On the Season 6 finale, "In Care Of," we saw a new and (dare we say?) improved Don Draper as he finally came clean about his horrible childhood... during a pitch to Hershey executives, no less. And while Don's sudden surge of honesty came at the worst time ever, for Jon Hamm the scene could finally be an Emmy win in the making.
Hamm's lack of Emmy luck is legendary. He's not exactly Susan Lucci, but he's been nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama series every year since 2008, being beaten out by Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Damien Lewis ("Homeland"), but mostly "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston.
With Emmy nomination ballots not due until June 28, Hamm's season-ending scene could finally make him a shoe-in for television's most coveted award.
Here's the scene, in a nutshell:
Don's pitch to Hershey's execs started out with a typical fairytale: He detailed a heartwarming story of being rewarded with a chocolate bar after mowing the lawn when he was a young boy.
"As I ripped it open, my father tousled my hair, and forever his love and the chocolate were tied together," he said. "Hershey's is the currency of affection; it's the childhood symbol of love."
While the enamored Hershey execs smiled at his "sweet tales of childhood," one marveled, "Well, weren't you a lucky little boy."
It was then that Draper did a complete turnaround. After years of hiding behind his glossy ad exec persona, he decided to tell the truth about his sordid past, which included his childhood fascination with chocolatier Milton Hershey, who, in addition to being a real-life Willy Wonka, ran a school for orphans.
Telling the Hershey's team, "I'm sorry, I have to say this because I don't know if I'll ever see you again." (At this point, Don is planning to relocate to California to head the Sunkist account.) He went into his game-changing spiel:
" I was an orphan. I grew up in Pennsylvania, in a whorehouse."
Turns out he wasn't given a candy bar after mowing the lawn, after all. Instead, a Hershey's chocolate bar was his reward for rustling up enough spare change from "Johns' pockets.
"And I would eat it alone in my room with great ceremony -- feeling like a normal kid," he reminisced. "And it said 'sweet' on the package. It was the only sweet thing in my life."
Pan to the stunned faces of the Hershey execs and the Sterling Cooper partners as Don breaks down into a quiet weep.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, show creator Matthew Weiner said, "The Hershey pitch is where we were working toward the entire season… I loved that Don would give this phony baloney story and he would tell it really well. Then we see him confess to inappropriate people where it really mattered because it was Hershey, because of Ted, because he was so ashamed, and because he knew he couldn't take it anymore."
Even more awesomely honest than the Hershey's pitch was the Season 6 final scene, where Don took his kids on a road trip to a "bad neighborhood."
"This is where I grew up," he told Sally, Bobby, and Gene as they stood in front of the dilapidated Pennsylvania brothel. Judy Collins "Both Sides Now" brilliantly ushered out the season, and while Hamm said no words, his glance toward his daughter said it all. Remember, Sally has already told Don, "I don't know anything about you." Perhaps now she knows too much.
Of the season-ending scene, Weiner said, "You'd like it to be the beginning of something. I'm not sure whether it is or not, because I don't even know."
With any luck, it's at least the beginning of Jon Hamm's Emmy collection.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Jon Hamm
- Don Draper
- Milton Hershey