatbelts, all this I remember, yet it was still shocking to my current brain. So, you never know, your folks might latch on at some point. I tried to get my mom to watch, and she did for a while. But in the end, it was still too familiar, especially the sexism.
            Maybe it breaks down to viewers that enjoy a great book, and those that don’t. Mad Men is like a great book, one that you don’t want to finish, but you must, you MUST know how it ends.

            • I’m 25 and have been watching this show (and lurking on this blog) for its entire run, since I was about 17. As much as Mad Men is vehicle for nostalgia and re-imagining the past, it’s also been a show about a young woman coming into adulthood. I’m not Peggy’s contemporary in terms of the generation she grew up in, but I am close to being her modern contemporary (as well as Trudy’s, Megan’s, Joyce’s, etc), and watching this show has been a through-line of my entire adult life so far.

              I feel privileged to have had this tool with which to make sense of being a young woman. I remember a few years ago reading a discussion of the pilot episode, when Peggy allows Pete into her apartment, and the the interview with Matt Weiner where he explains that “she was 22, and he took two trains”. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Of COURSE she let him in. Of course she didn’t know better.

              Peggy certainly isn’t the only character I’ve related to or adored over the show’s run, but she is the one who has been grappling with issues that are fundamentally about being a certain type of young woman. Leaving behind her repressive origins to insist that “I am one of those girls”. Measuring, over and over, how the world sees her as having worth – is she most lovable at the gentlemen’s club giggling in a blue dress, or swanning in and out of Ted’s meeting in a black mini? Or can there actually be a space for Peggy, “feeling something”, to effect change through the power of her own voice?

              I’m so glad Peggy’s been around to parallel my early adulthood. I’m still so caught between an anxious investment in performing beauty enough to be desired and loved, and stomping around feeling thwarted and petulant and bickering with men. Mad Men is every bit a show for young people, too. It has given us shots of young female angst in the big city that have as much to say about being a young woman today as anything on Broad City or Girls.

        • I have begged my mother for years to watch Mad Men. I loaned her my S1 box set years ago, and she either didn’t watch it at all or watched a bit of the first episode and stopped. She was a secretary for 30+ years, and I had hoped she would enjoy all the references the show brings. Oh well….I tried.

          • My mom can’t bear the show. It’s not disinterest: what she feels about Mad Men is active dislike.

            She and Betty Draper Francis would be contemporaries. (Mom was born in 1933; the show sets Betty’s birth in about 1932.) Mom is also similar in temperament to the character of Betty. Interestingly, the few episodes she’s watched with my sisters and me have featured Betty. She has loathed every single one.

            There is something about the pacing of Mad Men — the framing of its scenes, its silences, the rhythm of its dialogue — that really puts some viewers off. I’ve always felt that these people sense something in the show’s depths that they don’t want to hear or see.

            I am sure this is the case with my mom. And I understand it: Mom needs the unromantic parts of what she thinks of as the past to stay just where they are.

            Mad Men is not my mother’s show; it’s mine. It is the brainchild of a man who is now 49, a big reader, a fan of great movies and introspection and Jung, and a feminist.

            Just like me. 🙂

            • I’m sure my father (born in 1928, now deceased) hated MM for similar reasons. I’ve always said he had Don’s womanizing ways and Roger’s sense of humor. It was probably one big indictment.

            • Our mom is the same age as Peggy. But she doesn’t really fully relate to these WASPy characters; the Jewish life in New York was very different.

            • This is fascinating Anne.

              My mom was an executive secretary who never got a college degree, went to secretarial school and was super effective very much in the mold of Joan. Her whole career she was surrounded by men who couldn’t solve their own problems and were a lot like children. She started with Pillsbury and later Midwest Oil. She made herself invaluable in every job she had right until she retired in 2007. She died late in 2011 but she really liked Mad Men – the clothes, the offices, oh God the cigarettes! It made her happy to see the show and you could tell it brought back a lot of memories.

              It became a sort of family tradition in the early MM seasons to go to my Mom’s house on Sunday and watch MM with her. Of course the volume had to be outrageously loud but it was a joy to hear her blurt things out like “The IBM Selectric was amazing equipment in those days!” or “You really had to watch those advertising guys coming in from Chicago and New York, they were nice guys but handsey!”

              Things like that.

              She was born in 1925.

