To prepare for Don Draper’s final cartoon leap out of a NYC skyscraper, AMC is airing a marathon of the complete Mad Men series, starting with season one’s “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” at 6PM on Wednesday, and concluding with last week’s “The Milk and Honey Route” right before the finale. AMC is also taking a page from the show’s patriarchal power dynamic by stepping on the necks of its sister networks—when the finale “Person To Person” airs on Sunday, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, and We TV will all be airing a “special message.” AMC is being vague about what that message is, but it could either be a dark screen with instructions admonishing you to switch over to AMC’s Mad Men, a 75-minute loop of Pete Campbell telling Bob how he’s doing, or a 1984 rerun of your local PBS affiliate’s pledge drive. As Don Draper might put it, “If you don’t like what is being said, change the fucking channel to AMC.”
Fitting for a show mired in the moral tarpits of advertising, AMC is prepping viewers for the marathon with an emotive retrospective on Mad Men. As Paul Anka wistfully sings about the intangible passage of years in “Times of Your Life,” Don Draper will transport you through poignant moments of the series, making you realize that Mad Men is more than a show, and that Madison Avenue’s relentless search for meaning is in all of us. By the time it dawns on you that elegiac Paul Anka tune was actually a jingle for a Kodak commercial, it’ll be time for the finale.
“Turning AMC over to Mad Men and airing every episode of every season as a lead-in to the finale on Sunday seems a fitting way to continue celebrating what this series has meant to the fans, to television and to our network,” said AMC President Charlie Collier, possibly making an oblique reference to his desk chair, which, like everything else in his office, is made of stacked gold bullion.
AMC is also teaming up with Jason Reitman for a live event at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. on Sunday. Reitman is staging a live read of the Mad Men season one finale, “The Wheel,” featuring a top-secret celebrity cast (we’re hoping for a Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm). Following the live read, show creator Matthew Weiner will preside over a screening of the Mad Men finale.