Sunday’s series finale of the AMC advertising drama “Mad Men” ended with a somewhat ambiguous final scene. Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) has left advertising and is in Southern California trying to “find” himself. As the show ends, Draper is meditating at a hippie commune and the camera catches him beginning to smile. And as he does, the theme song from the iconic Coke Commercial “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” begins to play. So what does that mean?
Jon Hamm gave an interview to the NY Times and in his mind, it’s pretty clear what that final scene was supposed to represent:
“My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is,” says Hamm. “And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this [idea for the Coke ad] comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, ‘Wow, that’s awful.’ But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led.”
But while Hamm might have his opinion on what the scene meant, the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, has his own take on the scene according to Ricardo Guimarães BMG. During a discussion Wesdnesday night with author A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library, Weiner offered a more ambiguous take on the ending:
“In the abstract, I did think, why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made? In terms of what it means to people and everything, I am, again, not for ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake, but it was nice to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of what is advertising, who is Don and what is that thing?”