Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Continuing our 24/7 "Mad Men" coverage: "Mad Men" -- the Alternate Endings (with music cues)


by Noah

All right. Enough of Mad Men. We spent more than enough time wondering how the show will end. Now we know. And, now we can be reminded that there’s more important stuff in the world, really.

The true ending was fine. Whatever. But, I might have liked any or all of these possible endings (below) better. The man known to most as Don Draper very well may have many alternate lives, so why can’t the show that centers on him have many alternate endings? Here are 10.

1. In the very beginning of the last episode, Don crashes the race car on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Being chronically self-destructive, he decides that he has found his true future path, changes his name to Evil Knievel, and buys a motorcycle. Cue: “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.

2. After spending a few lost months in New Mexico living on peyote and some local blue crystal meth, Don has visions that all of the execs at McCann-Erickson are Nazis. So, he outfits the trunk of his car with a 50-caliber machine gun and drives off to Madison Avenue to save Peggy and make things right, stopping off only in Wichita to beat the shit out of Peter Campbell. The beating of Campbell proves to be the single most popular moment in the entire seven seasons of the show. “Pablo Picasso” by the great Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers is played frequently in the background during this episode.

3. Changing his name to Dan Cooper, D.B. Cooper, as he will forever be known, boards a Boeing 727 in Portland, Oregon, has a quickie mid-flight affair with a stewardess, lights a cigarette, has another drink or two, and then coolly hands her a note. At the end of the show, he has hijacked the plane and parachuted into history with an attaché case stuffed with 10,000 $20 bills. What could be Don's personal theme song, "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong" by Buffalo Springfield, plays.

4. Don Draper is eating a BLT at a diner in New Jersey. A guy, his wife, and their two obnoxious kids are two tables away. He notes that the girl’s stupid name is Meadow. He shakes his head with great contempt. “Don’t Stop Believin’ " is playing while an ominous-looking character walks in.

5. One night, on an LSD trip in San Francisco, Don decides that Joan is the mommy he never had and runs back to New York to tell her of his epiphany. Cue: John Lennon's "Mother."


6. On the way to the meditation center, or whatever it is, Don and his "niece" Stephanie make a wrong turn and end up at the Spahn Ranch. A girl named Squeaky convinces them to stay and Don renames himself yet again, this time calling himself Tex Watson. The Spahn Ranch seems to be a meditation center of some other sort. All the girls want Don/Tex, thus reducing a guy named Charlie to a sobbing, howling, quivering, nonfunctioning mess of jealous vegetating ectoplasm. Camera fades to black as "Never Learn Not to Love,' the Beach Boys song that is a reworking of "Cease to Exist" by one Charles Manson, is playing.

7. During one of the psychological circle jerks or whatever they call them at the "meditation center," one of the participants breaks down. The group leader tells him that he "deserves a break today." Don instantly remembers a little roadside burger place he and Stephanie passed on the way there. Smiling, he decides it's time to go back to the ad agency. Cue: “You Deserve a Break Today," written by Barry Manilow.

8. Don never gets to the meditation center. Instead, he decides to board a mini-cruise, on a boat named SS Minnow. The boat hits a storm and lands, wrecked, on the beach of an uninhabited, uncharted Pacific island paradise. All seven people on board are in one piece. Don immediately takes up with one of the women, an actress named Ginger, but he has already mentally cracked up completely, due only partially to a lack of cigarettes and booze on the island. He starts demanding that everyone address him as Little Buddy. Cue: "Stairway to Gilligan's Island" by Little Roger and The Goosebumps as Don boards the Minnow.

9. After returning to work, Don has not only created the campaign that establishes McDonald's and come up with the "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coke campaign, but is winning every advertising award known to man for convincing politicians to finally physically wear the logos of every corporation that bribes them. Capitalizing on his now-massive popularity with American voters and overflowing with marketing knowhow, he runs for president of the United States using "You Deserve a Break Today" and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" as his campaign slogans. Don wins by a historic landslide. However, he fails to show up for his own inauguration.

10. Following the example of Dallas, badly wounded soldier Dick, aka Don, dreamed the whole damn seven seasons of the show while on morphine in a Korean military hospital. A nurse hears Dick muttering, "The horror. The horror," as "The End" by The Doors plays in the background. When last we see Dick, he is sitting on the porch back home on the Whitman farm, pondering his future. In his hands, he caresses a picture of the horse that kicked his father to death when he was 10 years old.

EPILOGUE: The Soundtrack to "Mad Men, The Final Episode"

The perfect theme for Don? Or what would you pick?
1. "Eldorado," The Tragically Hip
2. "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," Coke commercial version
3. "Born to Be Wild," Steppenwolf
4. "Pablo Picasso," Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
5. "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong," Buffalo Springfield
6. "Don't Stop Believin',” Journey
7. "Mother," John Lennon
8. "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," The New Seekers (non-Coke version)
9. "Never Learn Not to Love," The Beach Boys
10. "You Deserve a Break Today," McDonald's commercial
11. "Stairway to Gilligan's Island," Little Roger and The Goosebumps
12. "The End," The Doors
13. "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," The Animals


I had my say on the final episode last night, in "A wistful but fond farewell to all our friends -- and what it was like watching the finale as part of an audience."



Post a Comment

<< Home