            • I actually showed S1 to my grandmother and she was hooked but I dont think she watched the other seasons. She likes sitting and watching something with someone else (we love watching the Golden Girls together! 🙂 ).

              My grandmother was born in 1943 and I loved watching her point out things that were familiar or confirm things here and there. She told little stories or would point out a fashion trend out or say ‘grandpa did that!’ or ‘grandpa drank lots of that!’ (LOL)

              My grandfather died 14 years ago. He was born in 1940. I think he would have been interested in the show. He was a HUGE fan of The Sopranos.

            • I’ve spoken to many women who were young adults at the time, and their reactions to the show are strongly negative — not out of a reaction to pacing or plot but because the way they were treated is still painful. As my own mother said, “I was there, it was awful, and I don’t want to watch a TV show about it!”

            • Anne, my mom was born in 1941. She went to secretarial school and was everything from an executive secretary to Director of Word Processing by the time she retired. According to her, the firm she worked for here in the south/midwest was an old money, family operation where none to very few of the executives cheated, drank, or smoked. However, the local Baptist church had the monopoly on those activities (behind closed doors until it became pubic knowledge).

              It may be a matter of taste as to why she doesn’t like Mad Men. She’s not a big reader, but she vehemently instilled a love of reading in me growing up. Most of the movies I like….she hates. I really do wish she would watch the early episodes, though. The cultural references are what drew me in, but soon the story completely took me over and completely entranced me for these 8 years since the first episode.

            • I’m about the same age as Megan (not a favorite character of mine) and a year or so younger than Peggy. My older sister was Betty and Joan’s generation and she was well acquainted with the business world of 1950s and 1960s. I’ve watched Mad Men from the first season and am bracing myself for tonight’s finale. I often think about Peggy, and as Katie Couric said, I hope her life has been a happy one. I’m not sure of Trudy Campbell’s age but assume she was born about the same time as Peggy. I always admired her, she was much too good for Pete.

              Tonight I will raise a glass to all the men and women of Mad Men.

        • It has more to do with the literary structure of the storyline and the way the material is shot. People can either “get into” literature, or they can’t, it isn’t someone all people can relate to. This is why English Lit seems too demanding for some people in school, while others seem to be able to “get” all of its subtle layers of meaning and how the “story” is just one aspect of it. Even if we set that aside, and consider those who do “get” the whole literary allure: sometimes you just can’t “get into” a particular book you set out to read–you’re not ready to take in that story just yet. I’ve always seen the Mad Men story that way–some of us are ready, and we’re fascinated by its world, and all its layers of meaning keep us interested. Others simply can’t relate to it…yet. Or at all. There are other ways to tell a story that just don’t appeal to me. Oh, well.

      • Also due to the show’s lack of violence, sex (at least graphic), courtroom drama or two-dimensional heroes/villains.
        It is TV equivalent of literature and literature rarely finds itself atop the best seller’s list.

      • cut, cut, cut

        Guessing you liked Altman’s The Player and the security guy’s line in that film.

        • That’s, EXACTLY what I was going for.
          Fred Ward was the security guy, and the film he was paying homage to was Welles’s Touch of Evil.
          jahnghalt I will see that with you anytime.
          You’re a genius.

          • Meet you halfway – (NY/Anchorage)

            Seattle? Denver?

            That was a terrific opening shot (8 minutes) in a terrific film – lots of cameos – Burt Reynolds post-A-list, for example.

            • Oh, man you serious, jahnghalt?
              I’ve always wanted to see the Rocky mountains.

              The Player is Altman’s quiet gem.
              Nashville, and MASH, get all the auteur praise, but he showed he still had it all the way into the 90’s with this one.
              One of my top 10 favorite movies.

            • If you guys meet up in Denver, let me know! 🙂

      • My parents, both retired from agencies mentioned on Mad Men, have never shown interest in the show. They’ve watched a few times and pointed out that real life was never so polished. They hinted that actual sleaze levels probably would have prevented the show from being made. Anyone here who mocks them for preferring lighter television fare is looking for a knock down.

        I was taught how to mix Martini and Manhattan cocktails at age 10 (1965) and was hit on by creepy old guys at parties when I was fourteen. I met some world-known personalities – some were the kindest people you could ever imagine. Everyone smoked. Everyone. I think it was compulsory. Indiscretions that certain clients desired were juggled against squeaky clean expectations of others – often at the same gatherings. Manufacturers of vile toxins were held at a higher level of social esteem ($$$) than locally distributing food concerns. It was a strange and off-balanced lifestyle – an aura Mad Men’s writers have done well at capturing.

