In last night’s thoroughly (well, mostly) satisfying Mad Men finale, our final vision of Don Draper is in one of the most unlikely positions: sitting lotus-style among ribbon and tunic-clad yogis chanting om.
Never fear, though. Whatever spiritual peace he may have gain through the experience, the larger take away quickly becomes about business, as the camera pans from Don’s knowing smile to the legendary “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ad.
Yes, Don gets back into ads. Yes, Don takes all his hippy-learning and channels it into work.
Yes, Don wrote the Coke ad.
From fixing the Coke machine in rural Oklahoma earlier this season, to Peggy’s insistent plea, “Don’t you want to work on Coke?” in this episode, the set up to this satisfying (if deeply cynical) ending for the show is one for the ages.
In this fictional Mad Men take, it’s also fun to imagine this Don Draper moment (and the ensuing commercial) inspired one of the greatest Andy Warhol quotes of all time about American consumerism from his 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol:
While we’ll assuredly be chatting about Don’s goodbye for weeks to come, there are plenty of other television shows that used food and booze as a way to send off their characters into unknown futures. Here are five of the finest.
Caution: Ample (if vague) spoilers ahead.
5. —30—, The Wire (2008)
There were plenty of drunken detective wakes on The Wire, but there’s no comparison to when everyone raised a glass to McNulty and his “natural po-lice” style at his (living) wake in the final episode.
4. Everyone’s Waiting, Six Feet Under (2005)
Before Claire drives off to her future in New York, the family sits down for one final meal complete with wine (and milk).
3. The Last Lunch, 30 Rock (2013)
In an act of revenge for constantly being picked on over the years, Lutz uses the final episode to exact justice via a strange torture device: Blimpie sandwiches.
2. One for the Road, Cheers (1993)
Of course, there’s no way a series set in a bar wouldn’t end in the bar. After a failed attempt to leave Boston (and the bar) behind for new life with Diane, Sam Malone returns. As Sam shuts off the lights, Norm tells him, “You’ll always come back to her.”
1. Made in America, The Sopranos (2007)
One of the most controversial finales in television history, the entire final scene takes place over onion rings in a diner before the (now infamous) cut to black.