In Fond Remembrance of ‘Mad Men,’ Which I Never Watched

Mad Men Don Draper Ted Rall

Ted Rall salutes Don Draper, who he wouldn’t recognize, and Mad Men, which he never watched. But he’s keeping the option open. You know. Like voting.

SkewedNews — Earlier this week, approximately (I don’t know which night of the week it aired, or on what channel, or whether it was an hour or a half-hour show), the influential “Mad Men” finally closed the door on the saga of Don Draper. Draper was the cynical, funny and deeply flawed antihero of the series, set in the fast-moving fashion-conscious Manhattan of the 1960s.

In the finale, we see (from what I hear) the hard-drinking, womanizing Draper — who had crashed and burned, and left Madison Avenue, in the vernacular of the era, to “find himself.” Instead of finding himself he found inspiration for his biggest hit ever, Coke’s legendary “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” spot. Which, actually, a real person wrote. And he was nothing like the character of Don Draper wrote.

John Hamm Mad Men Don Draper Ted Rall anewdomain What will fans of “Mad Men” do now that all those memorable characters are gone once and for all?

Don’t ask me. I’ve never watched the show.

I wouldn’t be able to recognize Don Draper in a crowd, or the actor who played him, whoever he is. I wouldn’t recognize him even if I woke up with him sitting on my face. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unaffected by the devastating wrap-up of the “Mad Men” saga.

I plan to periodically check Netflix to see when they post the entire run so I can binge-watch the whole series at once.

That is to say I just might “Mad Men” if and when I ever happen to feel like it. That might be never. It might be so soon. I have no idea. But it is nice to know the option is there, just in case I’m ever on house arrest or in a prison with exceptionally generous television streaming or something. It’s an option I have that I probably won’t ever use, that’s all. It’s an option. Like voting.

Though I’ve never seen or heard the soundtrack of “Mad Men,” I can’t tell you how much it has influenced me.

According to articles I’ve read, the return of thin lapels and skinny ties, a look I’ve always approved of for men and adhered throughout the 1980s and 1990s even when other guys looked upon me with contempt, was in part due to the popularity of “Mad Men.” . 

Also, I’ve heard there is 1960s music in the show. Sounds cool. Of course, I don’t know which 1960s music we’re talking about. Girl groups, like The Ronettes and The Crystals? Pop, like the Beatles? Simon and Garfunkel? I bet it wasn’t anything like the Stooges or the Seeds or the Standells or the Mysterians, because if it were anything like that Nuggets stuff my friend Cole the film critic would have insisted that I watch. And then I would have. But he didn’t. 

Another way the show impacted me was when friends asked me if I watched it, and I said no, they either changed the topic or moved off in search of someone else they had more in common with. 

Like “The Wire,” “Girls” and until recently “Game of Thrones,” the last of which I later caught up upon on HBO Go but still happen to be like seven episodes behind — will I go back? who knows? — “Mad Men” was one of those shows I rarely failed to read about in TV recap stories because it sure sounded like a program I’d enjoy were I to give it a chance.

So I may be the biggest “Mad Men” fan of all, right?

Anyone can be into a show they’ve seen.

But takes real commitment to dedicate yourself to one you may never — indeed, probably never will — watch. Long live “Mad Men!”

For aNewDomain and the upcoming SkewedNews, I’m Ted Rall. 

Editor’s Note: Ted, the guy pictured inside your piece? That’s Jon Hamm, the actor who played Don Draper in “Mad Men.” Now you know! gs

Cover Photo Credit: TV Rage. All Rights Reserved.

Inside Photo: 2013 Golden Globe Awards (8379853868)” by jdeeringdavis from San Francisco, CA, USA – FlickrUploaded by tm. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About the author

Ted Rall

Based in New York, Ted Rall is aNewDomain's chief commentator and a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist. A Pulitzer nominee, Rall's latest book is the NYT bestselling book, Trump: A Graphic Biography.
Support his work and see his toons first at his site on Petreon. Follow him on Twitter @tedrall