        But through the character stream my parents pointed out how personal taste is not the measure of a person. I’ve not found this advice incorrect in my lifetime.

        I love the artistic presence of the show.- if someone else prefers the artistic curve of a Kardashian I’m fine with that. What I’m not good with is those who excuse how horribly women were/are treated in the work force by using female sexuality as an excuse for continuing disparagement.


        • taught how to mix Martini and Manhattan cocktails at age 10

          Sally was seven (?) when she made tomato/vodka highballs one fine Sunday for Betty and Don – pretty stiff – more than half vodka.

          • Yuck. I would never ruin tomato juice with vodka. I will admit to a lifelong love of a well mixed Manhattan that was acquired at that tender age.

            Extra cherry and vermouth please.

            • Most of my life I was a wine and beer man. We played around with martinis in the mid-90s (and guests liked that we took trouble). Didn’t get into it (then) like a friend who was part of two couples sharing a house – they filled a water cooler with gin.

              Around Season three I’d order an old-fashioned at bars – the results were all over the map. I once asked a bartender about it – she resorted to her bar manual. I discovered that rye was the recommended base liquor, so I started swirling table sugar in Rye (the choice of the Francis’ new town can’t be coincidence), dashed in some bitters, poured over ice – called it good. I found out I like rye a lot – neat – even a glass is not strictly necessary (drinking alone).

              I now have several bar manuals – including the legendary The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks – several cocktail shakers and juicers. I’d have a better stocked liquor cabinet, but the daughter comes over and mixes for the young crowd that slips in and out. I keep upping her “bar tab” (approaching four figures by now) but she ignores me.

    • I, too, have watched the entire run of the show several times. Why? Because every time I do, I see something I hadn’t noticed before. There are so many subtleties to uncover; such wonderful acting to bring various thoughts, feelings and motivations to life.

      I’ve never been a big TV or movie watcher. I like sports, but that’s about it. I usually prefer reading. But a friend recommended this show midway through Season 4, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

      In addition to loving the show, I also love this forum. There are just so many intelligent people here, who help me notice things I hadn’t noticed before, or offer a perspective I hadn’t considered.

      So I’d like to extend a big thank-you to the Lipp Sisters and everyone else who has augmented my enjoyment of the Greatest Television Show Ever!!!

      • I hope we’ll be able to keep up some Mad Men discussion after the show ends. I for one would certainly like to!

        • I’ll need some mourning time.
          Then, I’ll dive back in.

          I can’t believe I will never see Don Draper again.

          • We will have to settle for Jon Hamm

            (not the same thing – I know)

            Or Lizzy Moss

            (closer – but still not the same)

            Or Christina….

    • I am loving reading everyone’s descriptions of how they (all sorts of differently-aged people) and people in their families of many different ages have reacted to Mad Men. It’s so interesting to hear about who likes it and who doesn’t. For some of the people who are the age of the characters in the show, I wonder if the reason they didn’t like it was because it hit too close to home.

      I love the British version of “The Office,” but my husband literally finds the show too painful to watch. He says it reminds him too much of his workplace.

      • I love the British version of The Office, which is why I could never get into the US version. The first few episodes were too derivative, and I was so invested in Ricky Gervais and Co. already.

        I’m sorry it reminds your husband of his workplace. I guess it could be worse – it could be like Office Space.

    • Me either! I’ve begged family members, friends to watch…only a very few ever have, or even currently watch the best TV show of all time.

      I dunna ken it.

  3. Oh, Sal!!! I still am holding out hope that we’ll see him again. I know it’s not likely, but I’ve always wondered where he would have ended up.

    • Sal is the one person I have been looking for each episode. I would like to know that he is OK. Still holding out hope.

      • Well according to Matt Weiner when he let Batt know he was being written out at the time, he was reassured that Sal is “not dead.” So I guess that’s the best we might get (although I saw someone joke somewhere, how about another “Better Call Sal” sequel/prequel?) 😛

  4. Nostalgia: the pain from an old wound.

  5. Alva Oklahoma actually exists. It is at the junctions of US64 and US281. If Don Draper kept heading west on US64 he would eventually reached the Grand Canyon. It is apparent that Don hates the interstates. He was traveling a lightly traveled highway not Interstate 40. Matt has for the most part done superb research. West of Alva on US64 was the epicenter of the 1930’s dust bowl; the Oklahoma Panhandle. To the east is Tulsa and Wichita is to the northeast. He might see Pete there. Anyway, cant wait until Sunday Night!

