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Mad Men, I’ll miss you most

Posted: May 13, 2014 9:40 a.m.
Updated: May 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.

It’s always a little sad when your favorite TV show announces it’s in its last season. Sometimes a show stays on TV for way too long and wears out its welcome and sometimes it exits quiet and gracefully at the appropriate time. Unfortunately in many cases, the devoted viewers often feel it’s a bit of a premature departure.

There are several shows that I would say are my favorite TV shows of all time. I greatly enjoyed The Office, both the American and British versions; I am very enthusiastic about House of Cards; I was enamored with Arrested Development, even the episodes that came on Netflix 10 years after the show’s end … those were not as good as the original, but still good; and I love, yes love, Mad Men.

I’ve never felt as strongly about a show as I do about Mad Men. I think of it as an intricately crafted work of art, and I’m not exaggerating. The show portrays an era of dynamic change in American history and culture -- the 1960s -- and it does so in the most genuine and authentic ways.

I have always been a person who admired the understated in humor, drama and other genres of entertainment. I appreciate the subtle joke. Though Mad Men is not a comedy, it utilizes nuance and understatement exceptionally well, almost to the point where it could be an instruction on how to be effectively subtle.

None of my friends or family is nearly as obsessed with the show as I am. My older sister who perceives herself to be a TV and movie connoisseur likes the show, but not on such an obsessive level as I do. It’s hard at times because I don’t have anyone I can talk to about it, but then there’s a very selfish part of me that doesn’t want everyone else to latch on to it, because I don’t really like to share. I also am somewhat of the mindset when anything becomes overly popular, its appeal plummets. So, I’m glad to be one of the elite … which is probably only in my own mind, but that’s just fine.

Aside from subtlety and understatement, I think Mad Men has impeccable character development. Everyone portrayed on that show rings true; the authenticity is astounding. I’ve watched Sally, Bobby and Gene Draper grow up in a tumultuous era, the children of divorced parents during a time when divorce wasn’t common. The struggles they face and the choices they make are very real, like when Sally chooses to go to boarding school to get away from the bad behavior she sees her father exhibiting at home, only to get suspended almost immediately for making very similar choices herself.

The show also tackles the issue of women moving upward in the workplace as it follows Peggy’s journey from secretary to account executive. Peggy is a paradigm of how talent, hard work and personal morals actually do count for something in our society, even for a woman trying to make it in a man’s world.

And yes, of course, I am madly in love with Don Draper. A part of me secretly hopes that when the show is finally over, Jon Hamm in full Don Draper attire and persona, will be waiting at my doorstep when I get home from work one day, looking at me with that quietly tortured look from under the brim of his hat, as he smokes a cigarette and holds his overcoat on his arm. I know he won’t be able to stay long because that’s just his way, but for him I could accept just about anything.

All silliness and ridiculous fantasy crushes aside, I think a TV show that can tell a beautiful, yet painfully honest story about life in America as well as Mad Men does is one that will be sorely missed by its fans, though we may be small in number, when it’s gone. Luckily, Netflix has the entire series through Season 6 and it’s never too late for someone currently unfamiliar with the show to become a lifelong fan. And for those critics among us who gripe because they say, “Nothing happens on the show,” I would say, “Sometimes you have to close your mouth and watch and listen to pick up on what’s really going on. It takes patience, but I promise it’s worth it.”

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