What Does "Person To Person" Mean On 'Mad Men'? The Episode Title Was Actually Referenced In The Series Finale
Was this the first time that a Mad Men title has been spoken aloud? We actually heard the name of the Mad Men series finale, "Person to Person," multiple times in the episode. The title referred to the many calls that Don Draper placed while he was on the road, first to Betty and then to Peggy. Unless it's something simple like "The Suitcase," this is one of the first times the famously ominous Mad Men titles were spoken out loud.
Back in the days before emojis and Twitter, when it was always snowing and hills only slanted in one direction, a "person to person" call is what one would place with a telephone operator when they insisted on reaching only the person they were trying to contact. There's a sense of urgency to a person to person call.
Don's first call came at his first moment of crisis in the episode, when he learned that his ex-wife had lung cancer and only six months to live. They bickered over what to do with the children, and ultimately said goodbye. The second call was from Don to Peggy. At the end of the series, I love that these are the two most important people in Don Draper's life. He called to say goodbye to Peggy, and ended up confessing his sins to her. Peggy was sincerely concerned but not really hearing him either.
So, I'd like to bring up that this type of phone call is not the only definition of that phrase from this time period. "Person to Person" was a live television interview series that ended in 1961 and was once famously hosted by Edward R. Murrow. While the finale takes place in October of 1970, I can't help but think it was part of the inspiration for the finale title. The show was about interviewing fascinating people, and who's more fascinating than Dick Whitman?
On an abstract level, the title is also referring to simple connection. Because Don Draper also had to connect with people multiple times in the episode, whether it was on the phone or on his journey. Thanks to his "niece" Stephanie, he was taken to a place that encouraged group therapy and connection. Person to person. That's all Don's ever wanted to do, isn't it?
Image: Michael Yarish/AMC