    • Actually, I CAN wait for Sunday Night—–because after that, there will be no more NEW episodes to savor.
      But our glass is way over half full with the 92 jewels we will have….always………
      Thank you to all for sharing this unforgettable journey…………

    • Not only are the Interstates boring – they are the worse way to see America – unless seeing the same chain gas stations, restaurants, and flops are your idea of “America”.

      Everyone is in such a hurry. At spring break my Texas hosts recommended the Interstates for a quick 200-mile trip south to the Gulf – I ignored them and got a nice dose of rural Texas – even though I was also in a hurry.

    • My grandmother went to Oklahoma Normal College in Alva OK in 1916, graduated in1918. (Normal =teachers college) . Taught in a one room school house for years. That is one thing I have always enjoyed about this show, total reality for details, places. Nothing destroys your belief faster than sloppy details! But I must say, this show has hit all the bases every time. Clothes, hairstyles, furniture, attitudes, even the food! Total dead on reality, down to the fish sticks for supper.

  6. I am 56 years old and I remember just about everything I see in this show. My mother was a legal secretary and worked for Paine Webber, Mudge Rose and the Federal Reserve Bank at different times. My fathers name was Henry and he died in1966, so the memories of this era mean so much to me. My husbands middle name is Francis. I don t think Matthew Weiner left anything out. I also am of Norwegian descent and grew up in Bay Ridge Brooklyn and knew there was something exciting going on in New York City or Manhattan, but didn’t know exactly what. Thanks to Mr. Wiener, now I know some of what was happening. Thank you so much Mr. Wiener for explaining to us all everything that might have confused us about this time. Dorothy Shofner

    • Dorothy you’re awesome.

      • I am 56 years old and I remember just about everything I see in this show. My mother was a legal secretary and worked for Paine Webber, Mudge Rose and the Federal Reserve Bank at different times. My fathers name was Henry and he died in1966, so the memories of this era mean so much to me. My husbands middle name is Francis. I don t think Matthew Weiner left anything out. I also am of Norwegian descent and grew up in Bay Ridge Brooklyn and knew there was something exciting going on in New York City or Manhattan, but didn’t know exactly what. Thanks to Mr. Wiener, now I know some of what was happening. Thank you so much Mr. Wiener for explaining to us all everything that might have confused us about this time. Dorothy Shofner

    • The sets and costumes – mostly outside New York – were really reminiscent of my childhood. Don wore my Dad’s tie (when Anna first confronted him). Anna had my mother’s curtains (when Don visited Anna). Peggy had my mother’s chrome-steel-and-formica kitchen table (when she got her ponytail lopped off).

  7. I keep telling myself that Betty is a fictional character–and I know she is–but I have been really sad for the past few days! I also have few people in my life that are this into the show–this blog has been so helpful. Betty and all the characters are so real and what happened to her and her family happen for real everyday. She said that when people tell you it’s over they are usually telling the truth because they don’t want to say it–I think that’s a message from MW to all of us. We know he’s telling us the show is terminal–why can’t I accept it with the same grace as Betty?

    • I smoke. I’ve been thinking about Betty all week.

      • Smoker, and have been thinking bout her too.

        • Because even though Betty is a fictional character what happened to her is very real and happens to real people every single day. What’s particularly sad/poignant is that Betty wasn’t in advertising. She represents the average targeted consumer (remember when she bought the beer just as they predicted?). The advertisers sold her, the consumer a product that when used correctly will kill you but they didn’t say it’s poisonous–its toasted. Don threw the health report on cigarettes into the trash can in the very first episode. I don’t know why we’re all shocked. With all the smoking on this show it’s amazing they all don’t have lung cancer. The only surprising thing is that none of us saw it coming–which is exactly how a terminal diagnosis usually goes!

          • I figured someone was bound to die of lung caner, but I thought it would be Roger.

