I just listened to the episode of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour where they discuss the end of Mad Men and all I could feel was the same sentiment my friend Erin responded with when I posted my initial reaction on Facebook...we must've watched something different.
After listening to that podcast, I realized that I watched the same show, I just watched it differently and I committed a wrong that I find almost embarrassing. Before I get into it, I want to emphasize that I am not trying to back track and now say how much I liked the episode. All I have to judge on what I felt after watching is what I saw and how I saw it in that moment.
Somewhere around the fourth or maybe fifth season, I don't recall specifically, I just decided I didn't like the direction of the show, the story writing seemed to have weaken and my general interest has fallen but I felt I couldn't give up; that was my first mistake, I could have stopped watching anytime, all I had to do was not watch, I chose to continue watching.
With each episode, I allowed myself to bring my negative bias to the show and when you do that, with any piece of art, whether it me a TV show, a film, a book, a painting, you are being unfair to the creators and to yourself by altering the senses required to appreciate the piece of art in question.
Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to eat your broccoli? You replied without ever having taken a bite of it, "NO! I hate broccoli!" Then mom may have forced a piece in there or convinced you to do so using either positive or negative reinforcement and lo and behold, you hated it! Not because you hated it, but because you willed yourself to hate it, the only senses you actually used in judging whether you liked it or not were the ones you created from your false perceptions.
I know for certain that I didn't like where the writers were taking the story, when I chose to continue to watch, I should have taken the time to look deeper and try to understand the rationale, discuss with other viewers what was going on and try to take off those blinders. I clearly missed some really fantastic stuff, that's very clear to me after listening to the discussion on that blog. Does that mean that I would have liked it better? Probably not, but I would have at least credited the artistry that went into the creation of the final product and appreciated it in a different way.