The AMC television series “Mad Men” came to a close this past Sunday. After eight years, the critically-acclaimed show culminated in a dreamy reairing of Coca-Cola’s famous “Buy the World a Coke” ad from 1971. Critics panned it, but I saw the scene as a fitting end for a show about America’s cultural declivity into the hell of moral relativism. In its prime, the sentiment of the sing-songy Coke ad was nice, but the idealism of the post-1960s was too infantile to work, as we now know four decades later.
Within the show’s context, the ad didn’t represent world peace. Rather, it was one of the resolutions sought by the show’s main characters. It was the end product of protagonist Don Draper’s journey to the pits of sorrow and back. To use the cliché phrase, it also represented the End of an Era (the show’s timeline spanned from 1960 to 1970). Though the series finale was ambiguous and not entirely conclusive, “Mad Men” as a show contained some of the hardest lessons learned in life. In between the drinking, impropriety, womanizing, scams, backstabbing, and licentiousness, there were acute moments of actual humanity.