        • It’s crazy, it’s it? It takes a fictional character, one that’s only somewhat likeable at that, to get us to really think about what we’re doing to ourselves. When I was a kid, my mom’s best friend was a Betty, if you can imagine her in a very happy marriage, with a wicked sense of humor and 7 kids. “Gerri” even had her blond goddess self painted by the Breck Girl guy, the canvas looks disturbingly like the Betty picture from a few posts back here on the Basket. Gerri succumbed to lung cancer in the early ’70’s. I’ve been thinking of her, too.
          Her last greeting to my parents in the hospital? “Hey, guess what? I quit smoking!”

          • That’s too fucking macabre.
            Should we quit cold turkey on May 17 after the last first run episode?
            “Quitting smoking is easy”, said the great Samuel Clements,” I’ve done it hundreds of times”.
            There you go kturk, nothing to it.
            Are you game?

            • Yes! Do it in memory of Betty and Mad Men!

            • I’m seriously considering it. I know it sounds like a cop out, but that’s what I’m doing. Seriously.

            • I hope you guys do!!!!

            • I’m watching some of the marathon tonight and notice there is hardly a Betty scene where she isn’t smoking. In light of last week’s episode really sad knowing what’s in store for her. I feel Iike yelling at the TV “Stop smoking Betty!!”

            • DO IT!

            • Stop now!

              Dad was two packs, and mom almost three a day. In their 30’s both had severe lung/other issues and went cold-turkey in 1970. He just had a healthy 88th with mom at his side.

            • Please do. Quit two years ago, Chantix.

              Weird dreams? Just pretend you’re Betty in “The Fog”.


            • Quit. Who knows, you might only be just in time to save your life.

        • me too…smoker

    • Barbara, I too have felt an emptiness since watching Betty’s story unfold Sunday night. Every moment January Jones was on screen was simply magical, a performance I will remember always. And, most of all, I will hold dear Betty’s reply to Henry asking why she is attending class after being given a death sentence (“Why are you doing that?”). “Why was I ever doing it?” are words to live by– do things you want just for the joy of doing them. My spirit was lifted as I watched Betty climb the stairs defiantly, looking as beautiful as we’ve ever seen her. I was reminded of the defiance Betty showed in shooting at the pigeons with the BB gun while wearing a flowing negligee. As a mother, I absolutely understood Betty’s anger towards the neighbor who threatened Polly and thus her children. Betty was willing to put up with a lot of crap but don’t mess with her kids. God, I’m going to miss this show!

  8. Mad Men is a show about advertising and an era, but it’s mostly about people within this context. In the area of production (writing, directing, lighting, settings, costumes, props and, of course, acting) it’s like a beautiful, intricate hand fashioned tapestry. It’s also a crazy quilt. And it’s like ink blot cards, as we watch the episodes unfold. We’re completely drawn into it. It resonates with us and we relate to it and it reveals our joys, terrors, hopes, dreams and desires. Mad Men is magnificent. It is television that matters.

    • Growing up in this era, I thought I was missing out but thanks to this show, I missed nothing and am grateful for what I had.

  9. “People move, change jobs, get fired and are never heard of again. This is life, folks.”

    So true. (Luckily in the age of Facebook we can keep up with former co-workers and former neighbors much more easily than it used to be)

    Much as I miss the characters we don’t see any more on Mad Men (Sal, etc.), I do know that is true to life. However, in life we do have random encounters (or sometimes not-so-random) with people from our past, so I like that Matt Weiner does sometimes bring back characters – Paul, Danny, Midge, etc. So if he chooses to bring back Sal or Smitty or Allison or Hildy for the final episode, I’d be very happy.

  10. Thank you again to the Lipp Sisters for this wonderful blog!

    I’d heard about MM before S3 and didn’t think much of it. Then one night I was working late and had the TV on for background. I can’t remember exactly, but I think there was a scene with Betty and Don and all of sudden I was mesmerized and forgot my work. And then I began to record the late night AMC reruns and became hooked.

    Thanks also to all the Basketwriters and Basketcases who have made the MM viewing experience better for me and so many other fans!

    • I can barely recall why I started renting season one – probably because NPR (Terry Gross?) had given it some favorable notices. At some point I stumbled onto this blog and it was all over.

  11. On AMC just now, Peggy said, “Here’s your basket of kisses.”

    And I started crying like a baby.

