matthew weiner

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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‘Mad Men’ Season 7, Episode 8 Recap: “Severance”

Don Draper’s first job as Don Draper was selling furs. It’s how he met Betty, who was modeling them; it’s how he met Roger, who was buying one for Joan, and thus got his start at Sterling Cooper. And so the final season, or rather the second half of the final season, of the show that’s fundamentally Don Draper’s story takes us full circle. It’s more than fifteen years later, the spring of 1970, and Don is once again selling furs—a $15,000 chinchilla, to be exact—as the co-head of creative at a (semi-)independent subsidiary of McCann Erickson. How he feels about it is summed up by the episode’s opening and closing song, a choice that’ would be on the nose if it weren’t so beautiful: Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” … Read More

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Pete Campbell Is the Worst — And That’s Why We Love Him

More than even Don Draper, Pete Campbell represents the worst of the Mad Men universe, the part we as an audience are happiest to see dead and gone. Dick Whitman, at least, had to claw his way into privilege, and lives with the burden of maintaining it. Pete, on the other hand, was born with all the WASPy entitlement in the world and without the charm to pull it off. He is purely, nakedly awful, the man with the figurative and literal most punchable face of all Sterling Cooper’s employees. Oddly, he’s also one of the easiest to identify with. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Fashion: Joan Holloway’s Most Iconic Style Moments

It would require two hands to count how many Joan Holloways I’ve encountered on Halloween over the years. Her look is iconic: red hair in an up-do; a curve-hugging, short-sleeved, gem-toned ponte dress with a pencil skirt and a cinched waist; a gold brooch; her signature pencil necklace; and a fierce strut through the halls of Sterling Cooper. … Read More

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Work Won’t Save You: The New Season of ‘Mad Men’ Changes Everything

I am not supposed to reveal the specifics of Don Draper’s “romantic life” in the second half of Mad Men Season 7, as per creator Matthew Weiner’s notoriously rigid instructions to critics. And that’s just as well, because what’s more important is the less literal way in which Sunday night’s mid-season premiere conflates Don’s women with his work. Women, we’re given to understand, drift in and out of his life like actresses at a casting session. Or ghosts. These metaphors aren’t shocking, or even necessarily new; what’s surprising is that they say more about Don’s relationship to work than his relationships with his wives, girlfriends, and one-night stands. … Read More

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Why ‘Mad Men’ Is Comfort-Food TV for Viewers Who Didn’t Live Through the ’60s

Mad Men is, at its essence, a show about terrible things happening to occasionally terrible people. Its characters are adulterers, careerists, alcoholics, and liars; they’re prone to selfishness, sexism, racism, and exploitation. Set in a period of massive social shift, they’re often (and often proudly) on the wrong side of history. The country’s in a shambles, relationships are falling apart, children are being damaged, lives are being destroyed. Even in this antihero-friendly pop culture environment, such grim goings-on risk alienating even the most intellectual audience — and yet Mad Men has done anything but that, drawing a viewership that ravenously consumes the bad behavior of its subjects. What pulls them to the show? Here’s one theory: in an odd, schadenfreude-tinged way, Mad Men is comfort television. … Read More

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Stop Blaming Megan for Don Draper’s Mistakes

Perfection is a terrible premise for a character. But in the charred emotional landscape of Sterling Cooper & Partners (& spouses), Megan Draper is as close to it as one gets. Beautiful, talented, and self-assured, Megan seems devoid of the tension that creates dynamic, believable fiction in the abstract and fan favorites like ambitious, unsatisified Peggy Olson in particular. On the surface, in fact, the only thing she appears to share with the other women at the center of the Mad Men universe — Peggy, her former colleague; Joan, her onetime boss; and Betty, her bitter predecessor — is the man who’s impacted their lives in various, mostly negative ways. But over the last three seasons, Megan has slowly grown into a figure almost as compelling as she is underrated. … Read More

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“It’s About Class”: Matthew Weiner and ‘Mad Men’s’ Cast on the Show’s Final Episodes

“It’s about the malleability of American culture,” said Mad Men creator, writer, and showrunner Matthew Weiner on Saturday night. Weiner was at a sold-out Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center to toast “Mad Men: The End of an Era,” a special panel celebrating the show in its final season. The event was set up like a clip show, with Weiner joined by Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slatter. The actors introduced their favorite clips featuring their Mad Men characters — Don Draper, Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, and Roger Sterling, respectively — and reminisced over how these scenes came to be and what they learned from them. It was a night of celebration and remembrance — there was nothing as close to a hint about what will happen when Mad Men‘s final seven episodes start next Sunday on April 5, but still plenty to learn about one of finest shows of our time. … Read More

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Jon Hamm Was Almost Too Hot to Be Don Draper, and More From ‘THR’s’ Oral History of ‘Mad Men’

It’s hard to believe, but Mad Men and its sexy world of advertising pricks (and Peggy Olson), has been… Read More

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