Nothing stays the same

May 20, 2015

don_draper_sitting_on_a_cadillac_cool___by_atomickirby-d6bq2e7Nothing stays the same, and sometimes, that makes us sad.  In that vein, we said goodbye this week to a series that was almost universally loved for its pitch-perfect depiction of life in an advertising agency in the 1960s and early 1970s.

We’d watched Mad Men since the start (was it only 2007?), marveling at the detailed perfection of its setting and at its spot-on replication of 1960s and 1970s society. We admired how well the characters showed us that era’s values and mores, a reminder for some of us who lived it and a lesson for those who came after. It didn’t just ring a bell, it pealed a carillon.

All the best lines were his.

Even when it jumped the shark, as it did from time to time, it captured our attention more than so many other television programs. Its characters amused us, bemused us and puzzled us, or we laughed at how familiar they seemed. Oh, how familiar!


You’d have to have been asleep to not notice that the women got stronger as the years passed. How fun it was to watch! Maybe more fun than it was to live, actually.

We loved looking at those long, sleek Cadillacs, at the shirtwaist dresses and that bouffant hair that had been sprayed to within an inch of its life. Former model Betty Draper’s dresses and evening gowns were wonders to behold. And even Joan’s industrial-strength brassiere couldn’t contain her eye-catching assets.

The Sterling Cooper crew lived in our era–civil rights, feminism, peace and love– and their struggles were ours, too, just in a little different way.

6d4ea_1sterling-cooperHere in the 21st century it’s hard to believe that we’ve been adults since barely past the mid-2oth. That we came of age during the 1960s and 1970s and wore those same clothes, the ones that are now considered “vintage.” We might not have been in our careers long enough to merit bars in our own offices but we worked with people who had them.

All of those things the Mad Men and Women went through? We went through them, too, in one way or another.  Watching this series was like reliving our youth and I loved every minute of it.

I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to this series: it’s like saying goodbye to my youth one more time.

 Life really is a series of goodbyes to those innocent days when we were young and carefree.  Time passes in moments we’ll never have again. Don Draper’s are digitally preserved, but our farewell moments are preserved in our hearts and minds.

Maybe our first farewell to youth came when a parent died. Or when our childhood homes went up for sale.  When my elementary school became an office building and the facade of my high school was renovated, those were goodbyes, too.  When the house next door to my parents burned down — and never rebuilt–the gaping hole in the neighborhood was another reminder that nothing stays the same.


And nothing stayed the same for the crew at Sterling Cooper, either.  Despite a series known for its darkness, the Mad Men writers gave us a largely happy ending and for that, I thank them.  It was a relief to see the constantly tormented characters have a chance at a happy life. Except for poor Betty. But even that was a smart choice by the writers as she was never a sympathetic character.

It almost didn’t matter whether they all fell apart afterwards, because for us, their lives ended on a high note and for us, they’ll live forever in those moments of happiness.

So, let’s talk about favorite characters on the show.  Roger had all the best lines and remains the most amusing character for me, and probably for most of us.  How about you? Favorite character or favorite moment?



29 comments on “Nothing stays the same
  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I am not a big fan of change, so sometimes I wish things did stay the same.

  2. Sandy says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve never watched this show, but yes change is inevitable. There are times when I wish things would stay the same and not have to change…but such is life.

  3. Some change is good. The civil rights movement, breaking down gender stereotypes and the acceptance of LGBT. The rise of religious fanatics and hate crimes isn’t so good. Just when it looks like we’ve turned the corner we’re back in the cul-de-sac again. Let’s hope we finally get out of it one day.

  4. Mary says:

    I’ve never watched this show, but I have always heard wonderful things about it. Maybe I can have a weekend binge watching session on Netflix. I like change, it gives us something to gook forward to!

  5. I’m glad nothing stays the same. I haven’t watched the show yet but your images are hilarious.

  6. I love change except for getting older, LOL. Yes, the show is hilarious!

  7. Amy says:

    I haven’t watched the show, but I do believe change is good. Abrupt change can be unnerving, but I believe all changes have purpose.

  8. When I began watching this show I was ‘stunned’. These were my parents. My father was in advertising and my mother WAS a model. Holy SH*T. It explained sooooo much. I lived it but through the eyes of a young child. It was a tumultuous time, full of cultural change and girdles, but, for me, the show explored the self-absorption of the era- a time when ‘parenting’ was still not a priority, so it’s no wonder that I watched this show through the eyes of Sally. ps: Roger was my fav too.

  9. Diane says:

    Yeah, Carol, I’m pretty much mired in the past! 🙂
    (It’s peaceful there . . .)

  10. I think I am probably the only person in the world who has never watched this show. You’ve made me regret that. I’ll have to hit up Netflix and start from the beginning if I can!

  11. Jennifer says:

    Nothing ever seems as simple as it did in childhood. I only watched the show a couple of times, so can’t comment on a specific character. But it is like seeing your childhood pass before your eyes. And some of it wasn’t always pretty, so change is a good thing in my eyes.

  12. Such a great show. I need to go back and watch a few episodes I missed.

  13. Laura Ehlers says:

    Loved the show and loved the ending! That devilish grin on Don’s face as the bell chimes and the final image came on!! Still chuckling. For me, the show let me live the life I wanted at 12years old-New York, advertising, those clothes!! The characters developed in such a phenomenal manner! I will forever cheer Peggy’s entrance to McCann-Erikson!!

  14. Angelica says:

    I have to admit, I never watched the show but I’m looking forward to binge watching if Netflix ever picks it up.

  15. Britney says:

    This is pretty great! Sometimes change is hard! Thanks for sharing this post!

  16. Lana says:

    I’ll get in line behind Rena, because I’ve never watched Mad Men. I’m definitely adding it to my Netflix.

  17. Alana says:

    My husband and I watched some of the first season. Husband stopped watching – said it was “too depressing”. Gee, I wonder why? I grew up in the 50’s and that show was a little bit of my childhood, although neither of my parents were in advertising. I should have kept watching on my own, but I don’t watch too much TV. My favorite character in the short time I watched? Betty Draper. How I felt for her! Maybe one day, I’ll return to watching, now that the series has ended.

  18. Carolann says:

    Hubby and I were just talking about this during dinner tonight. It is sad and yes, like a piece of you left behind that seemed so very long ago. I love that quote about setting goals. I never watched the show, but I guess I’m going to have to get started.

  19. Shasta says:

    I am really going to miss this one. As a lover of all things marketing it was one of the first shows I couldn’t wait to watch each week.

  20. Choya says:

    I have never watched Mad Men, but I interviewed John Hamm when he starred in Million Dollar Arm. A lot of the people I was with said Mad Men was a good show, maybe I need to pull a quick marathon of it, i’m sure its on dvd.

  21. I never got into Mad Men (probably because my husband was in advertising and saw enough of that in real life!) but I have felt very sad when certain TV shows have ended so I totally relate!

  22. I didn’t watch Mad Men. But I usually welcome change except when it comes to my kids. I won’t let them grow up.

  23. Liz Mays says:

    This is definitely on my list of shows to binge watch. I’m rotating five on Netflix right now, but when one wraps up, this is next.

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