  12. I am so sad that this show is ending and I have very a few friends that watch it casually but this blog has really helped work through the episodes and all the real emotions that come from them. My father gave me the DVDs of the first season. It was already into the second or third season and I was hooked. I quickly caught up and then somehow discovered this blog. I sent the link to this blog to my father and it and the show was something special that we shared. My father died in 2011–Tomrrowland was the last episode he saw. I remember him commenting on the scene at the end with Don and Betty in the kitchen waiting for the realtor–“she still has feelings for him.” When I talk to my mother about how much we miss him and all the things he’s missing out on, we always add Mad Men to the list! It sounds crazy but I feel so sad that he’s not going to see the finale and see how it all turns out. My father (a little younger than Don–about Pete’s age) also worked on Madison Avenue in the 70s and 80s as a managing editor for Family Circle Magazine. I worked there summers during college helping the editorial assistant/secretaries and editors and the feel of the office was very similar to the show. This show was a connection to that and him and I’m really sad to see it end. I really appreciate this forum to share my feelings about it. Looking forward to and dreading Sunday night at the same time!

  13. Basketeers —

    I get sadder and sadder each day as we approach the day of the series finale. A friend posted on a Mad Men facebook page that the show is ending at the right time for where the show is, from a literary perspective (which shows that MW knows what he is doing), and I actually agree with that. It’s a perfect closed system.

    BUT — I am still heartbroken, and almost panicky, a little, at the thought that there will be no more new episodes of Mad Men. Ever. Never again will I get to experience the surprise and amazement and exhilaration and incredulity and (sometimes) frustration and delight and joy and sadness and anger and horror and disgust and admiration and love that I feel every time I see a new Mad Men episode. No episode will ever be new for me again. That is a huge loss for me.

    Though there have been times in my life that I have liked and followed certain TV series, Mad Men is literally the only show I watch, currently. So when it is over I will probably shut the TV cabinet and leave it shut. I love literature, always have, and to me, Mad Men is great literature. It is a brilliant multi-volume novel that it has taken me almost a decade to read. I will read it again, but it will never be new for me again.

    I feel like I am grieving the death of a person I know. And of course I am — I am grieving Betty. But also, I am grieving the death of Mad Men itself.

  14. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Weiner for clearing up any confusion I had growing up. He has done for me what forty years of therapy could not.

  15. My initiation with Mad Men came through my twin brother. He had been watching season one and said “you gotta see this show!” I asked him what was so special and he said couldn’t say for sure just that I had to watch. So I started watching part way through S1 and soon was fully hooked. The initial attraction was the attention to detail and the look of the show. The sets, the clothes, the lighting, the shots, the music – everything.

    Then the writing took hold on me and I simply had nothing to compare it to. The closest thing I could come up with was the Coen Bros. movies. Just amazing care – craftsmanship really. I don’t watch a ton of television partly because most of it is just not very smart or entertaining. I believe Mad Men has had a positive impact on Television and especially cable channels. There are smarter, quality shows available because of Mad Men and a handful of others. Mad Men is like that really good class you took with that extra demanding teacher. It holds the viewer to a higher standard and doesn’t do the work for us – we have to do our homework and show up ready for class. On top the amazing level of quality, Mad Men challenges us and that makes it a cut above.

    Much more than a good looking and smart show, the great writing and acting also created a real emotional bond. The Wheel is still a revelation to me. The visual of Don coming home to that empty house on Thanksgiving remains one of the most poignant and heartbreaking moments in the whole series.

    Today, Mad Men drives a hundred expert reviews, recaps, venues for blog and comment every week. But, in the beginning there was only the Lipp Sisters (and soon BoK!). By Season 2 it was time for me to go off to the intertubes to see who shared my love for this little TV show and there, virtually alone, was Deborah and Roberta Lipp. Like a tiny online outpost they promoted, protected and defended this wonderful but still vulnerable cable experiment. Soon I was here bravely chatting with complete strangers about a television show – and loving it!

    Basket of Kisses was then and is now such a wonderful home to share and learn together. Smart and safe and welcoming – a real joy. I’m so happy that this place is here now and will still be here to share about this amazing show and the other shows that are a cut above. Thank you, thank you Deb and Roberta!

    • For me,………There ain’t no Mad Men without this blog.
      It’s as important as the show.
      I mean my head explodes if I don’t get the perspectives of the brilliant viewers who share their often piercing insight.
      I just, GOTTA have it.
      BoK, is the home office of MM.
      It’s a fantasy of mine to have MW himself actually participate on the open thread on the final day.
      As we applaud him, it would be all kinds of helacious awesome if he gave it up for our hosts, Deb and Ro.
      (Standing ovation.)

