The great AMC drama Mad Men ended its run in 2015, and it chose to leave the fate of its main character Don Draper intentionally ambiguous. The finale saw the heavy drinking and broken human of an ad exec in a moment of tranquility, meditating before a small smile crosses his face. It then cuts to the famous 1971 Coca-Cola Hilltop ad, heavily implying that Draper came up with the idea. Whether this was good or bad for Draper is up to the viewer, but in Jon Hamm's mind, that leopard ain't changing its spots.
Jon Hamm recently appeared as a guest on The Rich Eisen Show, where the host brought up the ending of Mad Men and what Hamm thought about. Hamm played Don Draper for seven seasons, giving him a deeper perspective than most into the art of Draper. In Hamm's mind, Draper was just too far gone to make any meaningful changes. Hell, he doesn't even think he's still alive at 80 years old.
It's left up to the fans if Don Draper was able to turn his life around and really find peace with himself, but Jon Hamm has a bit more of a realistic view. He thinks that Draper was just too damaged a person to change in any meaningful way and that he just came up with an idea for a really good commercial. He loves the ambiguity of the finale and that you can have this discussion about it; but to him, Draper's still gotta Draper.
While Jon Hamm has understandably little faith that Draper became a better person, that doesn't mean he doesn't think he didn't find peace. In an interview with the New York Times in 2015 shortly after the finale aired, Hamm said that the creation of the commercial was Draper coming to terms with who he is and finding peace in knowing that he's an ad man.
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. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing 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.
It's hard to argue with either of Hamm's points and it's probably unrealistic to think that Draper could ever really turn things around for himself. But the glory of the ending is that you don't have to think that way if you don't want to! For more Mad Men and other TV news, make sure to keep checking back in with CinemaBlend.