Mad Men butts out for another year

And you thought cigarettes were addictive. Mad Men ends tonight for another year. Thirteen episodes fly by so fast. Season four has been terrific and Jon Hamm should be singled out for showing Don Draper both cornered and cowardly as well as cocky and confident–not an easy trick given the character’s almost pathological reserve. Hamm keeps losing the Emmy Award to another terrific actor on the same network–Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston–but if ever that string was going to be snapped, this could be the season.
Draper’s bold move to butt out of tobacco advertising on last week’s show sets up a possible hail Mary move to save Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce–a fat anti-smoking account. The series has reached the tipping point year 1965, with surgeon general reports and other evidence finally breaking through the decades of lies the tobacco industry spun (thanks to guys like Don Draper). In a few short years, cigarette advertising would be banned from network television. The last ciggie ad aired Jan. 1, 1971 at 11:59 P.M. on The Tonight Show. For years after that, Johnny Carson would have to hide his cigarette smoke from the camera, although occasional whiffs of smoke would still sneak on air.
All that smoke caught up with Carson, who died from complications from emphysema in 2005.
Read more about Mad Men and the rise and fall of cigarette advertising on television here in this story I wrote for The Canadian Press. The Mad Men season finale is tonight at 10 p.m. on AMC. Until then, stick this vid in your pipe and smoke it!

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