      • YOU GUYS!

      • And thanks for keeping the forum “Smart and safe and welcoming – a real joy.”

        Viewing vicious, snarky comments and replies on other.blogs and review sites, I am so grateful for our moderators for keeping us basketcases respectful of one another.

        • I agree. This blog has been a tremendous resource and an incredible enhancement to my obsession with MM. Thank you for the opportunity to share and deepen my understanding of the greatest show in television history. I always find one or two comments that will send me into a binge of re-watching that lasts weeks at a time. My family thinks there is something wrong with me and I could care less!

  16. Has this been happening to other Mad Men viewers, since this past Sunday’s episode?

    I’ve been checking in on the MM Marathon on AMC and I’ve become very conscious of the scenes in which Betty is smoking cigarettes. It’s like that thing when you buy a new car, then start noticing that ones like yours are all over the place.

    • SmilerG –

      Absolutely. There are been many callbacks and things I’ve noticed.

      But Betty and the cigarettes – so very conscious of it.

    • I was stunned watching “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” again at all the tobacco and cancer references. It seemed as if half the scenes were discussions of smoking and its dangers (and how to sell cigarettes despite that).

    • I noticed it too, Smiler G. It’s really cool to go back and watch all these episodes again. MM is like an intricate puzzle. I also didn’t remember part of Don’s pitch to Lucky Strike where he says that people want to hear “you’re ok.” It made the comment from Roger in Lost Horizon even more poignant.

      • It would be interesting to see Mad Men re-cut into a chronological order, a la The Godfather Saga, that pretty much did that to The Godfather and Godfather II.

        • Interesting thought. I’ve never watched the Saga, but I’ve seen GF I and GF II more times than I can count. I don’t know if I can watch it any other way than its original cut – might be interesting, though!

          GF 3 goes in the same category as the GWTW book sequel and (potentially) Harper Lee’s upcoming release. I’m sad that MM is over, but glad that MW obviously understands this, too. It’s one of the many reasons I admire the hell out of him.

      • Yes, noticed this too….

  17. Yes. It’s hard to find a scene where she’s not smoking.

  18. there will always be love and war and good and evil as represented by mm characters but maybe never as well.

  19. My prediction on how the series ends: it’s an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Camera zooms in on Don’s face. He sets his jaw, licks his lips, and says:

    “I’m Dick Whitman, and I’m an alcoholic.”

    Then, The Beatles: “And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love you make.”

    Fade to black

    • I’m guessing “The Long and Winding Road”

    • I know you didn’t mean this in a funny sense, but my first thought was “Don is going to have a ton of love to take given the number of women we have seen him with over the last 10 years”. Didn’t someone make a video of short clips showing Don with all the various and sundry women he knew, and I do mean that in the biblical sense, a few years ago?

      • Ahhh…but was he giving to those women…or taking from them? I would argue the latter.

    • Given that it won’t bring viewers back the following week, I’m guessing that AMC won’t foot the bill for the use of another Beatles song.

  20. Deb/Roberta,

    I remember the famous S1 poster promo, thinking…mmm I love the 60’s this could be interesting

    I think I discovered you guys (perchance via Google) in S2 as I was bursting at the seams thinking…”are there other viewers out there watching WHAT I’m watching?”

    (Plus I’m a massive Bond fan so the connection to Deb through her fan book was a no-brainer!)

    All the best with the MM party (love to be there, but unfortunately the trek from Australia to NY is quite arduous) and I look forward to B Copper’s prediction post and all the wonderful smart and thoughtful views of those Basketeers

    Thanks again ladies for all your efforts


  21. I was born in the summer of 1969 from parents both born in 1934. My dad had polio and spent a year in San Joaquin county hospital in Stockton. He ran away to Richmond Ca, to be a homeless street kid, to be a IBM executive in San Jose. My mom grew up in a dairy farm that became Intel HQ, she was one of the first woman administrators in the Campbell Union School District, Three moments in Mad Men that make me lose it is the Wheel speech, the Summer man when Don picks up baby gene. And in care of when Don shows where he grew up, I remember in 1985 when my dad took me, in my Salvation Army finest with Punk Rock buttons to see how he grew up in 11 places in 10 years in Lodi Ca.

