matthew weiner

In Praise of Narrative Ambiguity (or, Why You’ll Never “Solve” the ‘Mad Men’ Finale)

A strange thing happened on the Internet this morning: pretty much every news outlet, reputable and otherwise, that has any interest in Mad Men (so all of them, basically) reported that Matthew Weiner had explained the ending to the show’s last episode at a talk with novelist A.M. Homes last night. As an example of the perils of churnalism, it was pretty impressive, because if you watch the video of the event, Weiner does no such thing. Instead, he explains that the end of the show is as ambiguous as it appears: “People are like, ‘Which is it?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, why does it have to be one or the other?'” … Read More

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The Best Quotes from Mad Men’s Seventh and Final Season

Tomorrow night marks the end of an era when Mad Men concludes its seventh and final season. From the characters and music, to the style and social themes, there is much to praise when it comes to Matthew Weiner’s period drama. But words and writing have played a key role in Mad Men’s allure, even when it comes to the books that Don lingers over, inspiring essays for weeks following each appearance. Here are some of the seventh season’s best quotes, proving how each line becomes a key that unlocks the show’s themes and character narratives. In the spirit of togetherness as we approach Mad Men‘s finale, continue adding to our list, below. … Read More

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Feminist Writers on the ‘Mad Men’ Moments That Made Them Cheer and Broke Their Hearts

Whether or not it was a “feminist show,” Mad Men broke ground by zooming in on the experiences of women, specifically experiences related to misogyny. From office hostility to restrictive roles in suburbia to power dynamics on dates and in marriages, the show left no stone of sexism unturned. As a result, recaps, essays, and water-cooler discussions about the show became an entryway to talking about all kind of gender-related issues. For a large group of writers — one that included but wasn’t limited to TV critics — Mad Men helped fuel discussions on sex, rape culture, harassment, internalized sexism, race, class, reproductive rights, sex work and more. So, as the show draws to a close, we asked some of our favorite feminist writers to name a moment or plot arc from that resonated with… Read More

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How ‘Mad Men’ Used Music to Recontextualize ’60s Pop Culture

For a TV show to be as instantly canonized as Mad Men has been throughout its seven-season run, nearly every aspect of it needs to serve a distinct purpose, to be thoughtful. For that TV show to be historical in nature, the details need to be meticulous. And for that TV show to be about the 1960s, one of the most controversial and turbulent decades in American cultural history, it needs to walk a very specific tightrope — one that carefully navigates the generational divide that defined the late ‘60s. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, one of the most influential players in the music-on-TV revolution of the early ‘00s, have achieved all of this — and with plenty of irreverence, humor, and hidden meaning to boot. … Read More

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How ‘Mad Men’ Appropriated the Ethos — and an Icon — of ’70s Cinema

Amidst all of the con-man shenanigans and cancer drama of this week’s Mad Men, there was one tiny, throwaway detail that gave this viewer a surge of delight. As Don lounges in his motel room while awaiting the leisurely repair of his car, chatting with his young doppelganger Andy, he casually sets down the paperback he’s been enjoying and, hey, wouldn’t you know it, it’s The Godfather. The show’s always taken great pains to put the books of the moment in the hands of their characters, and make no mistake, a paperback of Puzo’s bestseller is a snug fit for the mid-1970 timeframe. But from our vantage point, The Godfather is more than a motel paperback — it’s one of the great movies of the 1970s, and its appearance in Don’s hand plays like a subtle acknowledgment of the debt Mad Men has always held to the cinema of the era. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Owed Betty Draper a Better Ending

If last week’s Mad Men swan song for Joan was a combination of triumph and tragedy, the show’s crushing farewell to Betty Draper Francis this week seemed like it was supposed to strike the same tone. Betty may be going out, but she’s doing so on her own terms, dictating how pretty she wants to look in her casket and refusing the kind of treatment that she believes may prolong her life for a few month but won’t improve its quality. Her mournful yet determined climb up the stairs at the college where she’s taking classes was the symbolic capstone to this theme, a testament to her indomitable will, the very quality she brings up with pride in her less than warm, but oddly satisfying, chat with Sally. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’s’ Final Scene Involves a Very Dapper Watermelon, and Probably Doesn’t Involve D.B. Cooper

Matt Weiner appeared on Conan last night and told him that, because O’Brien has been such an avid supporter of the show, he… Read More

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Critics of ‘Mad Men’s’ Workplace Sexism Are Picking the Wrong Fight With Matthew Weiner

For years, Matthew Weiner has been hearing two different reactions to the casual workplace sexism depicted on Mad Men — with men saying it was unrealistic and women saying it nailed their experience, he told Larry King this week. The gendered split remained just as pronounced after this month’s mid-season premiere, “Severance,” which featured an excruciating scene in which Peggy and especially Joan are the targets of blatant sexual harassment. After it aired, Weiner said, the reaction was as expected: “As usual, a bunch of men get on and say, ‘This is outrageous. You went too far, it’s too unbelievable,’ and all the women are [saying], ‘You’re nuts. It’s still like this. You have no idea.’” … Read More

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‘The Sopranos,’ ‘Mad Men,’ and How Our Obsession With Series Finales Is Hurting TV

A “dek,” for those who aren’t in the news business or acquainted with the jargon, is what they call that summary of an article that runs between the headline and the text itself. It’s a handy way to hook readers; it can also save time, as in the case of “This Magic Moment,” a new article for the Directors Guild of America’s DGA Quarterly, in which Sopranos creator David Chase discusses that show’s last scene, yet again. “What he won’t say is what happened at the end,” concludes the dek, which should effectively put off the kind of numbskull who’s still hung up on a literal interpretation of the show’s conclusion, eight frigging years after it aired. … Read More

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