  22. Watching the marathon and looking forward to “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” and “Christmas Waltz.” But, in the first one (Season 4, Episode 2), when Allison goes to Don’s apartment after the office party, there is dialogue I cannot hear. When he whispers to her on the couch, saying: You smell good……..what does she answer?

    Thanks for any help.

  23. Meanwhile, back at the MM Marathon on AMC …

    So I’m watching the S-3 episode, “The Fog,” in which Betty gives birth to Baby Gene and there’s Don in the waiting room with another expectant father, a guard at Sing Sing, whose name is Dennis Hobart.

    Did we ever explore any family connection with McCann honcho, Jim Hobart?

  24. Food for thought …

    Watched Out of Town last night. Right before Sally crawls into bed with Betty and Don, he tells her that he will always come home to her.

    Let’s see if he does.

    • Given that Betty’s time is short (and that Sally surely told him on their next call) and that the time for the narrative is likely even shorter (before the blue chiffon gown), Don will undoubtedly return to Rye and the City. Gotta tie up the Don/Peggy, Don/Roger, Don/Pete Don/Joan loose ends – and the writer’s WILL (have already) contrive a circumstance where he runs into Pete.

      • Just as long as he doesn’t run into Diana.

      • Don does have a fascination with aeroplanes…

        Lear Jet is likely Don’s first account of his new agency?

      • I’m pretty sure there will be something with Don and Peggy. I just know there’s going to be something important with Peggy, because Matt has always said there was a reason he started the show with Peggy’s first day at the office. I’m hoping for another scene with Don and Sally.

  25. Omg watching the suitcase. Anna just died. Don cries “someone very important to me just died. The only person who really knew me.” Peggy says, “That’s not true.” How many times have I seen it? How can it still make me cry every single time?

  26. I wish I had checked for a marathon series recap discussion – separate from all the episode reruns — earlier.

    I do catch a lot more stuff in the replays. And I took the opportunity of watching Season One on Netflix independent of the on-air AMC marathon.

    I may finally need to buy a Blu-Ray player to free myself from “what will Netflix have on this month?”

  27. And for the record, “My Old Kentucky Home” remains a masterwork of modern American television. Watching this slams me in the face with just how amazing episodes like “Shut The Door, Have A Seat” were.

  28. And Don 86es tobacco.

  29. Has anyone else noticed how much more energy everyone seems to have, the anger, passion, as compared to this last season……I mean the rerun that is going on now, specifically the tobacco episode

    • Pretty much analogous to real life. By 1970, they had worked with each other another five or six years. They all slow down.

  30. And for the record, Tampax DESTROYED Etta James’ 1960 recording of “Trust Me.”

    Dynamited it. Blew it to smithereens. I used to love playing it at weddings in the 1980s. Now, people laugh.

    • The power of advertising

      • Oddly, that entire 1960 Etta James LP (“At Last!”, Chess/Argo Records) was mostly Etta triumphing over marginal material and, on some tracks, truly stupid white backup singers (picture an ensemble backing, say, Pat Boone or Connie Francis).

        But even Etta’s soaring, concrete-splitting vocals couldn’t triumph over visions of, well, “that not-so-fresh feeling,” so I pulled that out of my playlists around 1992.

    • The Beatles’ Revolution for Nike. Or Come Together (minus an anti-corporate lyric) for some corporation.

  31. I know we shouldn’t expect a sequel or a prequel or a spinoff, but I’m really looking forward to the angry, bitter tell-all book, co-authored by all the previous Bobbys!

  32. What is cool-whip?

    • A very artificial type of whipped topping that is supposed to be like whipped cream. It is not but some people seem to love it, I have seen people eat with spoons right out of the container, adults not children. Amazing

    • You can find it in the freezer section. Just let it defrost a bit. I have not had it in ages, now I want some. As a kid my favorite dessert was Jello chocolate pudding mixed with 1/2 a tub of Cool Whip. Something I could make myself when I was 4.

  33. Anyone notice (watching the marathon) that AMC just keeps referring to MM/Jon in the Golden Globe sense, sans the Emmy sense?

    Interesting. ;O)

  34. Watching severance on marathon. The song “is that all there is” is about a house that burns down. In milk and honey route there’s a fundraiser for a drunk who burned down his house and Don has figuratively burned down his house and his whole life. Also just had a thought firing the opening with the falling man. Dons aimless drive across the country is a kind of free fall and now we’ll see where he lands.

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